Ethics of Gaming

The Ethics of Gaming in Society
There are many concerns about gaming, and how it affects our lives. There are many negative views on gaming, and some positive views too.
Negative effects
Excess playing time
Playing too much video games is a risk to physical health, people have suffered serious medical conditions like blood clots. Other health conditions caused by gaming include Migraines, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Backache, loss of sleep, and can cause people to eat less health food.
“A 15-year-old boy collapsed after playing "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3" for up to five days straight.”
“A Taiwanese teenager was found dead after sitting for 40 hours in an Internet cafe playing "Diablo 3." At the time, doctors speculated he died from a heart attack caused by a blood clot that formed during the long session.”
Social Isolation
People who spend too much time gaming tend to have poor social skills, this is because they spend most of their time in the gaming world, this is bad because they might mix up the gaming world with the real world- for example if they go to shops they could try to “Barter”.
Children who play too much video games are likely to not develop the social skills they need in life, games might also effect a child’s education- for example they might not finish homework, or they will skip school days.
“Among addicted gamers who are married, up to 50 percent report a strain in their marriage as a result of their addiction. Addicted gamers also neglect the responsibilities of everyday life such as school and work.”

Console video games don’t come cheap, they never have, and one of those ugly pixelated NES games once cost about £30. In recent years, there had been a rise in cheap mobile games, these are very basic games which can work on a mobile phone, they’re are rarely sold over £6 from app stores. Online gameplay is a hugely popular thing, but it costs money to get the broadband, pay the Xbox live fees, and of course the electricity bills- which also effects the environment; and you have to purchase a video game, which usually costs £50 brand new.
“An NES game in 1990 cost, on average, about $50. That’s $89 in 2013 money. Your $70 N64 cartridges in 1998 would require the equivalent of $100 today.”

 The five most expensive mainstream gaming consoles of all-time.

Separation from reality
Video games have the potential to turn someone into a recluse, and when someone is alone for large periods of time they become a bit insane, they might mix up reality and the fantasy world in games, they might lose human interaction skills, they think they could use in game objects in real life.
“Linus, 19, said he thought he could use a search button in World of Warcraft when he tried to look for his older brother in a crowd. Others said they unwittingly acted out situations inspired by games.”

Positive Effects
Hand- eye coordination
There are some very good benefits to gaming, one of these is improved hand to eye coordination. There are reports of surgeons that play games, become a lot more skilled over time, this is a very good benefit because people’s lives can be saved in the hands of these surgeons.
Strategy Skills
Games can also improve one’s thinking and strategy skills. Strategies used in war games are used by the military to help train soldiers for real strategic battle, this is brilliant because it can help the military resolve situations quickly and with less lives lost.
Gaming and Future
Gaming has already improved modern life, in the past gaming helped develop training simulations used by pilots, drivers, and astronauts. So this has helped develop the industries which have to train people with specialist skills more quickly.


Application Development
Gaming has help develop the tech industry in many ways, many years ago computer operating systems were very complicated and hard to use-a lot of this is to do with the interface of the systems, they were not obvious so it would take time to train people how to use them. Video games helped develop the interface of computer programs, they have inspired a more graphical interface, as opposed to the old MS DOS style of operations.

Physiological Effects
The sound of video games is a very powerful feature, sounds whether it be music, voices, or just sound effects, can get stuck in someone heads. Repetitive sounds, in the game might be remembered in someone’s memory years later, for example the music on a menu or title screen will be remembered because it’s always there when you start up the game.
The sound in games is usually used to show the context of the stage the player is at, for example horror games have very scary music when something scary is going to happen. Game music can also be used to show that the player is successful, “Mark Grimshaw from the University of Bolton states that games use music “to function as a reward mechanism in game design and possibly allowing for reinforcement learning”.
High Score Listings
Most online games have high score listings, these listings are to show who has achieved the most points, and they are shown to the public. This can cause a lot of competition, and can influence people to spend more time trying to get the highest score. People who get the high score like to keep it, so if anyone beats their score, they will try and get it back- and this is very hard and takes time, which could lead to frustration, sleep deprivation, social isolation, and many other negative things; however there is a sense of accomplishment when achieving a high score. The high score method has been used in video games since the time of arcade games, people wanting to get the high score would mean they would put more money in the arcade machine
Competitive games
Competitive games are games where players can play online against each other, they are usually games with large amounts of fans, and these fans form “Clans”- this is basically a team of gamers who play competitively. Leagues are created where gaming clans play games for prizes- lots of money can be made by these gaming competitions. Games like StarCraft are extremely popular in South Korea, there are professional teams, and stadiums built for e-sports.
There is a Vice documentary about e-sports in South Korea, it’s an interesting watch.
A Crowded E-sports Tournament
Peer pressure
There is a lot of peer pressure created by gaming, for example a friend might pressure another friend into buying a game they have, so they can play together- this may have a good intention to it, but the friend without the game will have to spend money just to shut their friend up; this is quite unfair, as if they do not purchase the game there relationship could fall apart. This can be bad for people will poorer backgrounds, as they might have to spend a lot of their money to purchase a game. “It is often made more difficult to control the games children play owing to the peer pressure they come under. If there is a dominant child in their friendship group that plays more violent games it can make your life harder to restrict the games your own child plays.”
Video games are made for fun, but they do not all focus on the same type of fun, most games can be frustrating, even family games like Mario can be frustrating at difficult parts. This frustration can cause stress and can make a player stop playing the game all together. Different people seek different types of fun for example, some people like shooting random people in Grand Theft Auto, whereas others enjoy solving puzzles and slaying monsters in Zelda.

Educational value
There are many educational games out there, a famous example of one is the Dr Kawashima's brain training games which were released for the Nintendo DS, these games were very popular amongst many different types of people. Video games have been known to help improve children with ADD “Video games have also been used to train children with attention deficit disorder to improve their thinking skills.”

The gaming industry has come a long way in a relatively small period of time; years ago games were purchased and played one at a time. Children and teenagers who played games would rarely go out and buy games- because they cost a lot of money. Because of this, games were designed to last longer- they were harder to complete; but in modern times this is not the case. There are so many games out their now you can’t just play one at a time; games have incredible graphics, excellent story lines, and hours of online multiplayer fun. The expectations for games has risen quickly of the last 10 years, because of this the newer generations of gamers are used to all these high standards of gaming, this is putting pressure on games developers- but is also quickly improving the gaming world. “Games aren’t just “games” anymore, they are experiences. They provide us with cinema-quality graphics, true surround sound audio and storylines that make us wonder whether the writers have Oscar statues staring
at them from their desks as they write.”

A levelling system in a video game can encourage a player to keep player because they can focus on improving their own character. This makes the game seem more fun to the player, the term “grinding” is used to describe a player going around completing random small tasks to improve their characters stats; if there were no levelling system “grinding” would be pointless and boring, especially because the player usually does easy tasks-  “two factors that are generally very easy to quantify and predict (the player’s power and the enemy’s power), it follows that players almost always know at the start of a battle who the winner will be”. The bad thing about levelling is it takes a lot of time to become the highest level, this could cause many of the negative effects of gaming, like social isolation, and excessive playing time.