Beyond Choices: A Typology of Ethical Computer Game Designs

Miguel Sicart

NOTE: This paper was selected by the program committee as a Meaningful Play 2008 Top Paper. It has been submitted to the Meaningful Play 2008 Special Issue of the International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations (IJGCMS), which will be available in July-September 2009 issue. Due to the copyright requirements of the journal, only the abstract is available in the conference proceedings.


This paper presents a typology for classifying computer games designed to create ethical gameplay. Ethical gameplay is the outcome of playing a (computer) game in which the players' moral values are of relevance for the game experience. This paper explores the different types of designs that create these types of experiences, and how they are characterized. This paper provides an analytical framework for classifying games according to the experience they create and how they create it. This paper is informed by both game design theory and postphenomenological philosophy, and it is intended to provide a theoretical framework for the study of the design of ethical computer game experiences.