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The Gamer's Dilemma: Videogame Ethics

By Jack Walker - Philosophy Student @ Churchill College, Cambridge


Videogames have long been a source of ethical controversy. A popular argument asserts that violent videogames are wrong because of their liability to cause violent actions in real life. This argument caused widespread moral panic, especially in the US following the infamous 1999 Columbine massacre, since the shooters were reportedly obsessed with violent games like DOOM. Parents of several victims even attempted to sue manufacturers for the role their games played in causing the shooting. Evidence to support this argument is scant and nowadays ethical concern about videogames is more likely focus on players becoming addicted or encouraged to gamble through loot boxes, or the sexual objectification of female characters. Discussions of simulated murder have largely fallen out of the public consciousness.