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Ethics of Game Design (27 Dec 2004)
How well a game designer has abided by a code of ethics depends in part on what the game is trying to achieve. Is it just a fun game? Does it try to depict a historical event with accuracy? Does it purport to be a self-consistent fiction? Or does it try to reproduce reality of some kind?

"Some games are supposed to be fun," says John Whitmore, director of design at 2015 Studios in Tulsa, Okla., and co-creator of the Vietnam war game Men of Valor. "Some are trying to be more artistic. If you have the pretension of trying to be more artistic, you have to think about the ethical decisions that you make. It's hard to call a game like Grand Theft Auto high art. Some fantastic movies are racy. But porn doesn't quite make it to the Academy Awards."

Would-be censors have pilloried the game industry for many controversial games. Violence is always a flashpoint, and to a lesser extent sex and foul language are as well. From the original Mortal Kombat where you could rip out the spines of your hand-to-hand combat opponents, to this year's Def Jam Fight For New York, where 'F'-word spouting rappers can bloody each other with tire irons, it's easy to find controversial games. In Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, you can shoot cops and have sex with a prostitute and then kill her to get your money back.
Article URL: http://www.gamasutra.com/features/20041227/takahashi_01.shtml

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