(Joint work with Thomas Coghlan) A central concern of videogame ethics is to explore the significance of video game play for the lives of players and distinguish key moral differences between types of in-game activities. There appear to be important differences between types of virtual violence players undertake during gameplay. The gamer’s dilemma, initially proposed by Morgan Luck and a recurrent focus of debate within the field, posits a comparison between single-player video game acts of virtual murder and video game acts of apparently greater offensiveness. (Luck’s example was paedophilia.) Despite either kind of activity lacking the obvious harms of their real-world equivalents, common intuitions suggest an important difference between them so that it can be permissible to play some virtual murder games but not permissible to play more profoundly offensive games. The difficulty has been to justify this moral distinction.

In this paper we offer a resolution of the gamer’s dilemma based on an account of the fittingness conditions of key moral emotions in offensive video gameplay. Self-repugnance is a fitting response to one’s own offensive videogame play, but not to at least some games of murder and killing. Our aim is to both illustrate and justify this claim.


Zoom. Please contact Dr Guillermo Badia at g.badia@uq.edu.au for the Zoom link.