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Exploring player choice and morality concepts in video games

Pothitos, Adamantios (2017) Exploring player choice and morality concepts in video games. Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Though there are numerous video gaming studies on player choices and morality within and without virtual worlds, most of the research in the area has been quantitative in nature and focused on very specific questions, such as whether players prefer to make ‘good’ or ‘evil’ decisions (Weaver and Lewis, 2012) or the effects of violent games on players’ morality (Hartmann and Vorderer, 2010; Grizzard et al., 2014). However, this might have produced limited insights into the reasons why players may choose one choice over all others or whether morality even plays an important role in the context of video games or not. This study used semi-structured interviews to explore such questions further. Thematic analysis was employed in order to analyse the data, and three themes were constructed; solitary vs group game play, roleplaying as an extension of the self, and choices and implications in game play and narrative. The findings suggest that player choices in video games, and the reasons behind them, are nuanced and complex, and often go against what critics in the industry may uphold

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