Papers, Please and the systemic approach to engaging ethical expertise in videogames

Ethics and Information Technology 18 (3):211-225 (2016)
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Papers, Please, by Lucas Pope (2013), explores the story of a customs inspector in the fictional political regime of Arstotzka. In this paper we explore the stories, systems and moral themes of Papers, Please in order to illustrate the systemic approach to designing videogames for moral engagement. Next, drawing on the Four Component model of ethical expertise from moral psychology, we contrast this systemic approach with the more common scripted approach. We conclude by demonstrating the different strengths and weaknesses that these two approaches have when it comes to designing videogames that engage the different aspects of a player’s moral expertise.

Author's Profile

Paul Formosa
Macquarie University


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