How deep should we go with philosophy towards computer games?

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mrdim
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How deep should we go with philosophy towards computer games?

Post by mrdim »

Hello,

Recently, I took notice of an online video talk, with a panel of experts chatting to each other about the future of games.
I commented to say that it could have been more philosophical, but that it wasn't bad, and that my upcoming book is deeply philosophical in nature.

Unfortunately, many twitter users did not appreciate the fact that I was trying to expose people to my way of seeing things, and were confused because the topic was about games, not philosophy.

But, to promote a philosophical discussion, I would like to ask the following (as written in the title) : How deep should we go with philosophy towards computer games?

To help you try and answer the question, I have the following points:

- Point 1: Are games just made for the sake of being games?

Point 2: Does the division of Labour theory by Adam Smith, support the idea that philosophy being used towards producing games, is a specialisation that could be scientifically or artistically rewarding?

Point 3: Do we really want to exhaust the useful properties that exist in games, by producing countless philosophical-based games that take away from 'useful' fun activities and instead promote any conceivable philosophical junk that isn't useful towards a fun experience?

The answer I would give, towards these points, is that the division of Labour, as proposed by Adam Smith, is useful for increasing specialisation towards sciences and arts as we conceive of them today.

But video games, today, although there is still increasing specialisation, may benefit instead from the sense that we are adding to a growing medium, rather than constantly adding to the lists of sciences/specialisms.

For example, if a game was created that had a certain philosophical/existential value behind it, but the game didn't support the 'future' or the future of the games medium, would it be worth our time making the product?
To elaborate on this: The medium of games might undergo a great shift in the future, and we might want as many games of the past as possible, before this shift, to contribute towards the new medium. If it was the case that many games leading up to this shift were simply philosophical exercises and specialist productions with little intrinsic value beyond the experiment itself - - would this then make these games relatively worthless, say if you knew you had to wait twenty years for the new medium, and you were trying to represent the medium philosophically before it actually exists? This means that rather than supporting the medium that will occur in the future, you are grappling with philosophical applications that may seem incomplete compared to the bigger picture - the medium - and will simply lose value.

Maybe, therefore, it is better to have a simpler, less philosophical approach, where intrinsic value can be increased. Or maybe not? Who are we to say what the fate of art and specialisations in art will be?

My thoughts are that once the new medium comes about, whatever it may be, older games may or may not seamlessly compliment the medium. This is different to the idea that the various games in existence are merely specialised products, but rather, they support a medium more generally.


I think that this topic is relevant because philosophy of games still isn't widely talked about. I applaud people for taking early steps of course.
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LuckyR
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Re: How deep should we go with philosophy towards computer games?

Post by LuckyR »

What separates computer games from pre-computer games is the ability to mimic life where there isn't any through NPCs and do things that you can't really do, like kill people, live in the past and future, in places you can't actually go to. In that sense it is less about the playing and more about the setting and AI. Thus they are more akin to a good novella than a deck of playing cards, using old tech as a comparo.
"As usual... it depends."
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Sculptor1
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Re: How deep should we go with philosophy towards computer games?

Post by Sculptor1 »

mrdim wrote: November 23rd, 2021, 11:31 am Hello,

Recently, I took notice of an online video talk, with a panel of experts chatting to each other about the future of games.
I commented to say that it could have been more philosophical, but that it wasn't bad, and that my upcoming book is deeply philosophical in nature.
What sort of philosophy are you talking about?
Moral, ontology, what?
Unfortunately, many twitter users did not appreciate the fact that I was trying to expose people to my way of seeing things, and were confused because the topic was about games, not philosophy.
I can see why they are confused. This whole post seems confused.

But, to promote a philosophical discussion, I would like to ask the following (as written in the title) : How deep should we go with philosophy towards computer games?

To help you try and answer the question, I have the following points:

- Point 1: Are games just made for the sake of being games?
Yes.
In what way do you think this is a philisophical question?

Point 2: Does the division of Labour theory by Adam Smith, support the idea that philosophy being used towards producing games, is a specialisation that could be scientifically or artistically rewarding?
I do not think Adam Smith is relevant. Games are sufficiently complex to offer a range of jobs that are rewarding finacially and in job satisfation. Science has little to do with it.

Point 3: Do we really want to exhaust the useful properties that exist in games, by producing countless philosophical-based games that take away from 'useful' fun activities and instead promote any conceivable philosophical junk that isn't useful towards a fun experience?
What on earth is a philoophically based game? What would it look like? What would be its purpose? Who would buy it?
The answer I would give, towards these points, is that the division of Labour, as proposed by Adam Smith, is useful for increasing specialisation towards sciences and arts as we conceive of them today.
The division of Labour existed before Smith, existed after him and continues without reference to him. I do not understand why you think he can give an insight into computer games.

But video games, today, although there is still increasing specialisation, may benefit instead from the sense that we are adding to a growing medium, rather than constantly adding to the lists of sciences/specialisms.
eh?

For example, if a game was created that had a certain philosophical/existential value behind it, but the game didn't support the 'future' or the future of the games medium, would it be worth our time making the product?
What do you think you are talking about? There seems to be some sort of hidden assumptions behind your words, which you are failing to convey. Once you have expressed them, then perhaps your post might make sense.
Until then you are whistling in the wind.
What do you think "supporting the future" is??
To elaborate on this: The medium of games might undergo a great shift in the future, and we might want as many games of the past as possible, before this shift, to contribute towards the new medium. If it was the case that many games leading up to this shift were simply philosophical exercises and specialist productions with little intrinsic value beyond the experiment itself - - would this then make these games relatively worthless, say if you knew you had to wait twenty years for the new medium, and you were trying to represent the medium philosophically before it actually exists? This means that rather than supporting the medium that will occur in the future, you are grappling with philosophical applications that may seem incomplete compared to the bigger picture - the medium - and will simply lose value.
This is not eleboration, is just accretion.
What are you trying to say?

Maybe, therefore, it is better to have a simpler, less philosophical approach, where intrinsic value can be increased. Or maybe not? Who are we to say what the fate of art and specialisations in art will be?

My thoughts are that once the new medium comes about, whatever it may be, older games may or may not seamlessly compliment the medium. This is different to the idea that the various games in existence are merely specialised products, but rather, they support a medium more generally.


I think that this topic is relevant because philosophy of games still isn't widely talked about. I applaud people for taking early steps of course.
You might need to say what philosophy has to do with games.
Last edited by Sculptor1 on November 24th, 2021, 10:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
mrdim
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Joined: March 18th, 2020, 4:10 pm

Re: How deep should we go with philosophy towards computer games?

Post by mrdim »

Sculptor, do you think that the medium of games is static and not prone to expansion, and that it is not subject to future divisions and specialisms? How can you simply say that games are sufficiently complex - end of story?

Division of Labour theory is seen today as a continual prescriptive element of society. You cannot avoid division of labour because it is a natural, workable fact.
But games are creative projects where we decide upon the contents. Should we be prescriptive in our outlook towards games, with regards to constantly advancing scientific application of games/the creative process, or should we instead find ways to avoid that prescription and improve the medium of games in a more general sense?

I would like to point out that philosophical games, or games based around philosophy, are games that are philosophical in nature. I used the words: "in nature" which means a catch-all philosophical output for games. They create the conditions for elaborate philosophical systems.

The question: "Are games just made for the sake of being games?" Simply asks in an almost rhetorical manner: Should games only have a single minded outlook? It is philosophical because inherent in the question, is the very structure of an interactive medium and how we decide, based on various intellectual concepts, how to interact with it.

Thank you LuckyR for your insightful comment. I would like to add the question of: If games as a complete finished product, beyond basic prototypes, generally succeed based on a general simulated environment, usually involving npc's: does this point towards some potential rule or singularity for the future of games or the future expression of the medium of games?

What potential singularities will we run into, in the future of video games? Will it act like an AI singularity, or something else?
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LuckyR
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Re: How deep should we go with philosophy towards computer games?

Post by LuckyR »

mrdim wrote: November 24th, 2021, 5:11 pm Thank you LuckyR for your insightful comment. I would like to add the question of: If games as a complete finished product, beyond basic prototypes, generally succeed based on a general simulated environment, usually involving npc's: does this point towards some potential rule or singularity for the future of games or the future expression of the medium of games?

What potential singularities will we run into, in the future of video games? Will it act like an AI singularity, or something else?
Well if you take the "good novella" comparo to heart, then one could ask, what other genres of games could become popular? Currently games are heavily weighted to shooters, racing, sports, puzzles and RPGs, though many of the RPGs are dressed up shooters. The sports games don't actually involve sports skills and can be lumped into puzzles, of the pattern recognition variety. Racing games could be lumped in with the simulators that were popular way back.

Ok, so what are the variety of stories, be they film or writen fiction that are very popular but not represented by current games? Comedies and romances. Obviously there have been humourous games (typically adventure types, historically), but the humour was a style, not the point. Still waiting for romances.
"As usual... it depends."
mrdim
Posts: 17
Joined: March 18th, 2020, 4:10 pm

Re: How deep should we go with philosophy towards computer games?

Post by mrdim »

I agree that there is potential for more warming sentiments in games, such as comedy or romance.

In relation to this, my thoughts are that the future of games might involve some alteration or enhancement of humans' sense of reward (not strictly based on the reward centre of the brain, but cognitive as well).

In relation to your point: could it be possible to create an anti rely new comedic experience/sense of comedy, by altering the way we are cognitively rewarded by playing the game?

Therefore, singularities are not the only option for advancement, are they? Our sense of time, space and reward can be informative towards the experience of playing future games.

If we could change our sense of reward towards more mundane gameplay elements/mechanics, then that might be interesting.

Improving one's intellect, based on reward systems, might become important in the near or not so near future.
At the moment, I am using DuoLingo to learn Japanese and Chinese basics. The sense of reward and encouragement is pretty good, if you have ever tried the app.

It was said in the headlines a few years ago, that companies such as Facebook would encourage a reward based dopamine response in its users, so that people become addicted to the platform. That is potentially the cynical side of this whole process.
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