The Principle of the Button and the Ethics of Contemporary Games

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It is becoming a cliché to call our reality “similar to a game.” These words are often used especially in relation to negative incidents deficient in ethical viewpoints and, depending on the situation, can become a critique of games in general. However, what is it that people identify as being game-like?
In this article, Sayawaka argues that game-like qualities are seen in the interactivity between the player and the game, which originally could be easily explained using the words “when you press the button, the game responds.” However, in recent games, which are moving online, the necessity of and interest in “pressing buttons” is disappearing because of the homogenization of input devices and the increase in communication among players. Sayawaka suggests that this is the cause of a loss of ethical viewpoints.
Thus, if we desire ethics in games, we should not focus on the morality of the story or the means of monetization. Instead, we should once again become aware of button pressing. As information technology permeates into society, our reality is in fact becoming like a game, and games, through mediums like VR, are seemingly becoming more real. This fact shows that it will become more and more difficult to distinguish between games and reality. Sayawaka argues for the necessity of reconstructing game ethics that draws our attention to the simple act of pushing buttons.