[MUD-Dev] Logical MUD Areas

Ola Fosheim Grøstad <olag@ifi.uio.no> Ola Fosheim Grøstad <olag@ifi.uio.no>
Thu May 10 16:16:58 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

John Buehler wrote:
> Derek Licciardi writes:

>> If the parents do not like my product, then stop their kids from
>> having it.
> But not all parents are monitoring their children.

Most parents are not fit to be parents, by any reasonable
standard. It's an impossible task.

The idea that "non-computerized" parents will have any control over
kids/teenagers computer activities is an illusion anyway.  Kids do
what their friends do, and they will find a place where they can do it
without any adult supervision.  Parental control is a bloody joke
unless you lock the kids up.

And when you think about it.  If a game is "dangerous" then it is
probably better for the teenager to believe that their parents do not
approve than to have them explicitly say "this is ok, this is normal,
nothing matters". Your sweet little teenager is going to break your
rules... Be concerned about violence and they will at least get a
thrill from playing. Stretch your limits and they will have to resort
to something bigger...

>> Taking it one step further, if the parents would take the time to
>> talk to their kids about the games they play, there exists a great
>> opportunity to properly solidify the child's moral beliefs by
>> examining the decisions they make during gameplay involving those
>> grey areas.  (end soap box cause I could go off on this topic)

> I agree that parents should be mentoring their children through an
> experience that poses new moral dilemmas to them.  Produce your game
> with moral dilemmas and then structure the user interface such that
> it requires an interaction by both parent and child and I'll be
> promoting your product.

Kids don't need games to face moral dilemmas.  They struggle with them
in the school yard all day long.  And fail too. Parents rarely have
enough time to help them with those... Kids might benefit from games
that make them think about the larger society and such, which is not
as visible to them, but that is more abstract than what is being

The rest is not directed to JB, but the game violence part in this

Kids have the ability to feel empathy for stick figures and to
dehumanize other real kids in the most cruel way within certain
limits. No point in expanding those limits or weakening their ability
to empathize with stick figures. They will test their own limits soon

Throw a kid into a PvP against human shapes social type of game (i.e.
Meridian 59 and with that scream too) and you'll see a movement from
"be nice, I am only 9, I am staying in the cities" to "Kill him, I
don't like him! Kill him! Kill him!". I honestly felt slight nausea
when I saw that sweet little girl in the Meridian Beta over time shift
from being non-violence oriented to that... You don't want your kids
to mature too fast. Heck, many adults have trouble dealing with MUDs,
separating fiction and play from reality. Actually we never agree on
that on the list either!

On the impact of violent entertainment... In certain cultures violence
is a viable option.  Some men hit their wife when they feel cornered,
because violence against other people on a personal level is a viable
option when there are no options.  Games form culture.  What you
create matters, even if you can't see it, and at an age where
impressions sink in.  Fortunately MUDs and computers are so boring
that only very patient people use them, I doubt MUD violence will make
a dent in the statistics...

...but ethics are not about statistics anyway.  Ethics is what make
you think twice about doing your compulsory army service.  An
entertainment medium which turn warfare into a romance... doesn't
quite sound like a modern educated society?

I'm not blaming developers for creating their games. I do however
blame those that seem to be in denial.  You make a violent game?  Kids
that can't handle it are going to play it.  You do contribute to the
overall direction of culture.  Is it worth the trouble?  Maybe,
although I can't see why.

Ola  -  http://www.notam.uio.no/~olagr/
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