Reality is a Game

Game thinking from Adam Clare

Category: PsychologyPage 1 of 22

Dr. Trolley’s Problems are Yours to Solve

Download Dr. Trolley’s Problem on:

Steam (PC/Mac)           Itch.io (PC/Mac*)          App Store (iOS)

Dr. Trolley’s Problem is fully complete and at version 1.0. You can play this gam all about the trolley problem on almost all the important systems, with hopefully more to come. It’s the trolley problem game you’ve been waiting for!Dr. Trolley's Problem

Dr. Trolley’s Problem brings the classic philosophical quandaries of The Trolley Problem to life and asks you to make life or death decisions on the fly. Explore your moral fibre in ways you never imagined (or asked for)!

Dr. Trolley is an infamous robot mad scientist from another dimension which has sequestered you in its simulation to answer the most pressing questions:

Should humans be allowed to drive cars? Or would driving (and most other things) be safer in the hands of Artificial Intelligence?

 

Successes

trolley problem game screenshot

What we found during Early Access and almost a year of lackadaisical testing.

  • The trolley problem situations spurred the conversations we hoped for.
  • People want to be mobile, so the iOS version came from people asking for it.
  • People enjoyed the chance-based situations after a series of serious ones. This was predictable since the inclusion of chance takes mental pressure off of the player.
  • My code is like spaghetti, and yes, it’s far worse than VVVVVV‘s. I consider this point about code a success since my coding as improved to know how bad I was at it 😉

Next Steps

Promotion!

Basically we’re going to try to get it this game in front of as many people as possible. We’d love your help in that process! Tell your friends about the game and share as much as you can on social media.

 

Since a game is never actually done, we’re going to continue to fix bugs. I wish I could release things that are bug free, but that’s basically impossible for me 🙁

*the Itch.io Mac version is suffering from inability to correctly sign the app. Still working on it. The Steam version seems to work.

trolley problem game

If we get enough sales (that’s to say quantifiable interest) we’ll do more:

  • Add thematic situation packs. Situations take time to make and I only want to create more if I know they’ll be played. Thematic situations like political ones require custom art and that adds hard costs (not just time).
  • Android version. I’ve tried and failed due to the bundle size, hopefully this will be released soon.
  • Better, real time, statistics. I’ll admit the game is deceptive and I don’t like that as one of the goals from the get go was to share stats about player decisions. Implementing this turned out to be a nightmare and delayed us releasing the game by half a year. In summary, sending data to an analytics program is easy (ads track you everywhere and you really should get a tracker blocker), showing the collected data back to players is hard. I know that someone reading this is thinking “but that’s so easy and I do that all the time”; but, my coding skills are limited and my patience has run out dealing with multiple analytics services and their limitations.

You made it this far in the post so I know you care 🙂

 

 

Please show your love by sharing this post on your social network of choice.

Violence In Video Games – Not Bad For People

Time for some good news about violence in video games!

thanks-economist

I bet you didn’t expect this, but here are three recent discoveries about the use of violence in games.

First, an international research team from the USA and Canada found that by playing a game together we can change attitudes of players towards others. They had people kill zombies with someone who the player thought was from the States (and in the USA they thought they were playing with a Canadian).

The research concluded that having people play with someone they thought was from another country increased player’s opinion of people from said country.

Participants were asked how they felt about a variety of different social groups both before and after playing the game. Those who were told they were playing with an American reported more positive feelings about people from that country after playing.

Paul Adachi, a PhD candidate at Brock and the study’s lead author, says video games are good tool to set up experiments and study real-world psychological phenomena.

That quote is from this article and you can read Brock University’s press release.

I’m not clear why the researchers picked a violent game though. I assume you would get similar results with any cooperative game regardless of violence.

trains vs zombie

The second neat thing about game violence is that despite the rise of violent games actual crime has decreased. Hopefully this recent study will put to bed the myth that violent games cause people to be more violent.

Focusing on video game violence, Ferguson used the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) to determine the violent content for the most popular video games between 1996 and 2011. Federal data on youth violence during the same time period was compared to ESRB-estimated violence content. Violent content in the most popular video games during these years was associated with a drop in youth violence. Ferguson stressed that this decline in youth violence was most likely by chance and not directly related to video game violence.

Finally, there is another new study suggests violent video games improve moral behaviour.

Led by Matthew Grizzard, an assistant professor at the University at Buffalo, and co-authored by researchers at Michigan State University and the University of Texas, this new study suggests that being bad in video games can lead players to think more about their real-life actions.

“Rather than leading players to become less moral, this research suggests that violent video-game play may actually lead to increased moral sensitivity,” says Grizzard. “This may, as it does in real life, provoke players to engage in voluntary behavior that benefits others.”

One reason I think it’s inportant to tackle issues around violence and video games is that educators and parents are worried about gaming in education as a result. So this research is good for all of us.

It’s all good news considering games are the future of education.

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