Chapter 3 return to philosophy through video games web page
Do Video Games Make us Evil? (First-Person Shooters)

3A Key Words
3B Key Arguments
3C Cool Links
3D Discussion Questions
3A Key Words return to top 

Easter egg
Final girl

3B Key Arguments return to top 

The Emulation Argument

The Katharsis Argument


3C Cool Links return to top
  1. US Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Criminal Offender Statistics,” (accessed December 11, 2007).
  2. Ars Technica, “Judge Rules Against Video Gaming Law,” (accessed April 2, 2008).
  3. Craig A. Anderson “Violent Video Games: Myths, Facts, and Unanswered Questions,” Psychological Science Agenda, Vol. 16 (2003) (also available at:
  4. Ronald Baily, “Video Violence = Real Violence? Bomb, blast, and strafe in peace,” (accessed January 21, 2008).
  5. Adriane Raine, Todd Lencz, Susan Bihrle, Lori LaCasse, Patrick Colletti, “Reduced Prefrontal Gray Matter Volume and Reduced Autonomic Activity in Antisocial Personality Disorder, (accessed January 25, 2008).
  6. U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Since 1994, violent crime rates have declined, reaching the lowest level ever in 2005,” (accessed April 2, 2008).
  7. Michael Aldman, Sean Nicholson, and Nodir Adilov, “Does Television Cause Autism?” (accessed December 10, 2007).
  8. Hiawatha Bray, The Boston Globe, “Sex scene stirs up a fuss over Grand Theft Auto,” (accessed May 15 2008).
  9. Bob Hebert, New York Times, “Clueless in America,” (accessed April 22, 2008).
  10. Democracy Now! “Is Torture on the Hit Fox T.V. Show “24” Encouraging Soldiers to Abuse Detainees,” (accessed May 15, 2008).
  11. George Popescu, “Women in Video Games. From Barbie to Xena,” in Gender and the (Post) East/West Divide, ed. Mihaela Frunză and Theodora Eliza Văcărescu, (accessed April 3, 2008); hereafter, referred to in text as Gender.
  12. Donato Totaro, Offscreen, “The Final Girl: A Few Thoughts on Feminism and Horror,” (accessed August 6, 2008).
  13. Helen Kennedy, Game Studies, “Lara Croft: Feminist Icon or Cyberbimbo? On the Limits of Textual Analysis,” (accessed April 6, 2008).
  14. Andrea Rubenstein, “Idealizing Fantasy Bodies,” Iris Gaming Network, (accessed May 10, 2008).
  15. “Sex-positive feminism,” Wikipedia, (accessed May 10, 2008).
  16. Unjustifiable Carnage, Uneasy Alliances, and Lots of Self-Doubt: What Grand Theft Auto IV gets right about gangland and illegal economies,” Slate, (accessed May 11, 2008).
3D Discussion Questions return to top

1. Explain and evaluate the Platonist's case for the view that video games are morally harmful. In doing so, discuss the arguments (including the Emulation Argument) and empirical data presented. [Section 3.2  and Section 3.4.1]

2. Explain and evaluate the Aristotelian's case for the view that video games are not morally harmful. In doing so, discuss the arguments (including the Katharsis Argument) and data presented. [Section 3.3 and Section 3.4.2]

3. Explain and evaluate the part of Mill's defense of liberty presented by the authors. Is the Millean right to think that even if the Platonist is correct about the harmful effects of violent video games, the kind of censorship manifest in the ESRB (or rather the manner in which government threats and lawsuits have led to its imposition) is a bad thing? [Section 3.5.1]

4.  The authors present one example of the moral relevance of the context of presented violence. Present two more examples of this phenomena. [Section 3.6.1]

5. Evaluate and explain Popescu's typology of female characters. What would a similar typology of male characters look like? [Section 3.6.2]

6. The authors discuss morally problematic aspects of video game portrayals of women. Evaluate and explain the three possible readings of Lara Croft? Which is most plausible and why? [Section 3.6.2]

7. Explain and evaluate E.M. Dadlez's claim about how art works make certain events or states of affaris seem possible. Are the authors correct that from this perspective video game portrayals of women are problematic. How should video game design respond to this critique? [Section 3.6.3]

8. The authors conclude by briefly discussing "the good life" and how overplaying violent video games might hinder this. What kind of reflections should one aspire to be able to have on one's deathbed? That is, what are the main properties of a meaningful life that is worth living? To what extent do video games contribute to such a life? Are some games better or worse in this regard? How should the answers to these questions bear on game design? [Section 3.6.3]