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    Jan 21st, 2009 at 09:28:53     -    Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (XBX)

    This last entry is simply to point out that the last time I played San Andreas, I noticed that the characters and people in the game follow the judicial code of retribution. When I started the game, I could walk down the streets with out anyone really paying attention to me, but then as I went on to play a lot of the missions where I had to kill rival gang members, I noticed that more and more people took notice of me as I walked or drove down the streets. First it was the Ballas who started shooting at my car every time I drove through their neighborhood and soon after I beat up a Mexican gang member in a backyard, all of the members of gang started shooting at me just for coming down the street too. Also, not everyone enjoys being pulled out of their car as I steal their vehicle and if I am not fast enough in driving away they will come back to the vehicle and take it back from me. The police enforcement follows a similar approach as the more pedestrians I run down, the more ammunition they unload in my general direction. Pretty soon I probably will not be able to go anywhere in the game with out being shot at.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Jan 21st, 2009 at 09:40:43.

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    Jan 21st, 2009 at 00:27:27     -    Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (XBX)

    So on my last round of playing this morning, the game's missions asked me to break into some guys house and steal weapons without the owner of the house waking up and then break into a national guard base, pistols blazing and steal some high tech military weaponry. Both missions required that I drive a huge truck to store the stolen goods in. The trucks' control was slow and clunky so will I was trying to run away from some military vehicles, I found myself running over several pedestrians. As I have mentioned in an earlier post, during missions I have tried to refrain from just running over random pedestrians. Something about it just seems wrong about. I have to ask then, does behaving immorally in San Andreas make me a worse person?

    I guess the question I should ask next is do I have some obligation to act morally within the world of the game? According to Kant I definitely don't. Kant believed that humans were special because they could reason and feel and that is why we owe it to other human beings to act morally. He said that animals on the other hand were not rational beings and had no feelings, ergo we have no moral imperative to treat them well. Obviously then we should not feel bad about any of the things that we do in the confines of this video game because the things that we are acting immorally against are not actually people. Its just pixels and code that is made to mimic people, but has no actual rationality or feelings.

    This point may seem pretty clear and obvious, but it seems to me that opponents of the GTA series do not think like this. When the first GTA III game came out, I received it as a gift for Christmas from my parents. Later on we had family over and one of my aunts was appalled when she had found out that I had received and played that game. In her mind and many other people's, the actions that a player does in the game make that player a worse person. Therefore to not seem like a immoral person to my aunt I would have to not play the game at all, or at least not commit any crimes in the game while playing it.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Jan 21st, 2009 at 09:26:51.

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    Jan 21st, 2009 at 00:24:44     -    Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (XBX)

    So today in the city of Los Santos I picked up a prostitute and then when she got out of the car I ran her over and took my money back. These actions certainly stray far from what would commonly be held as morally or ethically acceptable actions, but its only a game so who cars? Well most likely concerned parents and politicians who want the votes of those concerned parents. A game that allows kids to do things like pick up prostitutes, run people over, and steal sounds like a reasonable thing for parents be concerned about as well, but does that mean that game makers have some sort of moral obligation to take heed of these concerns and restrict their games because of them? This has been a question of much debate for decades now and will not be answered definitively here in this entry, but lets see what a couple of moral philosophies have to say about it.

    First lets take a look at Utilitarianism. I will begin by measuring out the happiness as opposed to the unhappiness that a game like GTA: San Andreas would produce. Lets say that the game brings happiness to the thousands of people who make the game and profit monetarily from its release. Lets say it also brings happiness to the millions of people who have purchased the game. San Andreas most likely brings unhappiness to the parents of some of the kids who have purchased the game and to the many politicians who have brought up complaints about the game nationally. Of those groups the two largest are the purchasers of those games and parents of some of those purchasers. Of the two, the purchasers far out number the parents as no all parents are concerned about the game and many of the buyers are not even children. Therefore, in this circumstance the games release brings a net game of happiness and is morally acceptable.

    Now lets see what Kant would have to say about it. Kant believed in absolute moral rules and thought the best way to find them was to ask whether a certain action someone takes would be accepted by that person if all peoples everywhere always acted in that same way. In this case the action would be weather it is right for someone to restrict the creative freedom of someone else. I think most would agree that such an act would not be accepted at all times. In, fact such an act would go against the very first amendment of the constitution. Therefore, it is most likely that Kant would say that video game makers are not morally obligated to conform to the requests of concerend parents.

    As I said, this far from concludes that video game makers are free to put whatever they want into a video game. For example, in the beginning of the class this semester, we went through a list of actions that everyone instinctively believed to be wrong. That list included murder, stealing, lying, maiming, and rape. Four of those five things are allowed in San Andreas, but one of them, rape, is not. Something tells me that even some of the most liberal video game players out there would find it hard to accept, let alone play a game that allowed the player to do that.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Jan 21st, 2009 at 00:55:34.

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    Jan 18th, 2009 at 17:43:41     -    Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (XBX)

    Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas starts off with a man coming back to the neighborhood he grew up in after learning of his mother's death. From this plot point, he meets up with all of his old "homies" and decides that he owes it to them and his neighborhood to join back up with the gang and take back the streets. Right away it is apearent that CJ, the main character, bases his decisions about what is right and wrong on the loyalty he has for his friends and family. Based on our in class poll of people who would lie too get their friend out of serious trouble for causing a car accident, CJ's view on morality and loyalty is not very contreversial at first glance. Yet within the first few missions of the game, CJ takes this moral code to the point where he can justify homicide. Most people would not find too easy to kill someone simply based off of their loyalty to some person or group put the moral code of ethics folled by gangs in this game do.

    Most games, however, have the player killing some person or group in order to advance throughout the game. For example, World War II games have the player killing Nazi's or Japanese soldiers. And their seems to be little objection to what the morals in a war game are as compared to the controversy and uproar associated with most releases of Grand Theft Auto Games. Yet most of that controversies tends to lie with the games allowance of players to kill anyone on the street and pick up prostitues. In short, I believe that in our society it is okay to participate in forms of entertainment where the people getting killed are not innocent. As a product of that society, when I was playing the missions where I had to kill off rival gang members, I did not hesitate to kill them, but I was very conscious about not running over other passers-by while I drove a car from neighborhood to neighborhood. Of course if I did accidentally clip some innocent bystandered, I really wasn't all that shaken up about it. They are after all, only polygons and pixels.

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