The Philosophy, Art, and Social Influence of games
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Video games and philosophy

by JohnnyBgood Tue Aug 25, 2015 9:15 am


I would like to know if you like games based on philosophic principles, like Bioshock.

If you didn't know it, this game is inspired by the huge philosophy of Aynd Rand (Atlas Shruggle) and talk about great inventors and engineers who escape from american crisis.

I read all her work and her philosophy is very integrated to Andrew Ryan's state of mind, even if he becom crazy with that :)

Do you know some other games based on philosophy or big social concepts?
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Re: Video games and philosophy

by BossKnight Sun Sep 20, 2015 11:21 am

I don't seek out games based on philosophical principles. The entire Bioshock series has followed some very serious philosophy driven ideas and morals and there isn't a game in that series that I didn't enjoy playing and uncovering the story of the game while playing.

Some good games that dive into social concepts and philosophical debate are-

Earthbound because it shows off themes like technological man vs spiritual man, extreme hatred of capitalism, it plays on American pop-culture of the time(L.A. Riots and police brutality), Buddhist themes of self discovery and edification, definition and substance of humanity and much more.

Grim Fandango is an honorable mention for tackling capitalism vs consumerism.
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Re: Video games and philosophy

by marurun Fri Sep 25, 2015 6:53 pm

Well, a great many games have karma or influence systems, and those tend to have to take a kind of philosophical stand on player actions.
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Re: Video games and philosophy

by BogusMeatFactory Fri Sep 25, 2015 7:44 pm

marurun wrote:Well, a great many games have karma or influence systems, and those tend to have to take a kind of philosophical stand on player actions.

Unless your playing Shadowrun, then karma is just Skill Points :wink:

As for games that revolve around philsophy... of course I love them. I highly recommend people try and find some of the more unusual and obscure ones out there like, "The Cosmology of Kyoto," which delves into the spiritual and philosophical aspects of Buddhism. It is a strange mixture of edutainment game, sandbox game and survival horror as it doesn't pull its punches when it comes to showing some of the more grotesque aspects of the afterlife.
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Re: Video games and philosophy

by DPCameron Thu Oct 29, 2015 9:51 pm

Philosophic principles are common in almost every game, just to varying degrees. In this respect, they are similar to films.

Mario has them, Kirby has them. Of course, they are not the driving force as in Bioshock. Final Fantasy has made it their MO.

Just as in films, these devices are used to tie us into the worlds created. You don't need to know the philosophy behind the story or design, but if it is informed, it creates a more believable world.

If it makes you read or study the books and thoughts used, then that's even better. It always makes me happy when people want to learn more about their games.

Check out Culture Shock on The Game Theory Youtube page, that's always a good place to start before getting more hardcore and reading actual books.
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Re: Video games and philosophy

by Glitch42 Fri Feb 26, 2016 5:31 am

I prefer story driven games in which the creator has put a huge effort into immersing the player in the game world.
Really a lot of games have philosophy in them. Think about the Assassin's Creed games, I mean they hit you with it in the tutorial and is a basis of the sync system.

The maxim was taken from the novel Alamut by Vladimir Bartol, a book that served as a primary inspiration for Assassin's Creed. In it, the maxim was the highest truth of the Ismaili, the sect of Islam that gave rise to the historical Hashashin.

By inserting philosophy into a game it grounds the story and assists in immersing the player; often this is used in first-person shooters that have the player as a figure of justice. I'm playing a game right now that is trying to do just that but failing because it follows the overused tropes of COD which rely on the players American sensibilities. This doesn't work on me since I am not American. This is one of the problems a lot of first person shooters have coming out of the US of A.
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Re: Video games and philosophy

by qishmish Fri Feb 26, 2016 7:35 am

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Re: Video games and philosophy

by Exhuminator Fri Feb 26, 2016 9:48 am

JohnnyBgood wrote:Do you know some other games based on philosophy or big social concepts?

Very few Westerners realize that Shadow of the Colossus is full of metaphoric symbolism concerning Buddhism. The primary example being the sixteen colossi representing the sixteen distorted ways of embracing the Four Noble Truths. ... ruths.html
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Re: Video games and philosophy

by J T Wed Sep 07, 2016 8:37 pm

The Xenosaga series pull in a lot of philosophy from Nietzsche. I have a couple of these games, but I've only played the first hour or so of the first Xenosaga, and a little bit of Xenogears. Therefore, here's someone who showed up in a google search that seems to know more about the games than me: ... 122115433/
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Re: Video games and philosophy

by Tempest Sat Dec 24, 2016 3:05 am

Everything in NiGHTS symbolises some aspect of Jungian psychology. For example, NiGHTS him/her/itself represents a projection of the anima/animus archetype depending on which character one plays as. Eliot's anima helps him get in touch with his feelings for Claris, while Claris' animus gives her the strength to retry her audition.

Reala, in his/her/its dark nature, represents the shadow archetype of the psyche - the negative aspects that one represses about oneself. NiGHTS could also be the shadow archetype given that the shadow also represents the unexpressed aspects of the psyche, in this case, the unexpressed potential within the children.
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