On the train back from Cambridge the other day I read the most recent edition of Adbusters, which had a much better than usual interesting:ludicrous ratio. One of the most thought provoking things (to me, anyway) was this, rather difficult to answer, article. It raises the question, if it’s OK to murder people in a videogame because nobody gets hurt, then why shouldn’t people also commit virtual rape? Or have sex with virtual children?
The issue typically discussed around violent games such as Grand Theft Auto is that the violence or sexual behavior of the virtual worlds will surface in the real world – that violent games will eventually create violent people who do horrific things (videogames were repeatedly blamed following both Columbine and Virginia Tech. massacres, for instance). But there is another concern that has gone largely unaddressed that will become increasingly perplexing as videogames create better, more immersive models of reality: am I free to do anything I want in a virtual world, or are some things inherently wrong?
Apart from being a good article that’s worth reading in full (don’t worry, it’s not that long), it’s also a nasty central question, and not one I have any immediate answer for. Anyone else want to have a go?