The Unique Philosophies of Gaming


You don’t always have to bend philosophies to fit videogames; the medium has more than a few of its own.

Sometimes you run out of philosophy. It’s nothing to be ashamed of; it’s natural and happens to almost everyone at some point in his or her life. It happened to Robert Yang in Issue 276 of The Escapist, and he managed to get along just fine.

It’s the end of the line. We went from Aristotle and Plato to empiricism with David Hume to Marxist aesthetics with Theodor Adorno. It’s been a haphazard, horribly incomplete survey across several different branches of Western philosophy. Some would say it was rambling – and to them, I would counter that all who wander are not lost.

But now our philosophical wandering is more or less ending here, with our discussion of more experimental, emerging game design practices. There aren’t any more large sweeping fields of philosophy left to generalize … Why? Well, part of the reason is that philosophy itself is even more uncertain of what it is today. No other discipline in the world is so intent on its own destruction. “Philosophy is dead” will often be the central idea of half the papers at any given conference. Thus, my past practice of pigeon-holing game design practices into philosophical movements is no longer tenable.

Yang makes the case that videogame developers have their own unique philosophies, but says that much like the medium itself, they are in their infancy and haven’t been firmly codified yet. You can read more about it in the final part of “The Philosophy of Game Design

About the author