Warning: This post contains spoilers.
The simulation of morality is nothing new. Much of moral philosophy for instance, relies on thought experiments such as the Heinz Dilemma, the Trolley Problem, and the Ticking Bomb Scenario in order to better explain, discuss, and grapple with various moral and ethical conflicts. We may even think of moral simulation as being as old as religion itself, which often uses parables and the promise of moral judgment upon death to exemplify and promote righteous behavior. In simulations such as these, we can better understand how we have come to understand what constitutes as right or wrong, as well as judge the morality of our own actions and beliefs. More recently, moral simulation has spread beyond the realms of philosophy and religion, addressing the secular mainstream and even finding itself as a type of commodity in the form of video games.
Morality and systems used to simulate and measure it have become important features of many popular role playing game series, including Fallout, Mass Effect, and Fable.…Continue Reading
A little over a month ago, a huge bomb went off in the Star Wars community, as merchandise for the newest film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, hit stores a whopping three month in advance, an event lovingly called “Force Friday.” Shelves were flooded with action figures, board games, apparel, and even notebooks, all for a film that hadn’t even been released yet. Stranger still, is that Force Friday was a huge success. Crowds of people showed up, waiting in lines and saving spots, all to buy merchandise for characters, vehicles, and worlds they don’t even know much about. In fact, much of what was released hadn’t even been seen until that day. Being both a fascinated scholar and a huge nerd, I realized I’d have to investigate.
Much like Black Friday, stores opened at midnight with freshly stocked shelves and a hoard of shoppers lined up at the doors. Being located in Carlisle, far from urban shopping epicenters, I believed that going after class during the day would be adequate for both finding people to interview as a scholar and stuff to buy as a fan.…Continue Reading