In this article, we consider the capabilities video games offer to educators who seek to foster prosocial development using three popular frameworks: moral education, character education, and care ethics. While all three of these frameworks previously considered literature and film as helpful tools, we suggest that video games are unique from these other media in the multiple levers through which they can influence the worldview, values, and behaviors of players. Similar to literature and film, video games possess content — plot, characters, conflict, themes, and imagery — with which participants interact. Unlike other media, however, video games scaffold players’ experiences not only via narrative and audiovisual content but by the rules, principles, and objectives governing what participants do. Moreover, many video games possess an ecosystem that impacts players’ interpretation of the game itself — for example, on-line hint guides and discussion groups as well as the opportunity to play in the company of peers in either physical or virtual proximity. We consider opportunities and challenges presented by each of these unique facets of video games for fostering the prosocial development of participants.
video games, computer games, prosocial development, moral education, moral reflection, character education, habit formation, procedural rhetoric, educational games, epistemic games, new media, online games
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