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Playing with other(ed) species: games, representation, and nonhuman animals

Brown, Adam and Waterhouse-Watson, Deb 2016, Playing with other(ed) species: games, representation, and nonhuman animals, Ctrl-z: new media philosophy, no. 6.


Title Playing with other(ed) species: games, representation, and nonhuman animals
Author(s) Brown, AdamORCID iD for Brown, Adam orcid.org/0000-0003-4669-1372
Waterhouse-Watson, Deb
Journal name Ctrl-z: new media philosophy
Issue number 6
Publisher Curtin University
Place of publication Perth, West Aust.
Publication date 2016
ISSN 2200-8616
Keyword(s) games
animal welfare
media studies
gaming
representation
Summary During the writing of this essay, the controversial nonhuman animal rights organisation PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) sent out a tweet linking to an online article about the recent PC and Playstation 4 console game No Man’s Sky, in which players are positioned as explorers of countless virtual planets. Encountering the wide array of creatures indigenous to these worlds, players of this game are offered the choice of whether ‘to document them and name them or slaughter them en masse’ (Francisco, ‘PETA’). While an environmental agenda appears to be far from the game designers’ minds, PETA’s Marketing Vice President Joel Bartlett interprets No Man’s Sky as ‘counting on our natural empathy … we have a natural sense of exploration that has been important to human history’ (Francisco, ‘PETA’). Indeed, PETA has immersed itself in the gaming industry by creating its own simple online games in-house, such as the provocative Mario Kills Tanooki, which opposes what it sees as the unethical messages conveyed by Nintendo’s popular Super Mario Bros. franchise. These instances of the intersection of exploration, ethics, empathy, and play raise important questions regarding the potential role(s) of gaming in furthering (or hindering) the welfare of nonhuman animals. This issue becomes more and more urgent not only in a time of ongoing climate change, environmental degradation, and the continued endangerment of countless species around the planet, but also in a time when the gaming industry and the adoption of game design principles in many others grows apace.
Language eng
Field of Research 200104 Media Studies
Socio Economic Objective 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type X Not reportable
Copyright notice ©2016, Curtin University
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30086359

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Communication and Creative Arts
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Created: Tue, 27 Sep 2016, 20:59:31 EST

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