“Play It Out Before You Live It Out”: Video Games That Teach Ethics

Will is part of a wave of simulations seeking to impact society by replicating more shades of moral nuance. One, a virtual reality simulation recently profiled by Wired, tries to teach cops not how to shoot but when to do so. (The answer is almost never clear.) These sims seek to simulate our surroundings in all their nuance, complexity, and sometimes, ugliness. Clearly, they’re working on some levels: Military leaders have even described Will’s as life-saving. Plus, as Sloane points out, in some ways the discussion and thought process that the “games” engender can be more important than the actual experience of playing them. Hours after watching the PTSD simulation, for instance, I found my mind wandering back to its haunting premise.

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