Bogost: Empathy, Skim, and Reverence

Zachariah James Watson

Bogost’s chapter (2 & 3) on empathy, skim, and reverence dives into the ways that video-games allow us to associate them within the realms of the virtual reality of the video-game world. He begins by stating how video-games enable us to experience empathy by allowing us to take a walk through someone else’s shoes, at least in a manner of speaking. When we play video-games, we are able to find a sense of fulfillment through “power fantasies.” From wielding deadly weapons to engaging in warfare with other characters, video-games allow us to experience a personal/psychological sense of empowerment without having to deal with real-life consequences.

Bogost also points out how video-games are often accused of promoting disrespect, particularly with their visual representation, or “celebration”, of violence and encouraging disdain for our men, women, and culture. However, he also address how video-games can be used to “promote” embracing respect, deference, and reverence for one another.

Discussion Questions:

1) What do you believe video-games promote the most in terms of content and conduct?

2) Do you think video-games are more of a negative influence or a positive one?


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