"Playing games builds empathy." True, or false?

My take is that games are the same as everything else and like the rest of it their value for building empathy (or any other positive development) depends how you play them, how you integrate them with your life, how you socialise around them etc.

A healthy approach to anything requires thoughtfulness however, and some games encourage negative patterns of behaviour through addictive qualities and valuing shallow play styles.


@fry That's more or less my take. Some gamers and game developers are very empathic already; but you can't force someone to build empathy via games.

@cidney One of the great things about games is that you can approach them however you want to. The experiences an individual can have are so varied and unique. I actually wish more games rewarded more varied interaction styles though... thinking about all the different ways it might be played, beyond the core objectives, and running with that. That's why BotW really shone for me.

@cidney I haven't played Hero U but I like the sound of "Depending on each player’s gaming style, Hero-U can play out as adventure game, a role-playing game, a mystery game, a romance, or an interactive novel." :)

@cidney Judging by the gamers we both know, it's very false. Games seem pretty empathy-neutral? It's like asking if reading books builds empathy.

@cidney depends on the game! I think collaborative games where you have to make something together, or follow some kind of restrictions to convey or deduce information from other people could definitely qualify.

But I also think open world games can really bring out an inner monster sometimes. Games like Grand Theft Auto come to mind.
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