New Publication: Influences of Game Design and Context on Learners' Trying on Moral Identities

I began grad school expecting to focus on educational uses of games, and while I’m still interested in the topic, I’ve largely phased out that research vein in favor of social media research. Recently, however, I learned about a special issue that presented an opportunity to revisit a long-dormant manuscript based on a small project that I’d started during my second year of grad school and had trouble bringing to completion. In hindsight, there are a lot of things that I would do differently on the project, but the ideas at its core remain interesting and important to me. Up to fifty people can download a copy of the article for free at this link.

For your reference, here is the abstract for the article:

Games can invite players to try on moral identities, but players ultimatelychoose how to respond to this invitation. In this study, I explore how thedesign of a game and the context it is played in affect whether players triedon a moral identity when completing in-game actions. I interviewed sevenstudents who had played an ethics game and asked what influenced theirperception of the game’s ethical significance. After coding interview tran-scripts using an established framework of design and contextual featuresrelated to serious games, I found that environmental constraints, formal con-straints, goals, and the game context all influenced whether students triedon moral identities during the game, suggesting a complicated relationshipbetween player identity, game design, and game context.