In chapter 2 of ‘How to do things with Videogames’, author Ian Bogost explains how video games are prime real estate for helping people to both learn and practice empathy. The reason that video games can be a great vehicle for empathy is because of its interactivity; allowing someone to take control of another’s actions is a great way of helping them step into the character’s shoes, so to speak. Bogost gives two examples of games that give the player a new experience to empathize with; Darfur is Dying places you in the body of a young boy, who’s only saving grace against a band of terrorists is to cower out of sight as he tries to find water for his village. Hush puts you in the shoes of a Tutsi mother hiding in a closet, attempting to keep her baby quiet to avoid being caught and killed by the Hutus. For players, these kinds of games can help them understand the helplessness and fear experienced by people who were actually in those situations.
– Do video games bring forth a unique kind of empathy?
– Why would people be offended at the idea that video games can help others empathize with them?