Four Design (Ethics) Links is a review of the design- and ethics-related stories we've been reading online this week. This week: game design ethics, white hat SEO, facebook psychology, and startup web design.
1. Nevolution: This is a mental public health issue
Daniel Neville has penned a thoughtful piece about the ethical implications of video games that manipulate us and how these mechanics are holding back the artistic potential of the medium.
...[G]ame designers are using evolutionary needs for rewards and goals to cheapen the game playing experience. If there were no golden coins to collect, or princesses to solve, would the game still be playable? [Braid designer Jonathan Blow] made a big point about comparing the simple and addictive (yet ultimately empty) rewards based system of World of Warcraft to gorging on fast food...Blow questions if game designers have been designing games to exploit the need for fitness indicators and affordances. Rewards can be like food (naturally beneficial) or like drugs (artificial stimuli and the illusion of fitness indicators), games over use the drugs because they don't understand how to make a food.