28 Pages

Video games beyond escapism

Empathy and identification
ByMuriel Daniel, Crawford Garry

Video games are helping create a new range of social and personal experiences, but by doing so, they are not only fostering escapism, but they are also enabling connections with other aspects of social reality. Escapism is indeed an important part of why people play video games, but it is not the only cause or consequence of video gaming. This chapter explores how video games can create different experiences of play, focusing especially on those that promote social empathy and processes of identification. It discusses some of the limitations that video games have in their ability to foster empathetic responses and identification processes. It is widely accepted that Lucas Pope's game, Papers, Please, recreates a frontier that reminds us of a former Soviet republic. It is almost impossible not to notice that the game features all those things that we would typically associate with what happened on the East side of the Iron Curtain.