The more I play non-violent games with no combat system, the more abhorrent I find games with combat systems. Don't get me wrong, both as a player and a designer, I love combat systems.

But the insane proportion of gameplay tied to violence, conflict and exploitation, and the fact it's seen as normal or even desirable in video games culture, make me feel increasingly bad. Is capitalism fun?

What about complex systems to explore empathy, ecological awareness, philosophy, utopia?


@ice can you link to some gameplay systems for empathy,philosophy, utopia ?
genuinely like to read up and see different types of gameplay concepts :)

@fleeky I don't have any actual example of empathy-based gameplay, except maybe Kind Words, which is entirely multiplayer-based and has very little "gameplay'.

I'm having these thoughts after playing this, and Littlewood, which I think does an excellent job at offering a peaceful experience geared toward others.

Otherwise, games like Stardew Valley, Animal Crossing, and in a twisted way, Disco Elysium, also come to my mind.

@ice would minecraft count? i mean at the very least there are non violent gameplay systems, the exploration and crafting and soothing ambient music triggers are nice ..

thanks for the suggestions, i think there is a whole other world of interesting interactions out there, empathy systems sound like a particularly interesting gameplay possibility .. do you have any ideas how you would want to implement an empathy system ?

@fleeky I've played a lot of Minecraft, usually in survival mode but with a strong emphasis on cooperation, so yes, I'd say, depending on your play style, that it can be mostly non-violent, even if it's not really possible to avoid combat if you want to "beat" the game.

@ice i guess for an empathy gameplay system the first question is how do we even have empathy , how do we have less or more..
an emotion sub system would have to be in there so you could detect the feelings of other characters/npcs to even be able to show you have empathy for them.. hmmm

@fleeky Regarding how I'd implement an empathy system, I honestly have no idea at this point, but this is something I want to work on in the future.

My first approach would be, for once, to avoid thinking as a game designer, but to try to feel the mood and emotions I'd want to convey, to imagine it as vividly as possible, and to describe it without any attempt at systematization. Then try to identify patterns and work from here to shape the gameplay. Building empathy is an emotional process.

@ice @fleeky

This makes me want for a game where I could actually read a character's expression and modify my choices accordingly.

Trying to create a ui for my actual empathy I suppose.

@RussSharek @ice it brings into question , what is empathy? how can it help or hurt you? how can it empower you or weaken you? and how does it do these things but for others in respect to you and groups..

@fleeky @ice

I suspect these questions would make an intriguing set of non-violent things to explore in a game.

@RussSharek @fleeky LA Noire did this, to an extend, you could read the facial features of a suspect during an interrogation and decide if they were saying the truth or not:

The game itself is good, though I never finished it, and since I'm not especially gifted at reading other people's emotions I can't tell if it really worked or not, haha.

@ice @fleeky

Funny, I'm functionally the opposite: I'm good with people, and bad with video games.

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