Prototyping Kant-Inspired Reflexive Game Mechanics
Proceedings of the 2012 Workshop on Research Prototyping in Games
4 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2012
Date Written: May 29, 2012
Immanuel Kant's categorical imperative, stating (in one formulation) that one ought to always act according to a maxim that can be made universal law, is tempting to proceduralize, in the form of a game that literally turns actions into universal laws. This paper explores difficulties that initially arise in translating that idea to a game design: some of which been covered in the philosophy literature, and others of which relate to the difficulties in defining what constitutes a proper rule induction. Then, it discusses several much less lofty, but practical, prototypes that explore what I take to be the formal game mechanics underpinning the idea: reflexive game mechanics where breaking a rule implies the free breaking of that rule for the rest of the game. By analyzing these prototypes, I attempt to determine if these prototypes result in either an interesting game mechanic (taken on its own) on the one hand, or a compelling representation of Kantian morality on the other hand, reaching mixed conclusions.
Keywords: game design, Immanuel Kant, rule induction
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation