What are the gamer virtues? What are the gamer vices? In The Ethics of Computer Games, Miguel Sicart adapted Aristotle's virtue ethics to videogames, but one thing he did not quite manage to flesh out were what the specific virtues and vices of a gamer might actually be. The only way to work this out is by talking to actual gamers and learning from them.
According to Julius Kovesi's observations in Moral Notions, we can tell when a moral attitude has developed by following the changes in language. "Killing" is not necessarily a moral term, but "murder" is – implicit in the choice to call something "murder" instead of "killing" is a moral judgement. Following this line of reasoning, one way to look for evidence of gamer virtues and vices is to look at the language that has grown up around the games they play together.
My first investigation in this area shows a lot of evidence of vices. Camping is used pejoratively to criticise players who gain tactical or strategic advantage by remaining in the same place, and spawn killing is a particularly reviled form of camping. Spamming, whether chat spamming or grenade spamming, denotes a criticism of players who act in overly repetitive and irritating ways. Kill stealing is a particularly unique form of "theft" in which credit for a kill is taken by another player who didn't do most of the work. Then there is griefing, the all-purpose word for describing the behaviour of a player who is obnoxiously intrusive on the play of others.
All these words show that there are plenty of gamer vices. But what are the gamer virtues? I can't find any evidence of words used to describe gamer virtues, but surely they must exist. Do Modern Warfare players not have a term for a player who dutifully guards a strategic point, even though they earn fewer kills? Or for players who are good at providing intel? Do EVE Online players have terms to describe pilots with honour? Do World of Warcraft players not have a term for a tank who's particularly good at being a damage magnet, or a healer who is always there when you need them, or a leader who they respect? Or do they just criticise those players who disrupt the efficiency of the party?
I don't have the answers to these questions – but there must be gamers out there who do! If you play in a gamer community, please let me know any virtues and vices you know about that have earned their own names. I'm especially interested in the virtues, because right now it looks as if the gamer community at large is more interested in being judgemental than proffering praise... are gamers really that self-centred? I'd like to know what you think!
Please share your viewpoint about gamer virtues and vices in the comments! Also, please help publicise my interest in this subject. Thanks in advance for your assistance!