“This. Cannot. Continue.” – Ludoethical Tension in NieR: Automata

Milan Jacevic

Research output: Contribution to conference - NOT published in proceeding or journalPaperResearchpeer-review


This paper deals with the ethical dimensions of action in NieR: Automata (N:A;
PlatinumGames 2017). I begin by outlining the game, focusing primarily on three themes which find their expression on the game’s ludic and narrative levels and making a claim that N:A represents an interesting object of study which in many ways challenges our understanding of ethics and action in the context of single-player computer games. At the end of this section, I also posit the research question guiding the rest of the paper, focused on issues of player behavior and ethical value formation. In the second section of the paper, I discuss several ways in which action can be defined and structured in single-player computer games, with the aim of showing the ways in which N:A limits and guides the behavior of its player. In the next section, I introduce Espen Aarseth’s notion of the implied player (Aarseth 2007) and problematize it from a standpoint of (computer game) ethics. I then propose a parallel, complementary concept in relation to ethical and moral values, as opposed to
instrumental behavior, which I use in tandem with the notion of the implied player to answer the driving question behind the paper.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date29 Nov 2017
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2017
EventPhilosophy of Computer Games Conference 2017 - Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland
Duration: 28 Nov 20171 Dec 2017


ConferencePhilosophy of Computer Games Conference 2017
LocationJagiellonian University
Internet address


  • NieR: Automata
  • ludoethical tension
  • ethics
  • existentialism
  • gameplay condition
  • choice


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