Two Ways through the Looking Glass. Game Design as an Expression of Philosophy of Action

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


Actions performed in digital games tend to be contingent upon a digital agent that stands in for the player, if those actions are anthropomorphized and experientially situated in a gameworld. The situated kind of agency given to players in these scenarios have been conceptualized differently. The paper argues that two of the foundational concepts, Janet Murray’s and Doug Church’s, are roughly equivalent to, respectively, consequentialist (Goldman 1970, Davidson 1980) and intentionalist (Anscombe 2000, Wilson 1989, Ginet 1990) positions in the philosophy of action. The paper demonstrates that the subtle difference between Murray’s and Church’s understanding of actions in computer games is paralleled in two ‘schools’ of game design that developed in the 1990s in the (long defunct) American game development studio Looking Glass.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2017
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 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


  • Digital games
  • Digital agency
  • Gameworld
  • Philosophy of action
  • Game design schools


Dive into the research topics of 'Two Ways through the Looking Glass. Game Design as an Expression of Philosophy of Action'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this