Game Ethics and Accessibility in Boardgames with Pauline Belford (#6)
We talk about morality in games, board game accessibility, academia, and parkrun.
Pauline Belford is an experienced educator who has spent nearly two decades teaching in post-16 education at both Further Education and Higher Education institutions. She was involved in the development of the first Scottish Higher National Diploma in Computer Games Development – a national qualification delivered across Scotland’s Further Education Colleges. She is also an active researcher in the fields of computer ethics and accessibility in games, and has co-authored several papers on topics such as game design, game ethics, and sexism in gaming. She is currently working part-time as a freelance educational consultant and accessibility researcher, whilst co-authoring a book on computer ethics, and learning Swedish.
In our conversation, we talk about morality in games, board game accessibility, academia, and parkrun.
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[00:40] What drew Pauline to game design, computer ethics, and accessibility
[01:06] Pauline’s background and exposure to computers
[01:42] From biology and sociology to computer science
[02:49] Developing the HNC and HND Computer Games Development qualification
[04:14] Where that qualification can lead
[04:40] Setting up teams and incubators during the program
[06:38] Pauline’s interest in computer ethics
[07:21] Teaching ethics through the case study “Scandal in Academia”
[08:47] Student reception to learning ethics in computing
[09:35] The lessons behind the lesson
[10:38] Also, PhDs: Beware of what you’re getting into
[11:18] The potential for exploitation in academia
[13:25] On independent research and publishing
[14:24] Teaching ethics to both computing students and police officers
[15:13] How to assess an ethics unit
[16:25] Morality in games
[17:40] Morality systems in the “Fallout” (VG) series
[19:14] The “Magic Circle” concept
[20:29] Empathy as a mechanic in “Life is Strange” (VG)
[22:02] The politics of story crafting in games
[22:24] The analogy to slavery in “Detroit: Become Human” (VG)
[22:56] Ethics and morality as a mechanic in games
[23:40] “Papers, Please” (VG)
[26:47] How they found a niche in board game accessibility
[27:35] Social benefits of board games
[29:01] Board game community feedback to their accessibility work
[30:50] Bonus Question 1: What hobby or interest do you have that is most unrelated to your field of work?
[33:52] Starting her own local chapter
[36:22] The Swedish parkrun community
[38:07] Bonus Question 2: Which childhood book holds the strongest memories for you?
[39:49] Bonus Question 3: What advice you would give someone who wants to do what you do? Or what advice should they ignore?
[39:56] On knowing your worth
[40:39] On applying for jobs
[41:19] On networking
[41:36] Mark Granovetter’s “The Strength of Weak Ties”
[41:57] On maintaining connections
[43:49] On impostor syndrome
[44:52] On “fake it ‘til you make it”
[45:28] On shaping your work
[47:56] Anders Ericsson’s “Deliberate Practice”
[49:39] Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s “Flow”
- Year 2000 Problem (wiki)
- Dr Michael Heron
- Scottish Qualifications Authority
- HNC and HND Computer Games Development
- Higher National Certificate (wiki)
- Higher National Diploma (wiki)
- Fallout (wiki) (video game series)
- The Magic Circle (wiki)
- Life is Strange (wiki)
- Detroit: Become Human (wiki)
- Heavy Rain (wiki)
- Papers, Please (wiki)
- Meeple Like Us
- parkrun (wiki)
- Interpersonal Ties (wiki)
- Impostor Syndrome (wiki)
- Deliberate Practice (wiki)
- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (wiki)
- Flow (wiki)
- Heron, M. & Belford, P. (2014). Ethics in Context: A Scandal in Academia. SIGCAS Comput. Soc., 44, 20--51. https://doi.org/10.1145/2656870.2656875
- Epstein, R. (1997). The case of the killer robot. IEEE Computer Society, . https://www.researchgate.net/publication/242362942_The_case_of_the_killer_robot
- Granovetter, M. (1973). The Strength of Weak Ties. American Journal of Sociology, 78(6), 1360--1380. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2776392
- Malcolm Gladwell website wiki BookDepository GoodReads
- Outliers: The story of success by Malcolm Gladwell website wiki BookDepository GoodReads
- Malory towers: First term: Book 1 by Enid Blyton BookDepository GoodReads
Find out more about Pauline Belford and their work
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