E33 -

Video games have extensive compelling narratives that gives the player a degree of agency that is not present in watching movies or reading books.

Paul Matzko
Tech & Innovation Editor

Will Duffield is a research assistant at Cato’s First Amendment Project.

Aaron Ross Powell
Director and Editor

Aaron Ross Powell is Director and Editor of Lib​er​tar​i​an​ism​.org, a project of the Cato Institute. Lib​er​tar​i​an​ism​.org presents introductory material as well as new scholarship related to libertarian philosophy, theory, and history. He is also co‐​host of Libertarianism.org’s popular podcast, Free Thoughts. His writing has appeared in Liberty and The Cato Journal. He earned a JD from the University of Denver.

Every new entertainment medium—from the 17th century novel to 21st century video games—has had its share of scolds who panic about the social implications. Those moral panics are always misguided, but entertainment can indeed shape its consumers. This week, Aaron, Paul, and Will debate the ways that video games, by engaging players with compelling narratives and giving them a feeling of player agency, can change peoples’ beliefs and values. Along the way, they discuss what features would make a game ‘libertarian’ and what makes games fun.

What is player agency in video games? Are video games a vehicle for narrative stories? What makes video games valuable? Do video games inspire youth to act a certain way in real life? Is Minecraft a libertarian video game? What kind of video game player are you?

Further Reading: