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Can Academics use Cheat Codes to facilitate their Research?

Professor Aarseth on the use of cheating in games (for the purposes of conducting research):

"It is with great and increasing regret that one reads papers on game analysis where the author unashamedly admits that yes, I used a cheat code, or yes, I consulted a walk-through. In other fields this behavior seems impossible, at least to admit openly. Imagine a professor of renaissance studies admitting to have used a Cliff or York Notes guide? While it is understandable that academics with not too much time on their hands find it difficult to spend the hundreds of hours necessary to master a game, and therefore give in to the temptation to zip through a game (typically a quest game) using the walkthrough, or (even worse) using the no-clipping or god-mode cheats, it is hard to imagine excellence of research arising from such practices. Where is the respect for the game? And more importantly, how is the flavor of the game kept intact?

And yet, at times, most of us have done it."

-from Espen Aarseth's "Playing Research: Methodological appraoches to game analysis" (2003)

About the Author

PhD Candidate in Japan, researching Narrative in Games. Responds favorably to Thrash Metal, Karaoke, and Dungeons & Dragons.

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