Video Games, Violence, and the Ethics of Fantasy | Dr. Christopher Bartel #37

Video Games, Violence, and the Ethics of Fantasy | Dr. Christopher Bartel #37

Video Games, Violence, and the Ethics of Fantasy | Dr. Christopher Bartel #37 

The conversation surrounding video games and violence has continued to be a polarizing topic, which makes Dr. Christopher Bartel's book a perfect addition to The Neutral Ground family. Bartel's book (Video Games, Violence, and the Ethics of Fantasy) takes a much-needed nuanced approach to the discussion. Instead of looking at the games, Bartel asks us to look at the players. Rather than saying this game promotes violence, Bartel asks the players to assert more agency in their gaming experiences--to be more aware of what the game potentially does to you and you alone. In this episode, we talk about how games test our ethics, how they blur the lines of social etiquette, and what parents can do to help make sure their children's gaming experiences are as healthy as possible. I also tell a rather personal story of my father taking me to Funcoland (remember those?) on September 13, 1993--also known as Mortal Monday--to purchase Mortal Kombat on the Sega Genesis. This was significant because it was one of the first games to receive a "mature" rating. I had worked all year cleaning up for a mechanic's shop to save up my money. Did my father let me buy it? Find out in the podcast. Don't forget to hit the subscribe button, the like button, and leave a kind comment to help support the podcast. 


Dr. Bartel's Book:

Faculty Page:


00:00 Introduction

01:38 Beginning of conversation (what is your background in gaming?)

04:35 This chapter is nostalgia for you old fighting game lovers

07:18 What prompted you to do a study on video games and violence?

12:55 My existential crisis with God of War 3

16:00 What did you think you were going to uncover through this study?

26:39 Are we enjoying the game or the violence? That is the question

28:25 The infamous World of Warcraft funeral raid. Ethical or not?

40:08 Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? We get a bit Bohemian Rhapsody here. 

46:20 Woo Hoo! I was right. It was The 6th Day. AI partners--the future or the end?

49:39 What makes you optimistic about the future of gaming, Metaverse, and beyond?

54:20 September 13, 1993--Mortal Monday. The day Mortal Kombat hit the consoles

59:27 We have to make this about the gamers and not the games

1:02:13 Where can we learn more about you and your works?

1:02:48 Closing


Main website:






RSS Feed:









Would you like to do your part to help bring civility back to our conversations? We need to get The Neutral Ground message in front of more people, and you can help with just a few keystrokes and some clicks of a mouse. 

1) Start by hitting the subscribe button and turning on notifications. 

2) Then, hit the like button.

3) Leave a thoughtful/uplifting comment for others to engage with. 

4) Watch another video on the channel.

5) Share the channel or a video with someone else on your social media accounts

6) Head over to my website at

Once on the website, you can actually go to the contact section and leave an audio comment for me to use on the podcast. 

7) You can also subscribe to the podcast on any one of the following platforms as well: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music,

I realize that you do not have to do any of this. Therefore, even f you do just one of those items listed, I am genuinely grateful. Try to keep one foot firmly planted on the Neutral Ground, and have a great day.

#videogames #ethics #neutralgroundpodcast

Contact Form

We'd love to hear from you! Please, complete the form below to get in touch.