The Killability of Fish in The Sims 3: Pets and Stardew Valley

Added by: David ten Cate


The article considers video games as procedural arguments on the killability and nonkillability of nonhuman animal species, especially marine animals. It focuses on what acts of violence are made possible in games, and against whom. It argues that shifting the critical perspective from killing to killability allows us to study the implicit violence found in ‘‘nonviolent’’ or ‘‘friendly’’ games that usually garner little controversy. Two games that both set out to avoid animal violence, and even promote animal care, are studied: Maxis’ The Sims 3: Pets (2011) and ConcernedApe’s Stardew Valley (2016). The study considers how these games construct a hierarchy of classes of animals that are either included in, or excluded from, the realm of moral concern. Thus, the games are seen as models of how similar hierarchies are created in the real world of so-called ‘‘meat culture’’. Most significantly, the study demonstrates how fish is a prime example of a class of animals that is removed from the realm of moral concern, even in supposedly ethical and animalfriendly games.

(Abstract taken from the article)

Van Ooijen, Erik. 2018. "The Killability of Fish in The Sims 3: Pets and Stardew Valley." Comput Game J 7: 173-180.