This special issue of Well Played is the result of an open call for participation that encouraged its potential contributors to explore a third sense of well played. From the perspective of ethics and videogames and what it means to “play well”, or for a game to have been “well played.” For instance, are successful cheaters to be celebrated because they have subverted a game so skillfully that their opponents never became aware of the deception? Is this well played? Is it to play well to strive to win at all costs in the context of competitive games? In the context of sports, we often speak of sportsmanship – the consideration for one’s opponents and respect for the rules of a game. How do ideas of sportsmanship relate to “playing well”? How do these notions also apply to esports and competitive videogame play? And then, how do we consider those games that are not competitive or framed in the language of domination or completion. Can you play well casually? Also, what does this sense of well played say about the player and their values and who they are, or aspire to be, as people. How do, and should, these values reflect in the kinds of games they choose to play and how they go about playing them? Is it to play well when ones’ personal values are aligned with those that may be encoded in, or expressed by, a game? Do the games we choose to “play well” reflect on our character and integrity in any meaningful way? Are you a bad person for playing ultra-violent videogames well? Should you be celebrated for your skills and abilities to lie and deceive your opponents in a game of Poker despite the fact that we find lying reprehensible outside of a game? Is it virtuous to play well in these contexts? Do we demonstrate virtue by always striving to play well?
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