After writing my little post on DDR, I was wondering about the notion of cheating in games like DDR, eyetoy games and the like. The study of cheating in games has a solid place in Game Studies, and for the most part, I have agreed with both sides of the debate (although surely there are many other sides than two) – that cheating affects the integrity of the game, and of the play itself. In social games such as mmo’s, cheating damages the ‘social imagination’ of other players and creates and imbalance of play opportunities. The other side of that argument is that it is just a game, and therefore cheating (if remotely possible, is indeed “allowed” through its design) is not bad but just another way to play.
So, do the social games mentioned above fit into this argument on cheating? Is it only when the play is competitive that it matters? Or collective? …. Why do we care about cheating in games (besides the research angle)? If a group playing a particular game all agree to bend or alter the rules for the sake of entertainment, is it still “cheating”? And is there any difference between digital/video games and traditional social games (board games, cards etc.)?