A group of Norwegian high school seniors sit in religious studies class, absorbed by a moral conundrum unfolding in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. Their teacher, Tobias Staaby, is screening a scene from the critically acclaimed video game, The Walking Dead, which depicts a knotty ethical dilemma confronting the group of rag-tag survivors: Supplies are running low and only four food items are left to ration, but there are 10 hungry mouths to feed. Who should eat? The grumpy old guy? The injured teen? The children? The leader?
Once the class reaches a consensus, they have to justify their choice with one of the concepts they’ve learned from moral philosophy. Was their decision guided by situational ethics, utilitarianism or consequentialism? This is one instance of how commercial video games are used at Nordahl Grieg Upper Secondary, a public high school located in the coastal city of Bergen in Norway.