Socrates Jones: Pro Philosopher
In Socrates Jones: Pro Philosopher you play the role of Socrates Jones - an accountant from New York, with no prior skill or interest in philosophy, but whose daughter Ariadne is fascinated with it and John Stuart Mill's ideas in particular. After an unexpected series of events, including a case of mistaken identity, he and his daughter arrive at the realm of philosophers. Ariadne teaches Jones the ins-and-outs of proper philosophical debate, which he must utilize to return back to our world.
The game is set as a series of confrontations where you must find a flaw in your opponents arguments by using pure logic (somewhat similarly to Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney). You can hear out an short thesis about the nature of morality, divided into short statements. Each statement can be examined for clarifications, relevance and backing to determine its validity. Often statements would be amended, extended or entirely removed to clarify the entire thesis further. Once a statement is sufficiently clear it may be challenged by relevant prior statements. Correct debating will improve your Credibility meter and incorrect actions lower it. Once the meter is exhausted the game ends (but can be resumed from any point you've previously reached).
The game was designed, among other people, by a philosophy teacher and attempts to educate players about such great thinkers as Euthyphro, Protagoras, Thomas Hobbes, John Stuart Mill and Immanuel Kant with a mix of humor and seriousness.
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Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 3 ratings with 1 reviews)
This game is leans heavily on the educational (rather than the "game") side of an educational game. The story progression is linear and strict, with almost always one possible solution to each debate.
Which is good! This way you get to experience philosophy in a chronological order and see how certain notions, thoughts and ideas advance through time. While the game won't give you any true and full understanding of any one philosophy, nor will it provide with the full ramifications of a certain set of ideas, it will give a decent short version of several key Western philosophies. Moreover, since the game is styled around debates, you will not only learn about the strengths of those philosophies but also their weakness. Crucially, if you happen to agree with any of the philosophers presented you will be forced to examine your own fallacies in order to finish the game.
Ultimately, while the game is short it uses its gameplay to educate you not so much about the facts of one philosophy school or another, but rather about the philosophical attitude in itself (must not make Ding an sich joke) - which the constant, never ending drive for new knowledge and understanding through rigorous logical examination of your ideas and those of others.
The game boasts gentle and funny writing that never jars with the difficult topic that is explored in it.
Game-wise the graphics are nice and inoffensive enough that even a hater of manga (or Western-anime hybrids) style like myself enjoyed them (although they did make the father look almost as young as his daughter).
The instructions are easy to understand and the presence of Ariadne is very helpful when it comes to untangling (snicker) some of the more complex debates.
It really shows that the game was created by a Millsian philosopher. Your helpful Ariadne will not be as useful in your argument against John Steward Mill (since she is Millsian herself), which, together with the length and complexity of that encounter make the Mill debate the hardest in the game. Except it's not the last debate and isn't supposed to be the hardest! This means that the game hits its gameplay climax before its narrative climax making the ending slightly less satisfying than it should be.
Furthermore, the game is structured around the Socratic Method of debate making it appear as the main why of critical analysis, in effect ignoring its downsides and detracting from the game's educational quest to familiarize the player with different philosophical points of view. Many philosophical schools, particularly any that are relevant to current thinking and political ideologies are entirely ignored. Mill is the closest the game gets to that, which is a huge shame.
However, despite the above, for a small flash game Socrates Jones: Pro Philosopher is remarkably free from major flaws, with the possible exception of amateurish sound.
The Bottom Line
The game succeeds perfectly at teaching the very basics of critical inquiry and debate, teaching the player the main pillars of philosophy, all while being neither too simple to become boring, nor too hard to be inaccessible to younger players. It's main flaw is the lack of depth and representation, but it works quite well as a short, casual introduction into the philosophical world.
Browser · by Alex Z (1852) · 2019
|[SOLVED] How to add translator credits?||Alex Z (1852)||Mar 11th, 2015|
Behind the scenes
One of the game's developers, Andy Norman, teaches philosophy at Carnegie Mellon University. His model of the "reason-giving game" shaped Socrates Jones: Pro Philosopher.
- MobyGames ID: 68698
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Game added by Alex Z.
Game added October 10th, 2014. Last modified February 13th, 2023.