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The Rhetoric of Video Games

The Rhetoric of Video Games

The Rhetoric of Video Games

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Book Details:

Publisher:The Georgia Institute of Technology
Pages:23 pages
Size:1.14 MB
License:Pending review


Video games are models of real and imagined systems. We always play when we use video games, but the sort of play that we perform is not always the stuff of leisure. Rather, when we play, we explore the possibility space of a set of rules—we learn to understand and evaluate a game’s meaning. Video games make arguments about how social or cultural systems work in the world—or how they could work, or don’t work. Video games like Spore and Take Back Illinois make arguments about abstract, conceptual systems the way mechanical models make them about material ones. When we play video games, we can interpret these arguments and consider their place in our lives.

Video games are not mere trifles, artifacts created only to distract or to amuse. But they are also not automatically rich, sophisticated statements about the world around us. Video games have the power to make arguments, to persuade, to express ideas. But they do not do so inevitably. As we evolve our relationship with video games, one of the most important steps we can take is to learn to play them critically, to suss out the meaning they carry, both on and under the surface. To do this requires a fluency in procedurality, the core representational form of computing. But programming or using computers is not the sole answer to such a charge. Rather, we need to play video games in order to understand the possibility spaces their rules create, and then to explore those possibility spaces and accept, challenge, or reject them in our daily lives.



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