Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames

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MIT Press, Aug 13, 2010 - Games - 464 pages
3 Reviews
Videogames are an expressive medium, and a persuasive medium; they represent how real and imagined systems work, and they invite players to interact with those systems and form judgments about them. In this innovative analysis, Ian Bogost examines the way videogames mount arguments and influence players. Drawing on the 2,500-year history of rhetoric, the study of persuasive expression, Bogost analyzes rhetoric's unique function in software in general and videogames in particular. The field of media studies already analyzes visual rhetoric, the art of using imagery and visual representation persuasively. Bogost argues that videogames, thanks to their basic representational mode of procedurality (rule-based representations and interactions), open a new domain for persuasion; they realize a new form of rhetoric. Bogost calls this new form "procedural rhetoric," a type of rhetoric tied to the core affordances of computers: running processes and executing rule-based symbolic manipulation. He argues further that videogames have a unique persuasive power that goes beyond other forms of computational persuasion. Not only can videogames support existing social and cultural positions, but they can also disrupt and change these positions themselves, leading to potentially significant long-term social change. Bogost looks at three areas in which videogame persuasion has already taken form and shows considerable potential: politics, advertising, and learning.
 

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User Review  - gregorybrown - LibraryThing

I was surprised by the book's focus on procedural rhetoric, meaning persuasion where the game mechanics themselves are intimately tied to the message. Many games with a message use it as essentially a ... Read full review

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Yes, this is an academic book. It's not for everyone. It is videogame criticism and it is a great and important read if you're ready to talk about gaming as rhetoric.
Procedural rhetoric.
The author has a really interesting set of criteria for good gaming. He extends this into the realms of politics, advertising and education. He addresses how we can think about designing games that address these issues.
It's hard to say he's advocating any particular perspective other than learning about the world as a procedural rhetoric. Gaming elicits an understanding of procedural rhetoric, whereas visual media uses visual rhetoric and writing uses verbal rhetoric.
 

Contents

PREFACE
PROCEDURAL RHETORIC 1
POLITICAL PROCESSES 67
IDEOLOGICAL FRAMES 99
DIGITAL DEMOCRACY 121
11
Advertising 145
PLACEMENT
PROCEDURAL LITERACY 233
VALUES AND ASPIRATIONS 261
PURPOSES OF PERSUASION 317
NOTES 341
BIBLIOGRAPHY 401
INDEX 437
EXERCISE 293
Copyright

ADVERGAMES 199

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