Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames

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MIT Press, Jun 22, 2007 - Computers - 450 pages
3 Reviews

An exploration of the way videogames mount arguments and make expressive statements about the world that analyzes their unique persuasive power in terms of their computational properties.

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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mrgan - LibraryThing

Bogost makes a lot of novel, useful points here: about videogames in general, and about them as a medium for conveying opinionated, directed, persuasive messages. It's another book of his that has ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

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

Contents

1 Procedural Rhetoric
1
Politics
65
2 Political Processes
67
3 Ideological Frames
99
4 Digital Democracy
121
Advertising
145
5 Advertising Logic
147
6 Licensing and Product Placement
173
Learning
231
8 Procedural Literacy
233
9 Values and Aspirations
261
10 Exercise
293
11 Purposes of Persuasion
317
Notes
341
Bibliography
401
Index
437

7 Advergames
199

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About the author (2007)

Bogost is both an academic researcher and videogame designer, and Persuasive Games reflects both theoretical and a game design goals.

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