Ian BogostEdit

Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames [2007]Edit

In Persuasive Games, Bogost uses principles of rhetoric to offer a mode of videogame criticism he dubs "procedural analysis". It is Bogost's principle that all games have a rhetorical character, not in their plot or representation, but in the expressiveness of their computational procedures, or their code (one could talk about procedures as guides or rules of narratives or representations, but I feel we have more useful ways of discussing those phenomenon).

A procedure "contains a series of computational instructions, encapsulated into a single command that can be called at any time during program execution" (12). Bogost connects this to rhetorical analysis by arguing that procedural tropes are commensurate with literary and artistic expression. If we may ask questions about how images persuade, so to can we consider how computational systems (not just their representational expressions) persuade. This is perhaps a more neutral question than asking how they are ideological, as it allows Bogost to perform readings that don't continually defer to invisible cultural forces.

The book is organized according to 3 rheotrical or persuasive intentions--politics, advertising and learning. Bogost employs a number of solid examples from both mainstream and indie gaming markets.