Influences: Ian Bogost “persuasive games”

In 2007, Ian Bogost published a book called Persuasive Games. He 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 medium taking the form of playable systems rather than words or images.

He defends 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 those positions, leading to potentially significant long-term social change.

Videogames lack the cultural stature of ‘legitimate’ art forms because they are widely perceived to be trivial and meaningless. But Ian Bogost makes a powerful argument that they are capable of informing and persuading as well as entertaining; in short, that they possess the power of rhetoric.

On his article “Winning isn’t everything”, written by Bogost seven years later, he sounds dissappointed about how little progress the games industry has done.

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