Some of the entries in the Better Clemson APP are gamified. Why? Because games are fun! But don't forget, games can also be persuasive. One scholar who has studied how persuasion works in games is Georgia Tech scholar Ian Bogost. Here is Bogost on the Colbert Report. Don't you wish you had that kind of scholar cred?
In Persuasive Games, Bogost defines procedural rhetoric as the “practice of using process persuasively.”
To explain procedural rhetoric in other terms...when a player fails, they must learn from those failings and make different choices the next time the user finds themselves in similar situations. The procedural is a move away from the verbal and into the realm of symbolic action.
Bogost believes that the power of persuasive games is the discourse that emerges from the user, as interlocutors “engage, consider, and respond in turn, either via the same medium or a different one.” The idea of procedural rhetoric is also important in the sense that we can create a virtual environment where individuals might begin to “practice” the sort of enactive change that may be necessary in the actual. As Bogost explains, “If policy issues are complex systems that recombine and interrelate with one another according to smaller rules of interaction, then video games afford a new perspective on political issues, since they are especially effective at representing complex systems.”
One way that you can easily make a persuasive game and teach your students simple computer coding is through the use of programs like Twine. In Twine you can storyboard adventures that require the user to make certain decisions to achieve a desired outcome; kind of like a choose-your-own-adventure book.
How might you craft a message using procedural rhetoric as the theory and Twine as the tool for communicating your message?
Stephen Quigley is a PhD student in Clemson