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Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames Hardcover – June 22, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0262026147 ISBN-10: 0262026147

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (June 22, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262026147
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262026147
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #917,207 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Analyzing the power of video games to mount arguments and influence players, Ian Bogost does again what he always does so very well: thoroughly rethink and shake up a traditional academic field - rhetoric - while lucidly building the foundations of a new one - game studies."--James Paul Gee, Mary Lou Fulton Presidential Professor of Literacy Studies, Arizona State University



"Do not wait: start reading this stimulating book." -- Jan H.G. Klabbers, Game Studies



"Bogost's book provides a new lens -- procedural rhetoric -- to use in the analysis of games and an excellent survey of the history of games of this ilk." Steve Jacobs American Journal of Play



"Bogost creates and writes about serious games, seemingly simple diversions that deliver educational political and advertising content alongside entertainment. In Persuasive Games, he offers an academic but accessible introduction to their potential, and it is very meaty reading for anybody interested in where the interactive arts meet real-world topics." Scott Colbourne The Globe and The Mail



"Bogost's book provides a new lensprocedural rhetoric -- to use in the analysis of games and an excellent survey of the history of games of this ilk." Steve Jacobs American Journal of Play



"Whether we call them 'serious games', 'persuasive games', or simply 'video games', it is clear that there is much of rhetorical significance to mine from the electronic representations and interactions that have captivated such a large portion of the world's population. Ian Bogost's book is an excellent step towards understanding and appreciating these materials from an intellectual, critical, and humanistic perspective." Rudy McDaniel Literary and Linguistic Computing

About the Author

Ian Bogost is Ivan Allen College Distinguished Chair in Media Studies and Professor of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, a Founding Partner at Persuasive Games LLC, and the coauthor of Newsgames: Journalism at Play (MIT Press, 2010).

More About the Author

Dr. Ian Bogost is an award-winning designer and media philosopher whose work focuses on videogames and computational media. He is Ivan Allen College Distinguished Chair of Media Studies and Professor of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Founding Partner at Persuasive Games LLC. His research and writing considers videogames as an expressive medium, and his creative practice focuses on political games and artgames.

Bogost is author or co-author of Unit Operations: An Approach to Videogame Criticism, Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames, Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System, Newsgames: Journalism at Play, How To Do Things with Videogames, Alien Phenomenology, or What it's Like to Be a Thing, and 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10. He is a popular academic and industry speaker and considered an influential thinker and doer in both the game industry and research community.

Bogost's videogames about social and political issues cover topics as varied as airport security, consumer debt, disaffected workers, the petroleum industry, suburban errands, pandemic flu, and tort reform. His games have been played by millions of people and exhibited internationally at venues including the Telfair Museum of Art (Savannah), the Laboral Centro de Arte (Madrid), Fournos Centre for Digital Culture (Athens), Eyebeam Center (New York), Slamdance Guerilla Game Festival (Park City), the Israeli Center for Digital Art (Holon) and The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (Melbourne).

His recent independent games include Cow Clicker, a Facebook game send-up of Facebook games, and A Slow Year, a collection of videogame poems for Atari VCS, Windows, and Mac, and winner of the Vanguard and Virtuoso awards at the 2010 Indiecade Festival.

Bogost holds a Bachelors degree in Philosophy and Comparative Literature from the University of Southern California, and a Masters and Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from UCLA. He lives in Atlanta.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By M. Nelson on May 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Bogost's central insight is that games can encode playable representations of situations and even ideas, which supports a unique form of rhetoric, "procedural rhetoric". He argues that this can be (and has been, on occasion) used to make games into a expressive medium that goes far beyond entertainment, and in some ways even beyond other forms of expressive media.

Like other forms of rhetoric, procedural rhetoric is based on representations, but while visual or textual rhetoric merely shows the viewer or reader the representation, procedural rhetoric lets *you* engage with the representation, poking at it and interrogating it, and works its power through that interaction. Bogost covers a number of historical examples of games that make good use of procedural rhetoric to engage with issues ranging from tax avoidance to cold-war brinksmanship, as well as discussing where he thinks fruitful further development lies. On the latter point, he puts his money where his mouth is, so to speak, since he also owns a company that makes persuasive games, on issues ranging from presidential elections to food poisoning.

There are two basic audiences for this book. For those interested in how videogames can move beyond entertainment to other areas, Bogost presents a compelling vision of games as an expressive medium, and points to a wide range of things that can be done by thinking of games as playable representations. For media-studies scholars and rhetoricians, Bogost presents a strong case that procedural rhetoric is indeed rhetoric, but a new kind of rhetoric that existing discussion of film or written rhetoric doesn't quite account for.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ian J. Bellomy on January 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover
At the heart this book is how phenomena can be expressed, with a bias, though the simulation of said phenomena. Designed processes contain an idea about how their real life counterparts work. These assumptions (conscious or not) carry an implicit point of view analogous to traditional rhetoric. Bogost successfully situates this procedural rhetoric in a historical context that elucidates the nuances of how games and other media make arguments about the way the world works. The content is invaluable if you're interested in critically assessing or deconstructing games and other designed interactions.

Most of his examples were enlightening, particularly the ones concerning his game Dean for Iowa, which unintentionally painted political action as a process of human-wealth accumulation removed from any form of actual ideology. Less helpful was his characterization of the infamous escape game as a game that "operationalizes the sensations its services seek to countermand" and how it proceduralizes the "anxiety of office work". I'm far from convinced that any procedural argument here has anything more to do with mountain biking than it does with Klondike bars. This argument struck me as so odd that I'm convinced I misunderstood something.

Personally I found Bogost most interesting when providing details that contextualize his arguments; historical perspectives on rhetoric, educational philosophy, advertising, and even references to old school non-traditional physical input devices that I had never heard of (Joyboard anyone?). On the other hand, I feel like I'm still struggling to get a complete grasp on his concept of a "unit operation", based on the "count as one" concept of Alain Badiou (who I'm less than acquainted with).
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By E. Raskob on October 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As a University lecturer, I found this book very useful in showing the applications of Bogost's theories (from "Unit Operations" onwards). Some of the examples are better than others, but reading Bogost's work you have the sense that he really "gets it," as in he understands the game-changing (forgive the pun) new ideas behind the culture, audience, and especially the software that makes video games tick, and exactly why they are different from established media like cinema. This book is directly applicable to all sorts of modern media, and although the title has "Games" in it I would recommend this to any person with an interest in modern media theory.

I do agree with the other review that this book can be very thick at times, but my impression is that you are expected to re-read sentences more than once. The words seem to be carefully chosen and parsed for meaning, something I appreciate, even if it doesn't make the book a speedy reader.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. L. Hochschild on October 24, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had to purchase this book for an English class where we discuss how we can use videogames to produce fiction, and also how to produce a videogame that is fiction, as well as how the two relate. From what we have covered so far it has really sparked my interest to pursue other literature in this category. Ian Bogost does a great job putting his thoughts out there, and it's been a great read so far.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mary Jo Mathew on December 24, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ian Bogost is both an progressive thinker and eloquent writer, and he applies them both to videogames in a way that is both academic and page-turning. The book is divided into discrete sections to which the procedural logics of videogames can be applied. He gives illustrative examples of what he means - examples that will just as often expand your mind about what future games can be as expand your conception of some older classics.

The title of the book comes from the ability of this procedural logic to make implicit and explicit arguments to the player. Most people have a sense that it's the interactivity of videogames that makes them special, but Bogost takes it one step further by discussing "procedural rhetoric," a systemic form of persuasion. As you play such a game, the way its system responds to your input builds cause-effect relationships in your mind. These cause-effect relationships can easily make "claims" about how similar real-world systems work.

Overall - excellent book. Very thought provoking and inspiring to the would-be game maker.
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