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Mechanics, Messages, Meta-Media: How Persuasive Games Persuade, and What They Persuade Us Of

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My talk at the Persuasive Gaming in Context Conference in Amsterdam, October 17, 2017.

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Mechanics, Messages, Meta-Media: How Persuasive Games Persuade, and What They Persuade Us Of

  1. 1. mechanics, messages, meta-media How Persuasive Games Persuade, and What They Persuade Us of Sebastian Deterding (@dingstweets) Digital Creativity Labs, University of York October 15, 2017
  2. 2. <1> introduction
  3. 3. “Procedural rhetoric is the practice of using processes persuasively …. Each unit operation in a procedural representation is a claim about how part of the system it represents does, should, or could function.” ian bogost, persuasive games, 2007, 28, 36
  4. 4. “Rules control the meaning of the game, and players, by following rules, create the meaning that is already predetermined by the designer(s). For the proceduralists, a game means what the rules mean” miguel sicart, against procedurality, 2011
  5. 5. “The disparity between the simulation and the player’s understanding of the source system it models creates a crisis in the player. I named this crisis simulation fever, a madness through which an interrogation of the rules that drive both systems begins.” ian bogost, persuasive games, 2007, 332
  6. 6. “Rather than producing assent, ... the game [Howard Dean for Iowa] produces deliberation, which implies neither immediate assent nor dissent. Like literature, poetry, and art, videogames cannot necessarily know their effects on individual players.” ian bogost, persuasive games, 2007, 329, 339
  7. 7. jfk reloaded, traffic games, 2004
  8. 8. How and why do different players come to different understandings of the same persuasive game? question
  9. 9. <2> case study
  10. 10. Blindly focusing on outcomes and following rules (as in gameplay) leads you to dehumanise and ignore the people your actions affect. the (meta-)mechanical message
  11. 11. game no. 1: train, brenda brathwaite, 2009
  12. 12. game no. 1: train, brenda brathwaite, 2009
  13. 13. audience responses
  14. 14. media responses
  15. 15. game no. 2: playing history 2: slave trade, serious games interactive, 2013
  16. 16. game no. 2: playing history 2: slave trade, serious games interactive, 2013
  17. 17. game no. 2: playing history 2: slave trade, serious games interactive, 2013
  18. 18. audience responses
  19. 19. audience responses
  20. 20. WHY? same rhetoric, opposite reaction
  21. 21. <3> genres, framings, and travelling meta-media
  22. 22. What is accepted and expected in … education for children artworks for adults genre framing shapes understanding entertainment games
  23. 23. critiques by audience
  24. 24. controversial topics and subject position: challenging but not unknown … in art
  25. 25. train: carefully framed as art for adults • Single physical copy • Presented at art galleries, universities • Always accompanied by author guiding follow-up debate
  26. 26. carefully considered & controlled visual framing
  27. 27. how train is visually framed
  28. 28. how train travelled through the media
  29. 29. how train travelled through the media
  30. 30. how train travelled through the media
  31. 31. how train travelled through the media
  32. 32. ph2: edugame for 8-14 year olds in school • Digital copies • Distributed through Danish schools • Accompanied by educational material for teachers
  33. 33. how ph2 is visually framed
  34. 34. released & announced on steam/twitter outside educational context
  35. 35. educational framing didn’t appear there
  36. 36. in-game framing didn’t appear in screenshot
  37. 37. how ph2 travelled through twitter & the media
  38. 38. how ph2 travelled through twitter & the media
  39. 39. how ph2 travelled through twitter & the media
  40. 40. how ph2 travelled through twitter & the media
  41. 41. how ph2 travelled through twitter & the media
  42. 42. how ph2 travelled through twitter & the media
  43. 43. <4> provocation
  44. 44. games work culturally as travelling meta-media
  45. 45. games travel culturally as meta-media
  46. 46. media as iconic tokens for ideas
  47. 47. demos
  48. 48. design fictions
  49. 49. big urban game, 2003
  50. 50. selling ideas.
  51. 51. selling themselves as a vehicle.
  52. 52. selling their creators and commissioners.
  53. 53. player game messagecreators
  54. 54. media public game messagecreators
  55. 55. summary 1. Genre and visual framing shape how audiences perceive intended authorial and reader stance toward a game. 2. Games circulate through culture as easily de- and re-framed meta-media, making this framing crucial. 3. Persuasive games may be more impactful as meta-media generating attention and credibility (for their message, their makers, themselves) than as individual player-game encounters.
  56. 56. sebastian@codingconduct.cc @dingstweets codingconduct.cc thank you.

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