- May 2019
Procedural Rhetoric. Bogost, I. In Persuasive games: the expressive power of videogames, pages 1–64. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2007.
"...the rhetoric of failure. Tragedy in games tends to find its procedural representation in this trope." (85)
"Political video games in the sense I have articulated above are characterized by procedural rhetorics that expose the logic of a political order, thereby opening a possibility for its support, interrogation, or disruption. Procedural rhetorics articulate the way political structures organize their daily practice; they describe the way a system “thinks” before it thinks about anything in particular." (90)
In thinking through This War of Mine, I'm interested in the notion that the game is designed to thwart winning, and indeed every choice the player makes bring them closer to survival or to morally bankrupt behavior or both. In many moments of the game's narrative, there are no good choices. In some play-throughs I have felt better allowing my characters to die than I have with exercising the power at my disposal, e.g. killing and robbing the old couple. And in a strange way, my characters seem to feel more comfortable with that choice, too. TWoM seems to fall somewhere in between Kabul Kaboom and traditional winnable games.