Beyond button-pushing: a look at suasion in gameplay through player, memory, and the rhetoric of gameplay

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University of Alabama Libraries

This study explores the connection between the rhetorical canon of memory and gameplay as a rhetorical activity. Gameplay is discussed as a form of computer-mediated communication, or CMC, that is decidedly ethical. Gameplay is composed of an external memory system, lectio, and meditatio. This study includes implications for both rhetorical and coercive gameplay structures. This study conceptualizes gameplay through Barry Brummett's post-modern epistemology as an intersubjective rhetorical activity between game designers and players, where players experience an observational looping effect. This study uses Sonja K. Foss' method of Generative Criticism complemented by Giorgio Agamben's method of Archeology in order to study gameplay as a rhetorical construct. Four videogames, Super Mario Brothers 3, World of Warcraft, America's Army 3, and Grand Theft Auto IV: Liberty City are analyzed using the memoria concepts of lectio and meditatio discussed by Mary Carruthers. This study finds that gameplay is a form of rhetorical communication between game designers and players that is virtual and humanistic. Gameplay entails a phenomenologically situated player who is embodied in physical technology and a hermeneutically disclosed rule system. Meaning between players and game designers is established intersubjectively through the act of play

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