Blog 9: TWD

The earliest form of persuasive rhetoric that I saw while playing The Walking Dead app was the representation of Lee as a convicted criminal. Although he was clearly convicted and sentenced to prison, the game is trying to represent him as a good man, who is likely wrongly convicted and given a sentence he didn’t deserve. The game doesn’t tell us whether or not he actually committed the crime, but if a player chooses to voice the kindest responses possible, the game portrays him in a positive light. Perhaps the game persuades us to help him by making him as genuine as possible to the other characters. In a way we are influenced to support him as we go through the game even though all we really know about him is that he is on his way to prison. My personal decision to speak kindly to the other characters, engage them in questions, and save people (like my efforts to save the little boy Duck) were driven by the persuasive rhetoric that made me want to help Lee obtain redemption in what is clearly going to be a very new life for him. The rule-based rhetoric that Bogost describes is a subconscious factor of video games. There is generally a relatively straightforward set of actions you need to take to “beat” or complete a video game. Whether we like these actions or not (perhaps we want Lee to be aggressive towards his counterparts and let them die) we know that we can only achieve success in the game if we complete them. This is particularly true with the The Walking Dead app. In this game the set of actions required to win are very finite and don’t involve much more interaction than making simply “rule-based decisions” in the vein of Bogost’s writing. Obviously, the spoken word, writing, images, and moving pictures of The Walking Dead are a factor in the persuasive rhetoric of the game, but it isn’t their presentation that causes us to be persuaded to act how the game requires us to act. No matter what is presented before me in the game, I am going to quickly decipher what sort of decisions it is looking for me to make and then go about acting as closely to these actions as possible. Therefore, the procedural rhetoric is based off the world of the game and the rules of that world, not the presentation of the characters or how they interact with one another. The criteria I listed above (spoken word, writing, etc.) are simply there for entertainment value, and do not add to the rhetorical nature of the game.

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