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Play/Write: Digital Rhetoric, Writing, Games
Edited by Douglas Eyman and Andréa D. Davis
Electracy and Transmedia Studies
Edited by Jan Rune Holmevik and Cynthia Haynes
Information and Pricing
978-1-60235-731-0 (paperback, $34.00) 978-1-60235-732-7 (hardcover, $70.00); 978-1-60235-733-4 (Adobe eBook, $20). © 2016 by Parlor Press, with illustrations, notes, bibliography, and index. 388 pages.
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Play/Write: Digital Rhetoric, Writing Games presents a wide range of approaches to digital video games as sites of composition and rhetorical performance. The chapters in Play/Write examine writing—both textual and multimodal—and rhetorical activity that takes place within games as player-game and player-player interactions, as well as external sites of writing, such as player communities, corporate-supported transmedia storytelling, walkthroughs, cheats, and documentation. The final sections of Play/Write consider the writing of games and the use of games as platforms for rhetorical actions. Following a new materialist approach, the key concept that all of these approaches build upon is that games operate in rhetorical ecologies that include designers, players, texts, communities, and the procedures of the gameplay mechanics and the operations of the games themselves. Contributors include Eric Alexander, Phill Alexander, James J. Brown, Jr., Kym Buchanan, Richard Colby, Rebekah Shultz Colby, Sean Conrey, Andréa D. Davis, Jessica Masri Eberhard, Douglas Eyman, Grace Hagood, Steven Holmes, Brian Ladd, Jill Morris, Scott Nelson, Joshua Peery, David M. Sheridan, Lee Sherlock, Wendi Sierra, Brandes Stoddard, and Emily Stuemke.
Praise for Play/Write
“Despite what some players, creators, and critics may think or even hope, games do not exist in a cloister, separated from the rest of the media ecosystem. Play/Write: Digital Rhetoric, Writing, Games presents a welcome connection between games and rhetoric, through the lens of different types of writing. The result shows how we think to talk about games is as important as how we play them.” —Ian Bogost
“Playing with words and semiotics within rule systems to defined and purposeful ends has always been the domain of rhetoric and composition. Combine verbal play with digital play and you have the important contribution that Eyman and Davis present in Play/Write: Digital Rhetoric, Writing, Games. Gaming asks audiences to take up an active subjectivity as an audience, co-creating the unfolding of texts. These activities, then, provide audiences an excellent transition from consumers to producers, players to makers. And this is the strength of this collection. Eyman and Davis have brought together a dynamic group of scholars who prove that the skills of analysis and production in rhetoric and composition can add new insight into game studies, and likewise, the act of writing about games, writing for games, and composing in the multimedia spaces afforded by games can highlight agency, theory, and ethics in game studies writ large. A must have book for anyone considering computer games in the classroom.” —Jennifer deWinter
About the Editors
Douglas Eyman is an avid player of online role playing games and has previously published work on the digital ecologies and economies of video games. His most recent work, Digital Rhetoric: Theory, Method, Practice maps the growing field of digital rhetoric, including its relationship to the study of video games as platforms for the performance of writing and rhetoric. He is also the senior editor and publisher of Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy.
Andréa D. Davis, an aficionado and expert player of World of Warcraft, earned her PhD in digital and cultural rhetorics from Michigan State University. Andréa is co-editor of Metamorphosis: The Effects of Professional Development on Graduate Students and served as Kairos Praxis editor from 2006 to 2012
Contents and Contributors
1 "Introduction: Networks of Gaming and Writing" by Douglas Eyman
Part I: Game Rhetorics and Gaming Pedagogies (or, Writing About Games)
2 "Aleatory Invention and Glorious Trainwrecks' Accursed Share" by Steven Holmes
3 "'What Do You Mean None of My Choices Mattered?': Collaborative Composition and the Ethics of Ownership in Games—A Case Study of Mass Effect 3" by Jessica Masri Eberhard
4 "The Composing Practices and Rhetorical Acumen of MMORPG Players: What City of Heroes Means for Writing Instruction" by Phill Alexander
5 "Procedurality as Play: Movement in Games and Composition" by Grace Hagood
Part II: Game Ecologies and Networks (or, Writing Around Games)
6 "Who's That Walking on My Bridge? Transmedia Shifts and Trolling in Game Forums" by Richard Colby and Rebekah Shultz Colby
7 "Data vs. Play: The Digital Rhetorics of Theorycrafting" by Lee Sherlock
8 "Intellectual Property Pong: Three Classic Matches That Affect Your Play Today" by Scott Nelson
Part III: Games and/as Rhetorical Production (or, Writing In or Through Games)
9 "'Leeroy Jenkins!' What Computer Gamers Can Teach Us about Visual Arguments" by Andréa D. Davis
10 "Playing with Play: Machinima in the Classroom" by Wendi Sierra
11 "VoIP, Composition, and Membership: Constructing Working Identities through Collaborative Play" by Emily Stuemke
12 "Gaming Between Civic Knowledge and Civic Know-How: Direct Engagement and the Simulated City" by Sean Conrey
Part IV: Composing Games in Industry and Classroom Contexts (or, Writing Games)
13 "Narrative Realities and Alternate Zombies: A Student-Centered Alternate Reality Gam"e by Jill Morris
14 "Procedural Rhetoric, Proairesis, Game Design, and the Revaluing of Invention" by James J. Brown, Jr. and Eric Alexander
15 "Games and the Search for "Contextually Valid Settings" in the Writing Classroom" by David M. Sheridan and Kym Buchanan
16 "Programming, Pedagogy, Play" by Brian Ladd
17 "Writing for Games" by Brandes Stoddard
18 "Game Writing in Practice-MMORPG Quests" by Joshua Peery