Politics/ideology Remix

Overview

Language, work, school, games—everything is bound by an ideological frame. They shape how and why we engage in particular political action. In this assignment, you will take an already published game a revise the rules to persuade an audience of a particular ideological or political position different than the original game espouses.

Rationale

Up to this point, we have only analyzed artifacts.  Now that you are experts at seeing the parts, I want you to build something new.

Revising/remixing a game serves a few primary learning outcomes. For one, it allows you to apply rhetorical knowledge, critical thinking, and versatile composing strategies in another medium. Thinking through an application, as a game or simulation of a practice, can help you think more deeply about how persuasion can work. The assignment also can reveal embedded ideologies in familiar games, to help you reflect on how dominant or unstated ideological practice teaches or persuades people without them recognizing it. The assignment also gets you to think about ways to engage an audience with an issue, to “play” out the implications of an ideology or political position.

As to the topic, we are looking at ideological frames.  Values, approaches, assumptions, expectations of ideologies permeate our lives whether we recognize them or not.  Whether you are an environmentalist, capitalist, progressive, conservative, atheist, Christian, or feminist, we lead political lives of competing and negotiated ideologies.  Here, I want you to consider building a set of game rules that perpetuate or critique an ideology.  You might consider some light research to help this argument.  By light research, I don’t mean lax research; instead, I mean I want you to spend the majority of your time designing and not researching.  In WRIT 1133, you will spend plenty of time researching.

Questions

What ideologies are perpetuated in most commercial games?  What ideologies are often not represented?  Why or why not?  What sorts of political games does Bogost discuss?  Are they effective at perpetuating or teaching about civic engagement and involvement?  How can games be used to stimulate engagement and debate?

Assignment

  1. You will first have to consider what ideology you would like to work with. I don’t really care as long as it is not derogatory towards a group or belief—it should be appropriate for an academic audience and classroom.  If you don’t know much about it, you might have to do some research on the beliefs, values, and politics of the ideology.  Or, consider political and civic involvement and how to better emphasize engagement in a democratic society.  If you are stumped, you can consider building upon one of the examples that Bogost discusses.
  2. Start looking at games you are familiar with. Here are rules for well known board games. What makes the game effective?  Now, begin by thinking of how to assemble those parts into a new game that perpetuates the political or ideological engagement that you intend.  This is really a notes stage since you cannot draft until you have consider the rhetorical situation.
  3. Consider a rhetorical situation. Sure, I am your actual audience, but I want you to consider an intended audience.  In other words, pro-public health care proponents might play your game about public health care, but really, you want those who are undecided or against public options for health care to play the game—they are who you are persuading.
  4. Begin drafting your Instructions. In your first draft, follow the format/order of the instructions in the original game. Then revise to better suit your message. You don’t have to use all the pieces of the game.
  5. Begin drafting your Design Vision. A Design Vision is simply a one page description of what the game will look like. You can design this however you want. If you intend to keep the look and feel of the game the same, then make sure this is clear in the instructions.
  6. Work on the visual design of your instructions. Use images, callouts, highlight boxes, grid design, and other features to make your instruction stand out
  7. I have high expectations for your Instructions and Design Vision. A poor game would be something akin to, “It’s just like Monopoly, but the spaces are college majors.” Think through the game, its narrative, its stages, and ideally, what it really is trying to get people to see.

Timeline

February 4– Hardcopy due in class for review and workshop

February 5 – email draft to richard.colby@du.edu by midnight

Requirements

  • Your combined Instructions and Design Vision should be between 2 and 5 pages.
  • It is worth 10 points.

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