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The Rhetoric of Videogames as
Embodied Practice

This book offers scholars in game studies and rhetoric and composition a much
needed theoretical lens for examining how habit, or hexis, creates a rhetorical
force in games.
—Rebekah Shultz Colby, University of Denver

The Rhetoric of Videogames as Embodied Practice points us to a massive blind
spot in the field of digital rhetoric—the mundane technologies that persuade us.
The habits that emerge from our engagement with such technologies have not yet
been a central concern to those studying rhetoric and digital games, and Holmes
provides us with an impressive theoretical toolkit to remedy that problem.
—James Brown, Rutgers University-Camden

In The Rhetoric of Videogames as Embodied Practice, Holmes provides an im-
portant, even transcendent perspective about how fields such as rhetoric, com-
position, and writing studies might study videogames in ways that go beyond
traditional approaches that have often limited how and what videogames are
—Sean Morey, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

The Rhetoric of Videogames as Embodied Practice offers a critical reassess-
ment of embodiment and materiality in rhetorical considerations of videogames.
Holmes argues that rhetorical and philosophical conceptions of “habit” offer a
critical resource for describing the interplay between thinking (writing and rhet-
oric) and embodiment. The book demonstrates how Aristotle’s understanding
of character (ethos), habit (hexis), and nature (phusis) can productively connect
rhetoric to what Holmes calls “procedural habits”: the ways in which rheto-
ric emerges from its interactions with the dynamic accumulation of conscious
and nonconscious embodied experiences that consequently give rise to mean-
ing, procedural subjectivity, control, and communicative agency both in digital
game design discourse and the activity of play.

Steve Holmes is an Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric at George ­Mason
University, USA. He has published several articles videogames, software code,
rhetorical theory, and digital rhetoric. Recent projects include a co-authored
book Rhetoric, Technology, and the Virtues (with Jared S. Colton) and an ed-
ited collection entitled Re-Programmable Rhetoric: Critical Making Theories
and Methods in Digital Rhetoric and Composition.

Routledge Studies in Rhetoric and Communication

For a full list of titles in this series, please visit

26 Sexual Rhetorics
Methods, Identities, Publics
Edited by Jonathan Alexander and Jacqueline Rhodes

27 Rhetorical Delivery and Digital Technologies
Networks, Affect, Electracy
Sean Morey

28 Rhetorics of Names and Naming
Edited by Star Medzerian Vanguri

29 Vernacular Christian Rhetoric and Civil Discourse
The Religious Creativity of Evangelical Student Writers
Jeffrey M. Ringer

30 The Aboutness of Writing Center Talk
A Corpus-Driven and Discourse Analysis
Jo Mackiewicz

31 Rhetorical Realism
Rhetoric, Ethics, and the Ontology of Things
Scot Barnett

32 American Political Discourse on China
Michelle Murray Yang

33 Professional Communication and Network Interaction
A Rhetorical and Ethical Approach
Heidi A. McKee and James E. Porter

34 The Rhetoric of Videogames as Embodied Practice
Procedural Habits
Steve Holmes

The Rhetoric of Videogames
as Embodied Practice
Procedural Habits

Steve Holmes

First published 2018
by Routledge
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and by Routledge
2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN
Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an
informa business
© 2018 Taylor & Francis
The right of Steve Holmes to be identified as author of this
work has been asserted by him in accordance with sections
77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted
or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic,
mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented,
including photocopying and recording, or in any information
storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from
the publishers.
Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be
trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for
identification and explanation without intent to infringe.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
CIP data has been applied for.

ISBN: 978-1-138-30327-0 (hbk)
ISBN: 978-0-203-73126-0 (ebk)

Typeset in Sabon
by codeMantra

Portions of Chapter 1 appeared in earlier versions in “Ethos,
Hexis, and the Case for Persuasive Technology,” Enculturation
23 (2016).
Portions of Chapter 5 appeared in earlier forms in “‘Can We
Name The Tools?’ Ontologies of Code, Speculative Techné and
Rhetorical Concealment,” Computational Culture 5 (2015).

Contents List of Figures vii Acknowledgments ix Introduction 1 Part 1 Theorizing Procedural Habits 31 1 Persuasive Technologies in the Rhetoric of Videogames 33 2 From Persuasive Technologies to Procedural Habits 64 Part 2 Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently 97 3 Affective Design and the Captivation of Memory in First-Person Shooter Videogames 99 4 Gamification and Suggestion Technologies (Kairos) Beyond Critique 136 5 Achieving Eudaimonia in Free-to-Play Social Media Games 167 6 The Habits of Highly Unsuccessful Nonhuman Computational Actors 200 7 The Materiality of Play as Public Rhetoric Pedagogy 229 Conclusion to Procedural Habits 254 Index 263 .

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5 Screenshots of weapon differences from Halo 2 and Halo 3 112 3.2 Screenshot of Sim City’s main play interface 88 3.List of Figures I.4 Screenshot of main play interface in Game of Thrones: Ascent 179 5.2 Screenshot of randomly spawning Hero icon in another Hoth Walker Assault Match in Battlefront 40 2.1 Screenshot from browser-based version of HabitRPG/ Habitica app 141 5.2 Screenshot from Candy Crush Saga on Facebook 174 5.3 Screenshot of Hero customization gallery in Overwatch 176 5.2 Screenshot from Mass Effect in which Commander Shephard (the protagonist) makes a narrative- altering decision 104 3.6 Screenshot of Cow Clicker play interface on Facebook 182 5.1 Screenshot of a live Walker Assault match (Imperial side) on the Ice Planet Hoth stage in the FPS game Star Wars: Battlefront 39 1.3 Screenshot from BioShock to illustrate Rapture’s visual style 106 3.8 Screenshot of a live Crucible PvP match in Capture mode in the Shores of Time stage 118 4.1 Screenshot of a live Counter-Strike: GO match 104 3.2 Screenshot from Anna Anthropy’s Dys4ia 7 1.1 Screenshot of “Raik” (Jan Rune Holmevik’s WoW avatar) in a Venture Guild Raid in 2011 73 2.4 Screenshots of weapon differences from Halo 2 and Halo 3 112 3.1 Screenshot from Farmville 2 on Facebook 169 5.7 Screenshot of open-world patrolling in Destiny 116 3.1 Screenshot from GluMobile’s social media game Kim Kardashian: Hollywood 4 I.5 Screenshot of multiple platforms in use in Game of Thrones: Ascent 180 5.6 Screenshot of live Call of Duty 5 match’s “Kill Streak” visual display 114 3.7 Screenshot of FreeRice’s trivia interface in web browser 188 .

1 Screenshot from FreeCiv’s main play interface 203 7.2 Screenshot of BEEFTANK customization from Jon Bois’s Breaking Madden Column 234 7. Jacqueline Brown.1 Screenshot of play interface for Madden 16 on Playstation 4 233 7.3 Personal photograph of a George Mason Writing and Rhetoric PhD student.viii  List of Figures 6.4 Screenshots from Undertale that illustrate the main game interface and the Fight or Mercy game mechanic 246 7. setting up a Makey Makey asparagus piano experiment 244 7.5 Screenshots from Undertale that illustrate the main game interface and the Fight or Mercy game mechanic 247 .

and therefore I am all the more grateful to the various individuals who helped me cultivate these necessary habits. Along related lines. and. This list also includes my appreciation for scholars in the field who worked through the early (and still. I also extend my appreciation to the outstanding editorial team at Routledge. Similarly. To the reviewer who gave me the advice about how to import Johnson-Eilola’s traditional/mundane division from hypertext to videog- ames as a conceptual framework for the book. A number of individuals also offered a great deal of implicit or indirect support for Procedural Habits. In a notable . I thank Rachael Lussos for her exacting copyediting and feedback on the final revision stages of this manuscript. I am thankful to Scot Barnett and Jared S. The current version of Procedural Habits is all the better for it. series editor Felisa Salvago-Keyes for her guidance in navigating reviewer feedback in route to reaching the publication stage. ongoing) resistance to the nonhuman in rhetoric to the point where I could build directly upon their writings. in many regards. Colton. and co-author a number of articles and a separate book on virtue ethics and rhetorical theory that have doubtlessly influenced the shape of my own thinking about this topic.Acknowledgments In writing a book about habit. from his work as an involved reader on my doctoral dissertation to his continuing guid- ance throughout the various stages of my academic career. whether it was the willingness to discuss material rhetorics with a PhD student at conferences over a beer or the kindness to answer half-formed Facebook Private Messages and emails with questions about actor-network theory. I am grateful to each of the anonymous review- ers of this manuscript who took the time to offer detailed and helpful feedback. develop. I became keenly aware of the sorts of scholarly dispositions that such a project requires. First and foremost. Scot has served as the great- est academic mentor that anyone could have asked for. specif- ically. In addition to providing detailed feedback through- out all stages of the book drafting process. his broader contributions to my scholarly habits were in his continual willingness to discuss. I offer a special “Thank you” for your thorough review of my first manuscript draft. While Jared also read through two early chapter drafts.

Todd May. Nathaniel A. Byron Hawk. I also want to acknowledge the support of my Writing and Rhetoric colleagues at George Mason (Douglas A. and Annette Vee similarly provided me with the opportunity to develop my Computational Culture article on soft- ware code. such as Cynthia Haynes (“Norandor”). Scott Sundvall. Casey Boyle. Kevin Brock. Prior to my position at George Mason University. John Tinnell. Cynthia and Jan first demonstrated to an otherwise clueless PhD student who just liked to play videogames that it was possible to write about them as well.x Acknowledgments example. John Gal- lagher. Katz. Diane Davis. Trish Fancher. In their “Serious Games” colloquium. Jimmy Butts. I thank my parents (John and Pat). and my siblings (Nate. the encouragement of students and faculty members from the Clemson University RCID PhD Program. Laurie Gries. Rivers. Jr. Finally.” Special issue editors James J. videogames. and Emily). Caddie Alford. Chris. Andrew Pilsch. Jan Rune Holme- vik (“Raik”). .” and my dissertation chair) similarly helped to develop my dispositional orientation toward rhetorical theory and videogames. Thomas Rickert’s footnote on “nudge” in Ambient Rhetoric that led me to discover BJ Fogg’s “persuasive technologies. Other helpful voices and conversations over the years came from Sean Morey. and countless others. Vitanza (“The Sophist. Eyman. in particular) as well as my PhD students (“shout out” to the spring 2015 Public Rhetorics seminar!) for their enthusiasm about material rhetorics as I worked through the theoretical ideas that eventually became Proce- dural Habits. Steven B. Collin Gifford Brooke. Sergio Figueiredo. Brown. Among all the other amazing things you did to sup- port me over the past eight years. Lauren Mitch- ell. and Victor J. and object-oriented rhetoric—an article that became an early version of Chapter 5 in this book. Along these lines. I am most grateful for your collective hexis of patience while I was working on this book project as an assis- tant professor during all past family vacations and holidays.

} citizen_base_mood function. by practice year on year—and see: At last this thing we practice our own nature is” Aristotle (quoting the poet Evenus).9.8. */  *happy = 0. Nicomachean Ethics . FreeCiv Ver. “Ethos comes./* No one is born happy. my friend. 1.

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1 Consider the following examples: • Jennifer deWinter. Moeller. de- velop personalized game narratives with the help of computer game toolsets.” While it is true that videogames were not featured in many past major works in digital rhetoric. it is no longer necessary to begin a research study about videogames by stating something along the lines of “rhetoric and composition researchers have not examined videogames. Ken S. analyze.”2 • Richard Colby describes how we can ask our students to draft tex- tual proposals for new persuasive games or videogames that use Ian Bogost’s idea of “procedural rhetoric. Ryan M. including gender.Introduction In Procedural Habits. Selfe and Gail E. McAllister.e.4 Rebekah Shultz Colby employs the massively multi- player online role-playing game (MMORPG) The World of ­Warcraft (WoW) to help her students learn how to conduct field research in a videogame as well as perform written analyses of its various literacy forms. Hawisher’s foundational edited collection on non-digital gaming literacies in Gaming Lives. and write about the medium.. journal special issues. a concept that describes how videogames can make effective arguments by modeling real-life interactive procedures)3 • Extending the ideas of Cynthia L. I describe the ways in which “habit” functions as an important concept for understanding rhetoric and writing practices in contemporary videogames. By now. write technical walk-throughs. the last few years have seen a dramatic increase in the number of articles. My decision to focus on this particular term has to do with an undeniably positive development. Daniel Griffin.” (i. commenting ­“students can read. and Judd Ethan Ruggillist offer a wide range of pedagogical sug- gestions for gaming-across-the-curriculum pedagogy. 5 • John Alberti extends a number of previous calls in our field for writ- ing teachers to use the social media gaming spaces that students are actually writing in as a bridge toward more formalized academic . study game artifacts as material objects within a critical cultural pedagogy. and edited collections on this topic. conference pre- sentations.

the more generalized and often industry-­facing use of game mechanics and signifiers in non-game contexts) as a way to reimagine a writing class. social-constructivist pedagogy that uses computer games to not only help students understand how reading and writing ‘plays out’ in the academic discourse communities in which they are in- volved but to help them come to terms with how reading and writing ‘plays out’ in the larger discourses of consumer culture. Johnson calls researchers’ attention to the ways in which “gamer-authors” use writing to engage one another in discus- sion online beyond the immediate activity of play.7 • Kevin Moberly argues that players’ forms of writing in the MMORPG WoW engage “social-political structures” that require a “critical.S. gaming involves complex use of multiple modes of writing and a need to develop a sense of how text and visuals interact. and even self-reflection engendered by a social networking site such as Facebook can be seen as useful and desirable when directed toward more officially sanc- tioned forms of discursive activity.”6 • Matthew S.”10 • While this term in no way characterizes all the various ways in which writing teachers have asked students to play or write in and about videogames. . and critical thinking.”8 • Drawing in part on James Paul Gee’s pedagogical understanding of gaming literacy from What Videogames Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy. “applying the fruitful principles of learning that good game designers have hit on. Alexander comments. Johndan Johnson-Eilola’s Nostalgic Angels lo- cated the origins of this bias in scholarly treatments of hypertext. Published in 1997.”9 Jonathan Alexander argues that writing teachers should envision complex computer games as central texts in the writing classroom. devotion.13 Rhetoric and composition researchers initially privileged literary. writing. such as offering badges or points to complete peer review for student writers in the classroom.11 a number of composition scholars have also engaged “gamification” (or. Indeed.2  Introduction writing. However. “…games are also textually rich and require quite a bit of reading. whether or not we use a game as a carrier of these principles. often revising the texts that they create in order to recruit new members as a form of public writing. arguing “the absorption. it is also possible to locate within this wide range of examples the con- tinuation of a sort of analytical bias that has characterized our field’s engagements with other emergent mediums in the past.12 This list confirms that rhetoric and composition scholars have offered many promising inroads for connecting our field’s teaching and re- searcher interests to videogames and non-digital games alike. at the most basic level.

or software code as a form of rhetoric on par with the traditional texts that we continue to produce and value. or at most. As a recent example. Many commercial videogame genres increasingly use sophisticated . he offered a compelling argument for rhetoric and composition researchers to broaden our con- ceptions of what a hypertext could be. Introduction  3 creative. his concern was that the unspoken preference for certain types of hypertexts revealed the existence of more entrenched disciplinary boundaries that actually prohibited the full consideration of hypertext as a rhetorical form. and the like). essays in the 2016 Technical Communication Quarterly special issue edited by Jennifer deWinter and Stephanie Vie explore game developer discourse. When we gamify our writing classrooms as a means of pursuing forms of traditional print-based writ- ing. By contrast. such as interface design or technical descrip- tions of game mechanics.” Johnson-Eilola main- tains. or Stuart Malthroupe and ignored the rhetor- ical function of pragmatic. and functional hypertexts like WordPerfect’s online Help menu. ­Adrienne Easen. and informal notes passed from person to person). “In this mapping. or theoretical hypertexts written by figures such as Michael Joyce. we find comparatively less scholarship that addresses the mundane ­elements of commercial videogames. whereas other disciplines work with ‘mundane’ texts (online documentation. While there are undoubtedly some exceptions within digital rhetoric scholarship more broadly speaking. technical communicators.16 By contrast.”15 In response to this bias. both by examining its mundane texts and by using this examination as means to reimagine digital writ- ing practices. “compositionists [continue to] think and work with ‘traditional’ texts (first-person essays. we ask students to compose personal narratives or argumentative essays about their play experiences.14 Johnson-Eilola was in no way claiming that literary. Even within technical communication scholarship on videogames. and finally. algorithms. creative. written online player reviews of videogames. databases. argumentative papers. it is not difficult to locate a familiar pattern. commercialized. the dis- course of professional game design textbooks. these mundane elements of videogames tend to remain the disciplinary realm of professional game designers. informal player-­ generated online documentation about the best practices for destructive play in the popular sandbox videogame Minecraft. Rather. there remains a clear preference for text and discourse. literature and literary criticism. computer scientists. and we ourselves or our writing stu- dents also draw on games studies criticism to produce written critiques of political economic structures that undergird play. If we compare Johnson-Eilola’s list of traditional texts to the schol- arly examples that I cited in the opening paragraph of this book. one compelling reason to attend to the mundane elements of videogames is because of the term that I focus on in this book: habit. and theoretical hypertexts were unwor- thy of study.

I could easily imagine a typical classroom assignment in which an instructor assigns her students to play this social media game and.4  Introduction interface design mechanisms to produce habits in ways that exceed a player’s conscious perception or creation of any textual or narrative con- tent on the screen.1).1  S creenshot from GluMobile’s social media game Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. Naturally. consider the free-to-play social media game Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. As an example. At the narrative level. producing a traditional text or examining the meaningful elements of the screen avoids addressing how Kim Kardashian employs sophisticated behavior-shaping game design elements to empty players’ wallets. . a player is required to tap a smartphone screen repeatedly to have a working-class female avatar fold clothes in a shift in a store clothing display.17 At the start of Kim Kardashian. In a rags-to-riches tale. “microtransactions” (in-game Figure I. Kim Kardashian fits into a game design category called a “time management game. which might require money to complete.” Its game mechanics are designed so that the time required to complete an in-game task exceeds a typical play session. asks each student to write an essay that demystifies or critiques the underlying gendered representations. games studies researcher Bea Malskey notes that some critics have complained that play in Kim Kardashian always occurs within the realm of a job (service-to-entertainment industry) that can abstract and mask the true frustrations and realities of women’s labor from representation (Figure I. Players are obligated to log in at prescheduled times to complete tasks. or players risk losing their previously incomplete tasks. the savior Kim Kardashian soon appears to transport the player’s avatar to Hollywood in order to become a celeb- rity.18 Given the presence of these themes. in turn. However.

and habit formation is important for our field because these elements are increasingly common in commercial videogame genres. the more implicit pressure builds to con- tinue the activity in order to avoid losing the amount of time and effort invested. sec- ond. 22 As an illustration.” which induce cognitively stressful play mo- ments to attempt to force players to purchase in-game aid after a habit of play has been carefully cultivated. like Fitbit and HabitRPG. game mechanics. his earlier treatment more generally describes how we form any sort of semi-durable disposition through the nonconscious influence of various social. minimizing the effects of failure. a sim- ilar rags-to-riches story.”19 The longer an individual keeps engaging in an activity. Kim Kardashian enables a player’s rapid progression by. these fragmentary and uncomplicated forms of play enabled by designers’ aims slowly become part of players’ daily habits. Their structure promoted continuous engage- ment without taxing attention to the point where a woman would ignore her baby or not be able to perform other household chores. I examine a number of complex habit-shaping mechanisms in other social media games like Candy Crush Saga. In the pages that follow. The French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu offers us one important term to describe these types of activities: habitus. Examining the rhetorical situation of social media games like Kim Kardashian therefore requires acknowl- edging the complex ways in which the games’ nonconscious in-game behavioral prompts become part of players’ daily habitus. and material structures. which . maximizing positive reinforcement and. Because time management game mechanisms require players to continually log back in to complete tasks. For comparison. King Digital Entertainment estimates that 70% of its Candy Crush Saga players never purchase in-game aid. By analogy. Like many other social media games. 23 Soap operas were geared toward women. 20 However. feminist visual studies researcher Aubrey Anable draws a comparison between social media games like Diner Dash. It is true that these sorts of mechanisms do not have a high rate of suc- cess. Chapter 5 maps an entire videogame genre of gamified habit-shaping apps. Introduction  5 purchase for real-world money) are available to speed along the process. these mundane interface design elements nevertheless habituate players’ embodied practices in other ways as well. Kim Kardashian’s designers rely upon what behavioral psychologists call a “loss aversion principle. 24 such as “coercive monetization techniques. many social media games on mobile and social media are increasingly designed to habituate players of any gender to filling the empty spaces in their lives. first. and television soap operas. Addressing the alignment of interface design. embodied. such as riding the subway while commuting from work with- out commanding their full attention. Once a habit of repeated play has been cultivated. 21 While habitus is often interpreted via Bourdieu’s later work as a narrow alignment of habits of taste with eco- nomic class.

Paralleling our preference for literary hypertexts two decades ago. or we might use these games to . we will not find much in current rhetoric and composition scholarship calling for students to design textual proposals for free-to-play social media games like Kim Kardashian or Candy Crush Saga on Facebook. For instance. players do not have to solve complex in-game puzzles. or Upper One Games’ Never Alone. such as the tendency to focus on text and language as an analytical object and teaching and research practice. 28 which is the first major videogame with a Native American protagonist (Figure I.2). Colby unsurprisingly asks his students to pro- duce textual proposals for persuasive games. We—and I count myself among this group—want our writing students to play vid- eogames like independent designer Anna Anthropy’s Dys4ia. players merely click a button to set a simulated process into motion. In most social media games. a genre of videogames that attempts to change players’ minds about political issues. and many others through game-like positive and negative behavioral reinforcement. our field’s approach to videogames is to a certain extent also marked by a default preference for serious. As my examples of videogame rhetoric scholarship above indicate. game designer discourses frequently figure free-to-play social media games as “mindless clicker games” to highlight their status as in- ferior or inauthentic species of videogames. such as Call of Duty 5 or Destiny. my aim in Procedural Habits is to ask and answer a simple question: How and in what way should we consider these mun- dane sorts of habit-shaping game mechanisms in heavily commercialized genres to be part of videogame rhetoric? As I demonstrate throughout this book. By contrast. artistic. the answer to this question depends entirely on where our field (i. many of us might be inclined to study the forms of writing that student writers compose alongside play. 27 which offers a compelling interactive autobiography of her gender transition. rhetoric and composition scholars) continues to draw both familiar and new boundaries between traditional and mundane texts in the context of videogames. diet. In one of my examples. or auditory stimuli in order to encourage repetitive play habits. Chapter 3 examines how popular first-person shooters. 25 increasingly utilize what games studies researcher James Ash calls “affective design” to amplify the sen- sory reception of visual.6  Introduction are grounded in contemporary behavioral psychology research to pro- duce habits of exercise. I also locate intricate habit-shaping mechanisms within more traditional videogame genres.. tactile. or indie videogames that explore progressive and sophisticated political claims and themes. In fact. some elements of the traditional/mundane bias that Johnson-Eilola describes for hypertext map perfectly onto our field’s engagement with videogames. 26 As a starting point. While free-to-play social media games and gamified habit-forming apps may offer explicit examples of the effort to use game mechanics to produce habits.e. Within these spaces.

these are assumptions that our field would do well to question. As I demonstrate throughout Procedural Habits. or persuasive games. often.2  S creenshot from Anna Anthropy’s Dys4ia. but we will seldom invite students to consider these as on par with artistic. 30 because they lack conven- tionally expressive features of more traditional videogames.” are dismissed as ­“exploitationware”29 or “barely games”. While I acknowledge throughout this book that we have good reasons to be wary of the rise of commercialized habit-shaping design mecha- nisms in contemporary videogames. indie. like “gamification. Other inferior genres of videogames. my concern is that the focus on cer- tain types of videogames as authentic and inauthentic forms of rhetoric corresponds—pace Johnson-Eilola’s observations two decades ago—to a set of explicit or tacit assumptions about how videogame rhetoric func- tions in the world. which have complex in-game obstacles that requires hours of game play and. Introduction  7 Figure I. no small degree of skill to successfully navigate. connect to other classroom practices. at stake is not merely the need to pay more attention to mundane habit-shaping .

there is persuasion. and coercive. By expressive. I refer to two general theoretical understandings: first. dis- course. is a clear example of this first trend. their criticisms implicitly or explicitly seek to immunize videogame rhetoric from embodiment. social-epistemic contexts. a great deal of rhetoric and writing scholarship on videogames stems from varia- tions of epistemic rhetoric and discursive/social construction. manipulative. Barry ­Brummett. ex- pressive can mean an explicit or tacit reduction of what is rhetorically salient to the content that a player consciously receives.”34 Drawing on Kenneth Burke’s claim. “where there is meaning. expressive also typically means an acknowledgment that embodiment or materiality has some sort of in- fluence on videogame rhetorics. more often than not. It is this second tendency that characterizes the vast majority of theories of rhetoric and writing that have been applied to videogames. As Chapter 1 explains. For example. McAllister’s “gamework”33 grounded in Kenneth Burke. and more commonly. Secondly. When scholars from a variety of different disciplinary backgrounds respond to the presence of habit-shaping de- sign elements in a wide variety of videogames. Gamified habit-shaping apps are “bio-political” forces of neoliberal subjectification. Under these expressive lenses. procedural habits tend to have significance only insofar as they can be connected to symbolic action. Bogost specifically claims that rhetoric must model a persuasive argument.31 Bogost’s “procedural rhetoric. but also to realize the unspoken or implicit theoretical assumptions about rhetoric and writing that inform these sorts of traditional/mundane biases. perceives. and Christopher A.”32 one of the major rhetoric paradigms our field has drawn upon. and (neo-Marxist) dialectics. language.37 videog- ames in general “allegorize” strategies of (Foucaultian-Deleuzian) late . mundane design ­elements and genres can certainly take on rhetorical significance. but that trying to produce the desired atti- tude or behavior shift through behavioral stimulation is non-rhetorical.”35 Paul directly seeks to extend Bogost’s procedural rhetoric.8  Introduction elements in commercialized genres. including Ken S. un- dergirding many criticisms of commercialized habit-forming design ele- ments or genres is a theoretical preference for cognitive forces or social contexts (expressive) over embodied and material ones (mundane). This second form of expressive theoretical preferences also parallels dominant trends in games studies scholarship from crit- ical theory and cultural studies perspectives. Paul specifically mentions free-to-play videogames as part of what can be rhetorical. or creates during play while figuring the world of material and embodied rhetorical forces as non-rhetorical. or linguistic forces.36 However. but what is rhetorically salient is how embodiment or materiality functions as effects of signification. by claiming that anything that is meaningful in a videogame—whether it makes a formal argument or not—is rhetorical. Paul’s an- alytical concept of “wordplay. and so- cial construction.

Missing within these sorts of approaches is the desire to view these habit-shaping mechanisms as something that may actually be able to show us something new or dif- ferent about videogame rhetoric.45 The players speed up their processing decisions by rotating zoids against the wall to ascertain the shape.44 we have known that first-time Tetris players benefit from an increased thickening of the cerebral cortex. repetitive resource-mining activities within the pop- ular MMORPG WoW is a strategy of disguising work as play to mold capitalist subjectivities.38 gamification is potentially “zombiefica- tion”. as Plato feared in his criticism of writing and memory stor- age (hypomnesis).39 and finally.42 Yet. at least since work of the psychologist Richard J. Haier in the 1990s. Clark argues that Tetris players “extend” their minds . researchers have recently concluded that playing Tetris for thirty minutes per day can reduce cravings to smoke ciga- rettes. the neurophi- losopher Andy Clark examines the ways in which expert Tetris players externalize memory functions (“epistemic acts”) into the space of play itself. Far from losing innate cognitive faculties. More recently. On the one hand. Consciously inculcating one habit (playing Tetris) can cre- ate nonconscious habits (eroding the desire to smoke) beyond any argu- mentative or epistemic aim of the videogame’s creators. One simple way to highlight the need to view habits as more than a mere discursive signifier is to ask a ba- sic question: Can a videogame form a habit even when a specific habit-­ shaping mechanism is absent? To answer this question. our field’s engagement with videogames is marked by a con- tinuation of certain features of Johnson-Eilola’s diagnosis of traditional/ mundane bias for hypertext as well as a newer theoretical privileging grounded in an expressive/mundane split. Introduction  9 capitalist control societies.43 Such an affective relation was in no way part of the original game design. On the other hand.40 Procedural Habits To sum up. Tetris also creates embodied affects beyond its designers’ conscious aims.41 While Tetris is an abstract puzzle game with no narrative content. let me offer two brief examples from one of the most well-known classic videogames: Tetris. Tetris can still be read epistemically for its content on the screen in Janet Murray’s suggestion that it allegorizes the following: …[the] perfect enactment of the overtasked lives of Americans in the 1990s—of the constant bombardment of tasks that demand our attention and that we must somehow fit into our overcrowded schedules and clear off our desks in order to make room for the next onslaught.

technology. ­Fundamentally. Especially in the second example. these examples indicate that there are embodied habits that form in videogames regardless of whether a specific habit-shaping mechanism is present. I contend that we will be able to start appreciating how these mundane design elements and genres can serve as important sites of rhetorical negotiation and transformation. habit’s role is not reducible to a specific design tech- nique alone. . As a result. and writing about play.47 By analogy. body. behavioral.. “birth of the reader”/“death of the author”) because its mode of interac- tion requires reader-centered hyperlink navigation.48 To accomplish this end. this view of habit as a fundamental way in which rhetorical beings take shape in the world helps us to begin to address commercial- ized and mundane forms of habit production in interface design as an important form of digital rhetoric in itself. humans are “natural born cyborgs” whose ability to think and reason is profoundly interconnected with technologies. and material habits that give rise to meaning and communicative agency in the activities of videogame design. and others will be formed by players’ conscious and nonconscious forms of creative adaptation within spaces of play. I have a final analogy to draw from our field’s previous engagements with hypertext. spaces. and environment. I sug- gest that these explicit habit-forming design elements in contemporary videogames foreground what is only ever a generalized mode of rhetor- ical embodiment produced through repetition for reading the rhetoric of any videogame.10  Introduction into the machine to gain processing power as a form of skillful coping (i. Scholars like ­Collin ­Gifford Brooke remind us that hypertext as a medium foregrounds a more generalized poststructuralist reading practice of any text (e. In this regard. habit formation) in a particular environment of play. and modes of embodiment that surround us. habit comprises a more fundamental way in which a player’s embodied rhetorical agency emerges through a series of com- plex feedback loops among mind.46 These two examples signal the need to articulate a more complex role for habit in discussions of videogame rhetoric. play.. Some procedural habits will be a result of design- ers’ instrumental aims. I argue that habit for- mation is a necessary consideration for videogame rhetoric regardless of whether a given videogame minimizes or foregrounds entirely its ef- forts to shape habits. Instead. beyond a discursive effect or a non-rhetorical form of manipulation. ­Importantly. For Clark. one method of overcoming the reemer- gence of the expressive/mundane bias is thereby to see in the rise of these mundane habit-shaping design elements and genres of commercialized videogames an invitation to more radically reimagine what videogame rhetoric means through habit.g.e. this book traces an idea that I call “proce- dural habits”: the specific forms of rhetoric that emerge from dynamic and locally situated repetitions of social. If we start theorizing videogame rhetorics through procedural habits.

are shaped more profoundly by procedural habits and. the claim that habits are important to any form of rhetoric—videogame. a habit) of revision rather than a post-­ inventional form of proofreading. like poor punctuation or failing to shape language for a particular audience. in player wikis as public writing. I suspect that few experienced writing teachers would disagree that good pedagogy involves the formation of various habits. offer a fundamentally different picture of rhetoric than the ones that we have applied to videogames thus far. such as the forms of writing that occur during or surrounding play (i. these considerations do not require that we set aside political relations and issues within the rhetoric of videogames. in turn. as Johnson observed). it is helpful to offer this context from the beginning. digital. it is helpful to offer a brief over- view of how habits are typically defined and theorized. readers will not once encounter the claim in Procedural Habits that we should invert the expressive/ mundane bias and that commercialized habit-shaping mechanisms or gamified habit-shaping interfaces are the most important factor in vid- eogame rhetoric. When pressed for a definition of habit. 50 Many of us spend a great deal of our teaching lives attempting to correct bad habits in student writers. However. Introduction  11 even in traditional videogame genres. Furthermore. To realize this different point of emphasis. A number of rhetoric and writing scholars have cited games studies researcher Miguel Sicart’s criticism of a paradigm called “proceduralism. these considerations help us better un- derstand how these issues emerge because of the ways in which rhetorical bodies can contract and maintain a wide variety of habits through play.e. while attempting to promote good habits like transference. or otherwise—hardly seems like a ground- breaking one. suggests that many of us would offer something along the lines of “a settled disposition or tendency to .e. it is my claim that players’ creative interactions. despite the fact that we intuitively grasp its importance. Claire Carlisle. Mechanistic Habits Versus Non-Mechanistic Habits To clarify one aspect at the outset. On the surface. such as Nancy Sommers’s pioneering argument that editing should be taught as an ongoing mode (i.. one of the few contemporary philosophers of habit.”49 which reduces meaning in a videogame to a design- er’s instrumental aims and the game mechanics while ignoring entirely how players’ creative negotiations also shape meaning during play (as Moberly observed in WoW in one of my opening examples). our field does not offer much in the way of explicit discussion of habit’s relationship to rhetoric and writing processes or digital technologies. Rather.. While I do not want to get too far into my argument in the introduction to this book. even outside the immediate context of videogame rhetoric scholarship. since the view of habit that I propose is not a common one. Rather.

it does not actually explain how habit relates to cognition. it leads to thoughtless repetition of the same action (me- chanical uniformity) and so become ridiculous … as a rule. Is the cultivation of a habitual disposition to act or think in a similar manner when confronted with a particular set of environmental cues equivalent to the cognitive reception or creation of rhetorical meaning in a videogame or an act of writing? Furthermore.” a term that I adapt from the negative metaphor em- ployed by the German enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant. moreover. Mechanistic Habits In the Western rhetorical and philosophical tradition. habit’s role is not often aligned with creative thought or rhetorical subjectivity. By defi- nition. is this willfully acquired habit different from how environ- mental forces prompt me to contract certain habits. and with respect to Carlisle’s definition. ­Angewohnheit) could only be: …[a] physical inner necessitation to continue behaving in the same way we have behaved because it detracts from our freedom of mind. particularly because. the mechanistic conception holds that habits can influence humans. acquired through repetition of the action in ques- tion. habits are non-rational and non-logical and form part of our self-incurred tutelage. despite its importance to everyday life. To offer a simpler summary. Kant argues that habit ­(Gewohnheit. there are two primary ways in which habits are defined that are relevant to my argument in this book: mechanistic and non-mechanistic. 53 Kantian habits designate the absence of thought and attention.52 One perception of habit is what I call “mechanistic. I can consciously choose to practice scales on the piano each day to gain fluency. habits are inherently negative obstacles that form part of our self-­incurred tutelage and therefore interfere with our ability to achieve intellectual freedom. an imitation of virtue … habit is the disease of repetition that threatens the freshness of thought and stifles the voice … of the categor- ical imperative. all hab- its are objectionable. Briefly summa- rized. Yet. a simulacrum of being. According to Catherine Malabou’s summary. does it matter which agent ­(human or nonhuman) inspires the mode of repetition? For example. Kant sees “in habit the epistemology of inauthenticity. but the only positive or good habits are . such as how my home office chair habituates me to contract a particular posture? It is imperative to develop answers to these questions. To em- ploy a bit of Kant’s dense philosophical terminology.”54 The transcendental cogito or our synthetic a priori reason pre-exists the habit.12  Introduction act in a particular way.”51 While this basic definition seems to capture many of the general features that we associate with a habit.

and Russel Durst’s They Say/I Say textbook. Outside the realm of videogame rhetoric. the cogito’s ideal function is to mini- mize or. Introduction  13 those that remain external from creative or rational thought. For most mechanistic conceptions of habit. Many of us would intuitively agree that habits of muscle memory or sensory-motor coordination may enable our writing students to type their essays on a laptop keyboard without pausing to locate each letter key. then it could not be considered an ethical practice. Or. eliminate habit’s influence on thinking in order to preserve the full range of cognitive thought and a de facto mind-body dualism.”56 Plato and Kant are by no means isolated examples among philosophers in the Western tradition who hold a negative view of habit. Calling an acquaintance a “creature of habit. Plato at one point draws a dismissive analogy between rhetoric and the way in which a baker makes bread through the rote habit of following the same recipe each time. many expressivists in composition studies would surely balk at the exclusive use of templates to guide the invention process in writing. Cathy Birkenstein. insofar as it relies upon habit versus true judgment or wisdom. the past few centuries have seen countless manifestations of Marcel Proust’s description of habit as a “heavy cur- tain” over thought. is seldom a phrase that is intended as a compliment. However. Indeed. in Kant’s case.58 As a result. perhaps more accurately stated. such as those featured in Gerald Graff.” for example. Jenny ­Edbauer Rice offers an apt appraisal of Plato’s purpose: “If rhetoric is mechanical. habit certainly would not readily be said to characterize these students’ creative rhetorical actions . for researchers who are interested in videogames. following the lead of Peter Elbow and Donald Murray. My routine of playing a single 20-­minute game of the popular basketball simulation game NBA2K16 on my P ­ layStation 4 console each time that I need to take mental break from writing could be a habit. “let not habit do violence to you in the empirical way of exercising an unseeing eye and a noisy ear and tongue. I suspect that a great deal of rhetoric and writing scholarship would lend its support to a de facto mechanistic position even if the term “habit” is not specifically invoked. we find a precedent for this opposition between thinking and habit in Parmenides’s fifth century BC warning.55 Rhetorical history also offers us many good rea- sons to be wary of any alignment between rhetoric and the mechanistic character of habit. In the Gorgias. mech- anistic habits might be said to lie in the non-rhetorical domain of a player’s hand-eye coordination that enables him or her to efficiently nav- igate a virtual world like Second Life.”57 More recently. As far back as fifth century BCE. Common phrases such as “she’s driving [a car] on autopilot” conjure up a fear of the mech- anistic power of habit to substitute itself for our conscious reflection or attention. habit’s role in relationship to thinking is simply not as important as the autonomous functioning of the cogito or the inner rational working of the mind.

or even existential forces that shape a great extent of who we are as beings who act in the world. creative. . and thinking within our various environments of dwelling. “When men change their hexein.”59 thereby ig- noring how “[t]he body is rhetorical—it communicates and thinks. who references this line from Empedocles in the Nicomachean Ethics. acting. Centuries after Aristotle.”62 While Ravaisson’s work was only r­ ecently translated into English. humans are lit- tle more than “bundles” of habits. Wright’s translation of a line from Empedocles. it is only one way to theorize habit’s role in cognition.14  Introduction as writers. a common thesis emerges: with- out the ability of habit to organize fluency of movement. his work exercises an influence on many ma- jor twentieth-century non-mechanistic treatments of habit. humans would be incapable of any intentional cognitive or embodied activity at all. thinking about mechanistic habits helps to demonstrate the ongoing relevance of Jay Timothy Dolmage’s claim in Disability Rhetorics that “we have erected a rhetorical tradition that … valorizes the split between the mental and the physical. for the American pragmatist philosopher William James. “Of Habit. many of us might locate habit’s role in the uncon- scious or recalcitrant ideological formations of patriarchy reproduced in videogames like the hypersexualized body of Lara Croft in the popular Tomb Raider videogame franchise that such students’ critical analyses might be designed to critique. Thus. the eighteenth-century French philoso- pher Felix Ravaisson opened his seminal essay. Heidegger. Similarly. argues that hexis is our crucial second nature that forms an embodied ethical disposition to guide phronesis across contingent rhetorical situations.” alternative approaches within and alongside the rhetorical tradition offer habit a fundamental role in cognition and human activity.R. even in an artist’s or creative writer’s life.” because they describe how habits operate as generative. Bergson. I call these alter- native approaches “non-mechanistic. For Henri Bergson. Following from M. At most. they change their thought. true creativity—a habit-free manner of thinking or acting in the world— occurred very rarely. The epistemic action of Tetris players or Tetris’s emergent property of curbing the impulse to smoke are simply not part of creative rhetorical invention except as a passive backdrop.” by citing ­A ristotle’s and then declaring that habit was nothing more and nothing less than a “law of being. such as Merleau-­Ponty.61 Aristotle. and Deleuze.”60 Non-Mechanistic Habits Although the mechanistic view of habit as an inherently negative ob- stacle to thought is pervasive throughout scholarly and non-expert dis- course. Across these various and by no means equivalent non-mechanistic approaches. To work with mind/body separations or social contexts/discourse is all too often to relegate any discussion of habit’s role in rhetoric to a de facto mechanism.

Why are non-mechanistic views of habit largely ignored? While ­Chapters 1 and 2 argue this point in detail. And yet. the feminist theorist Elizabeth Grosz links the oversight of habit as a creative force for acting in environments to the epistemic and discursive roots of much of twentieth-­century critical theory—exactly the theoretical paradigms we find in play in a great deal of rhetoric and composition scholarship. Grosz argues: Habit is a concept that has been difficult to address for much of what passes as postmodernism. Aristotle’s term hexis—state. Introduction  15 Under non-mechanistic approaches.”64 Despite the fact that most major Western philosophers and literary figures have offered a strong opinion on the role of habit. It is not only rhetoric and composition studies that avoid a non-mechanistic view of habit. Rather. For example. Summarizing the overlapping elements of Ravaisson’s. and rep- etition in cultural practices. rhetoric. and Deleuze’s respective work on habit. texts. one major reason lies in the reduction of embodiment or materiality to discourse. I offer this brief contrast between mechanistic and non-mechanistic approaches to habit because the latter are not common in rhetoric and composition studies. Instead. with some exceptions its ontological constitution is rarely investigated.63 Even among theorists who have more recently explored embodied or material rhetorics. stability. Bergson’s. which I identify at the roots of the expressive/mundane bias.” editors Tom Sparrow and Adam Hutchinson con- firm that mechanistic defaults have been the dominant trend: “[T]he explanatory power of habit is immense. A ­History of Habit. these ap- proaches ask instead how thought. habits form the fundamental embodied ground for rhetorical beings to act in the world. was published in only 2013. our habituated “second nature” that guides ethical reasoning—enjoys little scholarly currency at present in comparison to other Greek terms that have been applied or updated to digital rhetoric and writing practices. As a case in point. a real made up of forces that stimulate and trans- form living beings through their ability to accommodate routines. activities. habits do not constrain individu- als’ thoughts or actions. In the ­“Introduction.65 Non-mechanistic approaches to habit do not allow thought to unmoor itself in transcendence or the free play of signifiers. “habit” is not a term that has commanded any attention. projects that the emergence of life amidst the real requires. bodily comportment. disposition. for it grounds us firmly in a pre-­ representational real. or it is overshadowed by its physical description. habit as a theoretical concept has yet to command any great attention from twentieth-century scholars until very recently. and communication patterns amid . and writing are possible at all without the ability of habit to create duration. the first comprehensive edited collection on habit in the Western philosophical tradition.

memorization) to inform derivative but new compositions. habit remains specific to the particular and localized configurations of actors within players’ ecologies of play.71 The gymnasidion eventually became a training handbook known as the progymnasmata. often means human-centered or ­discursively oriented. Rhetoric students would begin by learning and com- posing fables (the first step in the sequence) and build their way ­toward the imitation and composition of more complex rhetorical genres. Rather than focus primarily on how social discourses organize players’ subjectivities through the ideologies that inform videogame design. For instance. while my primary inroad to habit will be through ­A ristotle and twentieth-century theorists of habit. such as the gymnasidion. Furthermore. this book explores a non-mechanistic approach to habit as the basis for what I call procedural habits: essen- tial and unavoidable embodied processes of repetition through which . Procedural habits as a concept aims to align rhetorical interests in videogames alongside existing work on vitalism. habits did not produce the human equivalents of rhetorical algo- rithms but rather sought to produce a rhetor who possessed the tools to speak persuasively on any topic. like Tetris curbing smoking. especially in videogame rhetorics.69 and ambient theories of rhetorical materialism. it is worth noting that we can find related precedents within the rhetorical tradition. like the epistemic action of expert Tetris players. I will demonstrate that habit shifts rhetorical embodiment and materialism more toward the agency of the environ- ments as well. procedural habits requires that we understand how a videogame can simultaneously shape a habit according to a narrow means-end designers’ goal and create emergent and expected effects and affects.66 ecocomposition. pro- cedural habits points us toward how videogames shape habits. rhetoric students worked through cycles of repetitions ­(imitation.72 Throughout the scaffolding of the ­progymnasmata. Hawhee notes a point of taxonomical crossover in classical Greek examples.70 We see that even as habit tends toward semi-durable patterns of repetition.68 iconographic circulation. we must trace and map the networks that habit-shaping efforts compose rather than assume that our discussion of procedural habits is attribut- able to some prior totalizing theoretical construct. Where rhetorical materi- alism. such as themes or encomiums. Simply put.16  Introduction an otherwise anonymous flux of Becoming. to raise the question of habit and rhetoric—digital or otherwise—is hardly a groundbreaking claim even if contemporary researchers have yet to take up this specific term (or virtue ethics/dispositional ethics) in great detail. To return to my definition then. which described both em- bodied activity (exercise) and certain rudimentary rhetorical exercises. Therefore. Here. Echoing interests of a growing number of rhet- oric and composition scholars in Bruno Latour’s actor-network theory and Jane Bennett’s new materialist thought.67 ecology.

Rather. and other non-mechanistic approaches to habit. we must continually make sure that our theoretical assumptions about rhetoric do not re-bracket hab- it’s role in favor of a rational or linguistic subject or a social context unmoored from the active co-constitution of embodiment and material contexts. Introduction  17 rhetorical selves emerge. the type of embodiment designated by procedural habits is not reducible to cognitive/embodied divisions. In contrast to prevailing approaches to videogame rhetoric. habitus. narrative. is a concept that allows us not to set aside traditional texts or expressive forms of rhetoric. na- ture and culture. human and nonhuman. but to use mun- dane texts to recast how traditional texts and expressive forms function rhetorically. “Those ‘other’ [mundane] texts. They are what enable rhetorical beings to create and act within the var- ious gaming assemblages that we dwell within. When we talk about traditional texts in videogames. that habit is a site of transformation or generative rhetorical practices. I believe that Procedural Habits offers insight for some of the broader ways in which rhetoric . Alongside my primary aim of contributing to the emerging conver- sation about videogames in rhetorical studies. and change through the various habits that inform the design and play of videogames. then we are actually free to question if a free-to-play social media game might not be more successful in promoting certain dispositional forms than logical. I aim to demonstrate that rhetoric and composition scholars can and should examine how these mundane design elements or videogame genres function to produce rhetorical habits. Procedural habits form the link that bridges the complex and co-constitutive relations between mind and body. habit. When we find ourselves with the desire to critique commercial habit-shaping apps or gamifica- tion as neoliberal tools of oppression. by using some of these theoretical conceptions of hexis. I suggest. or linguistic arguments in traditional videogames. I demonstrate that procedural habits constitute rhetor- ical ­beings’ pre-reflective anchor to the social and physical realities that produce play experiences. may in fact be our ways of leveraging broad social changes. One primary reason for undertaking this task in our field once more stems from one of Johnson-Eilola’s justifications from Nostalgic Angels. “the ones we allow to pass without critical attention because we think they are purely functional or lacking in imagination. my goal is not to recapture a sort of utilitar- ian approach to interface design or related mundane elements. and organic and inorganic. while also inserting ac- tual traces of these assemblages into how we constitute our rhetorical selves in order to act and communicate in the world around us. Rather. Procedural habits. form.”73 If we are able to theorize that habit in videogame rhetorics is something other than mindless mechanism or an object of critique. Importantly. it will be proce- dural habits that influence how players create and receive rhetorical meaning through their creation and reception.” he writes.

furniture. Fogg’s thinking is particularly useful because he functions as what I  call a “limit case” for teasing out the status of habit in a given theory of digital . pen. Part 2 (Chapters 3–7) offers case studies of mundane design elements and genres designed to illustrate how procedural habits can recast some of the analytical terms and applications of videogames. ink. process its information. win- dows. top to bottom). To make the turn toward procedural habits. learn these habits within particular ambient environments (“Equipment—in accordance with its ­equipmentality—­always is in terms of its belonging to other equipment: ink-stand. room”)74 in order to read a text. A ­ merican (able-bodied) readers must learn how to sit still while developing de- tailed eye and bodily movements in relationship to a set of standardized reading practices (left to right. all writ- ers. Tweets. hold a given thought in place so that it can be developed and expressed in some form (notes. I begin by considering how the neglect of the work of computer scientist BJ Fogg and the idea of a “persuasive technology” is symptomatic of the expressive/mundane bias. sentences. In Chapter 1. Neither process is innate. Fogg is unique among digital rhetoricians in that he unequivocally states his desire to extend rhetoric’s historic focus on verbal or textual argumentation to produce an emotional response or conscious change in belief to also include forms of nonconscious behavioral ­reinforcement monitored by computational algorithms and real-time feedback. doors. children have to be trained to sit still to learn how to read and write. table.18  Introduction and habit function through any medium—digital or non-digital. blotting pad. each involves the cultivation of multiple forms of habituated repetition. Furthermore. I offer a summary of how mechanism informs the ex- pressive/mundane bias in past and present videogame rhetoric scholar- ship. full- length essays). exploring habit’s role in one particular medium (videogames) can also generate new insights for the broader ways in which rhetoric and composition scholars understand the in- terconnected roles of embodiment and materiality in other rhetorical mediums. lamp. For example. Part 1 (Chapters 1 and 2) provides a theoretical introduction to the idea of procedural habits by establishing how mechanistic and non-­mechanistic views of habit function in the context of the expressive/mundane bias within rhetoric and composition scholarship on videogames. and. regardless of their cultural backgrounds. in turn. For these reasons. instead. habit formation in rhetoric is certainly not limited to the domain of habit-shaping algorithms in videogames. As ­A ristotle’s early treatment of hexis confirms. paper. Scope of the Book and Chapter Outline Procedural Habits comprises two parts: Part 1 (Theorizing Procedural Habits) and Part 2 (Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently). fragments.

. but must instead examine the deeper and more complex forms of rhetori- cal embodiments that affective design produces. disposition). ­Ravaisson. his insistence that habits are part of digital rhetoric illustrates that many of our discursively oriented and social-constructive theories of rhetoric have difficulty in discussing procedural habits as actual embodied and material forces that shape bodies and minds in nonconscious ways. Thus. In Part 2. launched videogames into popularity: first-person shooters. Chapter 4 explores a genre of videogames that some game designers do not even consider to be authentic videogames: gamified habit-shaping apps. tactile.). In Chapter 2. I perform a traditional texts approach to gami- fied habit-shaping apps to interrogate some of the expressive/mundane consequences of the common critical theory paradigms that our field. In Chapter 3. procedural habits directs us toward a novel mundane habit-­ shaping ­element: affective design. visual. state. I ­focus on how the canon of memory is produced through affective design by speak- ing to a more fundamental role for what Bergon called “ ­ habit-memory” in first-person shooters. In ­particular. as a lens to demonstrate how procedural habits requires us to fundamen- tally rethink the forms of materiality that influence. or an attempt to create ­pleasurable habits of play with creative nonconscious forms of positive reinforce- ment across multiple sensory inputs (auditory. or rejection but rather to extend Fogg’s thinking to encompass a more com- plex role in all forms of videogame rhetoric. Fogg offers rhetoric and composition schol- ars a starting place for theorizing rhetoric and habit in the context of videogames’ mundane design elements as well as an analytical lens for identifying how complex interface design mechanisms in contemporary videogames produce procedural habits. in many ways. While many of us might be tempted to look at the narrative or symbolic ­elements. I turn to case studies to illustrate various aspects of how habit-shaping design elements and genres function within the broader terrain of procedural habits in contemporary videogames. I offer a framework for a non-mechanistic conception of procedural habits in Aristotle’s ­discussions of ethos (habituation) and hexis (bodily comportment. I start with the traditional commercial videogame genre. Introduction  19 rhetoric. In this chapter. I use ­A ristotle alongside his eighteenth-century commentator. Although we see that our field has good reason to question ele- ments of Fogg’s work. Here. Ethos and hexis describe how conscious and nonconscious forms of embodied repetition produce the creative (non-mechanistic) ways in which rhetoric beings communicate and write in videogames. which. I suggest that the proper response to the specter of be- havior change and rhetoric in videogames is not critique. I suggest that we cannot read affective design just in functional terms. avoidance. etc. Here. from a discursive rhetorical materialism toward a vibrant world of nonhuman agents seen in Bennett’s new materialist philosophy.

” However. Bogost’s satirical videogame that mocks social media games while simultaneously functioning as one. I turn to the “mindless clicker” genre of social media games as a case study. To demonstrate this point. By contrast. my case study explores one extremely mundane element of videogames rhetoric: software code. In Chapter 6. I suggest that procedural habits requires us to cultivate (via Bennett’s new materialist philosophy) a hexis of enchantment to allow code to participate as an agent in shap- ing our procedural habits as well forming its own autonomous designs. happiness). In part. using Fogg’s work as a lens to connect these apps to broader social-political inter- ests in computationally monitored habit formation. designed to use behavioral reinforcement to help children eat a healthier breakfast through the lens of actor-network theory (ANT).20  Introduction and games studies more broadly. Fogg’s work helps us to locate and de- scribe several novel mundane habit-shaping elements like coercive mon- etization techniques in Candy Crush Saga. while teasing out how rhetoric and composition scholars and software studies scholars alike utilize the expressive/mundane binary even when they seek to describe this mundane element. Through this example. In Chapter 5. However. we can also ask if these apps create at times positive or productive effects in the world. I suggest that Cow Clicker. I offer a close reading of proce- dural habits in the gamified habit-shaping app. Rather than figuring gamified habit-shaping apps solely as objects of bio-power. I confirm it is important to view procedural habits through the lens of the full range of human and nonhuman relations that compose rhetor- ical reality in order to avoid the expressive/mundane binary and allow procedural habits to emerge as actual embodied and material forces in the world. I offer a close reading of proce- dural habits in the opensource videogame FreeCiv’s software code. I also suggest that we can nevertheless conceive of this mundane genre as an overlooked op- portunity for rhetorical invention. which is eudaimonia (flourishing. Once again. offers us what Gregory Ulmer calls a “heuretic” strat- egy of invention for persuading through multimodal invention beyond critique. . my larger goal in performing this reading is to sug- gest how social-epistemic variants of critique convert procedural hab- its into a prior totalizing theoretical construct (bio-power) while other theoretical paradigms like Latour’s actor-network theory can instead help us to trace a videogame’s actual empirical relations. employs to view videogame rhetoric. like Tim O’Reilly’s ­utopian ­“algorithmic regulation” or Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein’s “nudge. I argue that the mundane habit-shaping elements of these apps can be read as objects of critique through Foucaultian bio-power. Time to Eat. I treat Bogost’s discussion of Cow Clicker as a heuretic manifesto to consider a wider variety of gamified and social-media game like apps like FreeRice and Trash Tycoon that work not to model but to produce ethical habits through Aristotle’s end goal for ethical habits (hexis).

(Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.” Computers and Composition 25 (2008): 285. 10 Jonathan Alexander. Brown Jr. Student Literacies.” E-Learning 2. Hawisher. S. 8 Kevin Moberly. edited by Richard Colby. 134. and the Composition Classroom: Some Possibilities for Transformation. Matthew S. Notes 1 In examples such as Welch. Introduction  21 In closing. 5 Colby. such as James J. 1 (Sept. 6 John Alberti.S. 2009). Zappen. 9.” Computers and Composition 31 (2014): 43–45. “Gender and Gaming in a First-Year Writing computer-games-across-the-curriculum 3 Richard Colby. no. 3 (2008): 271. Drawing on SB Nation colum- nist Jon Bois’s Breaking Madden weblog series about satirical epideictic mods of the NFL football simulation game. Losh. Johnson. 1 (2005): 16. 2013).” in Rhetoric/Composition/Play Through Video Games: Reshaping Theory and Practice of Writing. Moeller. Gamification does not have to be specifically pedagog- ical (Delta’s Frequent Flyer program. Johnson. Matthew S. “The Game of Facebook and the End(s) of Writing Pedagogy. Selfe and Gail E. 123–138. ed. 11 As a point of clarification. and Judd Ethan Ruggill. See also Collin Gifford Brooke. The Makey Makey allows critical makers to plug in physical objects to a computer to make a material argument through a videogame’s interface in itself.” Computers and Composition 25. Rebekah Shultz. 7 Matthew S. many pedagogical uses of videogames or gam- ing in general by rhetoric and composition scholars have little to do with gamification per se. http://currents. ed. 2009): 36. McAllister. Chapter 7 examines some pedagogical implications of proce- dural habits. “Computer Games Across the Curriculum: A Critical Review of an Emerging Techno-Pedagogy. Ryan M.” Currents in Electronic Literacy (2010).” in Rhetoric/Composition/Play Through Video Games: Reshaping Theory and Practice of Writing. Gaming Lives in the Twenty-­ First Century: Literate Connections (New York: Palgrave Macmillan. “Learning by Design: Good Videogames as Learning Machines. “Composition. 2013).75 Finally. and Rebekah Schultz Colby (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 4 Cynthia L.. I suggest that modifying a videogame’s digital and physical interface helps teach student writers about how procedural habits shape who they are as players and writers. or Rice’s Digital Detroit. Lingua Fracta (New York: Hampton.utexas. Richard Colby. I examine how inviting student writers to play with mod- ding the procedural and material inputs of videogames through Makey Makey devices (reprogrammable circuit boards) can inform public rhet- oric and writing pedagogy. “Writing and Assessing Procedural Rhetoric in Student- produced Video Games. “Public Writing in Gaming Spaces. for example) and nor are all forms . Ken S. no. Daniel Griffin. I make a more direct comparison between procedural habits and overlapping work in rhetoric and composition studies on nonhuman agency and software. Johnson.cwrl. S. 9 James Paul Gee.’s Ethical Programs. videog- ames tend to serve as passing examples rather than central themes. “Gaming.” College Composition and Communication 61. and Rebekah Schultz Colby. no. 2007). and the Absence of Writing. 2 Jennifer deWinter. Computer Games.

CA: Activision. 2012). 13 Johndan Johnson-Eilola. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste (Cambridge. 17 Kim Kardashian: Hollywood (2014. “The word disposition seems particularly suited to express what is covered by the concept of habitus (defined as a system of dispositions). in Rhetoric/Composition/Play Through Video Games: Reshaping Theory and Practice of Writing. 2013). “The Top F2P Monetization Tricks. It expresses first the result of an organizing action. 23 Nicholas Fortugno. “Developing and Extending Gaming Pedagogy: Designing a Course as Game. 2014).com/category/ toolkit-gamification-game-mechanics-loss-aversion-design-game-mechanics 20 Ramin Shokrizade. WA: Bungie and Activision. . 11. and Deleuze. 2015). 15 Ibid. iOS Videogame. Bourdieu’s habitus is non-Cartesian because it is a pre-reflective or pre-­ conceptual embodied mastery with respect to action. Thomas Sparrow and Adam Hutchinson (New York: Lexington Books. 5. 1. ed.1). Richard Colby. 2008). www. videogame.php 21 Pierre Bourdieu.22  Introduction of gamification commensurate with Gee’s specific use of gaming literacies as a way to reimagine education. www. San Fransisco. videogame. Like Ravaisson. I am entirely indebted to the anonymous reviewer of my book manuscript who suggested this organiza- tional framework as a better inroad to this topic for rhetoric and composition scholarship. 293. 12 Justin Hodgson.” in A History of Habit: From A ­ ristotle to B ­ ourdieu. Echoing Aristotle’s no- tion of hexis. Diner Dash (2009. which Bourdieu picks up from Marcel Mauss. CA: Glu Mobile. habits are in the realm of Aristotle’s phronesis and intelligence rather than stimulus-response affects or “simple” behaviors or instincts. Bergson. 14 Ibid. propensity or inclination” (this quote from Bourdieu is found in Nick ­Crossley. 24 Candy Crush Saga (London: King Digital Entertainment. 26. 165–170. Jun. iOS videogame. http://thenewinquiry. 3 (2016): 151–210. accessed May 15. 22 Bourdieu specifically attributes his preference for the term “habitus” to avoid confusion with the pervasive mechanistic conceptions of habit employed by twentieth-century sociologists.igamify. CT: Greenwood Publishing Group. 1997). 3. Nostalgic Angels: Rearticulating Hypertext Writing. 1984). 2013). with a meaning close to that of words such as structure. 2015. a predisposition. 2013. For 19 “Game Mechanics: Loss Aversion.. Gaming literacies and rhetorics can in- volve many more expressive forms of cognitive interaction and development beyond the sorts of externalized positive and negative reinforcement that characterizes a great deal of gamification even if one of the goals of this book is to re-cast the terms through which cognition and behavior change are currently understood. “Pierre Bourdieu’s Habitus. Santa Monica.gamasutra. 45–62. 2017. Destiny (Bellueve. CA: PlayFirst. 2013. MA: Harvard University Shokrizade/20130626/194933/The_Top_F2P_Monetization_Tricks.. in particular. “Games in Technical Communica- tion. July 20. a habitual state (espe- cially of the body) and. 25 Call of Duty 5: World At War (Infinity Ward. 2015. San Francisco. 16 Jennifer deWinter and Stephanie Vie. 18 Bea Malskey. no. tendency. “Managing Hearts with Kim and Flo.” iGamify. (Westport. ed. Aug. and Rebekah Schultz Colby (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.” Gamasutra. Bourdieu writes.” Technical Communication Quarterly 25. Johnson. Matthew S. it also designates a way of being. S.13.” The New Inquiry.

however. AK: Upper One Games. Lingua Fracta: Toward a Rhetoric of New Media (New York: Hampton. 42 Janet H. Nov. London. Glenside. Game Work. ed. 1 (Winter 2009): 179–204. 2007). 46 Andy Clark. and the User. Paul. Wordplay and the Discourse of Videogames: Analyzing Words. 34 Christopher A. 9. 18. 2008). See Eugenie Shinkle. ix. Game Work: Language. vid- eogame. “Zombification? Gamification. no. MA: MIT. See McAllister. 2013). 4 4 Richard J.” Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds 6. 2 (2013): 116. and Computer Game Culture (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama. Galloway. and Vividness of Naturally Occuring Cravings. Natural-Born Cyborgs: Minds. videogame. 39 Steven Conway. Tetris (Honolulu. Hamlet on the Holodeck (New York: Free. 40 David Golumbia. Nate Garrelts (New York: McFarland. 2011). 29 Ian Bogost.” New Literary History 40. Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames (Cambridge. echoing the expressive/mundane bias. 41 Alexey Pajitno. 2017). “Regional Glucose Metabolic Changes After Learning a Complex Visuospatial/Motor Taks: A Positron Emission Tomographic Study.typepad. 1 (May 2014): 161–165. Siegel Jr. (Cambridge. 49 Miguel Sicart. www. October 31. Rhetoric of Motives (Berkeley: University of California Press. 8. 2003). 2006). 35 Kenneth Burke.” Body & Society 30 Russell Davies. Haier. he does not seek to use the production of physiological affect to rethink what videogame rhet- orics mean through embodiment in a more complete sense. Dys4ia (2012. 69. “Against Procedurality. Stephen Lottenberg. Andrew MacLachlan. 2007). Jackie Andrade. “Playful” (presentation. MA: Harvard University Press. 33 Ken S. and Monte S. Introduction  23 26 James Ash. no. Power. no. Technologies. 1 (2013): 28. http://russelldavies. Aug. http://game- studies. no.” Boundary 2 40.” in Digital Gameplay: Essays on the Nexus of Game and Gamer. Frequency.html 31 Also known as the “Cartesian-esque” in games studies. 45 Andy Clark. Eric Soder- ling. 52. 6. 24. 1968). “Playing Tetris ­Reduces the Strength. videogame. 32 Ian Bogost.. https://jayisgames. “Corporealist Ergo Sum: Affective Response in Digital Games. and Cognitive Extension (Oxford: Oxford University Press. HI: The Tetris Company. Protocol: How Control Exists After Decentralization.” Games Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Studies 11. 2005). McAllister. 28 Never Alone (Anchorage. 143–144. 27 Anna Anthropy. McKenzie Wark Gamer Theory (Cambridge. 47 Collin Gifford Brooke. 36 Paul.: Newsgrounds. “On Gamification and Other Forms of Play. Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment. This is Playful. Benjamin V. McAllister mentions the role of “physiological affect” in Game Work. and the Future of Human Intelligence (Oxford: Oxford University Press. Wordplay. 70–73.” Brain Research 570 (1992): 134. 2004). 3 (Dec. 38 Alexander R. and Jon May. 2009). 1997). 48 To be sure. . Motivation. Design. “Gamification is Bullshit. and Play (New York: Routledge. 1984). no.the atlantic. 2 (2014): 132. “Technologies of Captivation: Videogames and the Attunement of Affect. Penn. Action.” ­Appetite 76. 173. MA: MIT. 43 Jessica Skorka-Brown. “Games without Play. 2009). UK. Murray. 37 Patrick Jagoda. 2014). no.” The Atlantic.

“Rhetoric’s Mechanics: Retooling the Equipment of Writing Production. quoted in Debra Hawhee. and Us. “Ethical Dispositions: A Dis- course for Rhetoric and Composition.. 235. 58 Marcel Proust. Deleuze. Kasteley. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2012). 63 For one notable exception. Empedocles: The Extant Fragments (New York: Hackett ­Publishing Company. see John Duffy. Dobrin. 1–15. ed. James L. 65 Elizabeth A. Robert B. 2006). Disability Rhetoric (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press. 2014). I Say (New York: WW Norton.” In Search of Lost Time Vol. . 5 (New York: Modern Library. no. 289. 621. 4 (1980): 378–388. 2 (2008): 367. 59 Jay Timothy Dolmage. 2013). “Revision Strategies of Student Writers and Experienced Adult Writers. no. 62 Felix Ravaisson. 2008). Bergson. Grosz. 2008). Ambient Rhetoric: The Attunements of Rhetorical Being (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh. Wright. 3 (Feb. 54 Catherine Malabou. 53 Immanuel Kant. Preface to Of Habit. 57 Parmenides. 2014). vii. “Introduction. Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View. A. I also acknowledge that readings of Plato’s view on rhetoric have been productively complicated by several recent rereadings of his dialogues See. Clare Carlisle and Mark Sinclar (New York: Continuum. 5. 66 Byron Hawk. 3. 69 Laurie Gries. 1986). 42. Ethical Programs: Hospitality and the Rhetorics of Software (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Still Life With Rhetoric (Logan: Utah State University Press. and Russel Durst. ed. 2004).” RSQ 35. by Felix Ravaisson. 2015). 55 Gerald Graff. 2011): 420–449. Brown Jr. 2007).H. 67 Christian R. On Habit. “Rhetorical Agency as Emergent and Enacted. trans. 58. “The Captive/The Fugitive. ed. 39.. 2003). trans. (New York: Routledge. 60 Ibid. 70 Thomas Rickert.” JAC 34.” Body & Society 19 (2013): 218.” College Composition and Communication 60... 58. Coxon (Assen/ Maastricht: Van Gorcum. 2015). Of Habit. no. Jenny Edbauer. 2013). They Say. Ecocomposition: Theoretical and Pedagogical Approaches (New York: SUNY Press. “Habit Today: Ravaisson. Tom Sparrow and Adam Hutchinson (New York: Lexington Books. “Unframing Models of Public Deliberation: From Rhetorical Situation to Rhetorical Ecologies.” CCC 62. A Counter-History of Composition: Toward Methodologies of Complexity (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh.24  Introduction 50 Nancy Sommers. Cathy Birkenstein. ed. 25.” College Composition and Communication 31. Weisser and Sidney I. 1995). 2015). 56 Jenny Edbauer Rice. 1–2 (2014): 209–237. for example. Bodily Arts: Rhetoric and Athletics in Ancient Greece (Austin: University of Texas. The Rhetoric of Plato’s Republic: Democ- racy and the Philosophical Problem of Persuasion (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. by Clare Carlisle and Mark Sinclaire (London: Continuum. See also James J. 61 M. 52 For accuracy’s sake. 2006). 68 Marilyn Cooper. 51 Claire Carlisle. 64 Tom Sparrow and Adam Hutchinson. no. Louden and Manfed Kuehn (1798. 4 (2005): 5–24.R.” in A History of Habit: From Aristotle to Bourdieu. no. 70. See Ibid. The Fragments of Parmenides. many philosophers combine different aspects of these two opposing concepts.

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Felix. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. 9.” College Composition and Communication 60. “Against Procedurality. no. 2003. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company. Frequency.” In Search of Lost Time. 2017. Rice. Baltimore. Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health. “Playing Tetris Reduces the Strength. Vol. 2 (2008): 366–387. no.” In Digital Gameplay: Essays on the Nexus of Game and Gamer. Shokrizade. Gregory. MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. Miguel. 2005. New York: Modern Library. San Francisco.3 (2010): 21–27. “Process. Plato. Paratexts.” Appetite 76.php. 2007. 2011). Zeyl. McKenzie. 2008. and Jon May. 1–16. CA: Linden Lab. and Vividness of Naturally Occuring Cravings. 21–35. 2008. http://www.P. Emily Wagner. Thaler. no. 5.gamasutra. Wark. “ Philip. 2013. Sommers. Skorka-Brown. Ambient Rhetoric: The Attunements of Rhetorical Being. Heuretics: The logic of invention.28  Introduction Paul.” Games Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Studies 11. Accessed May 15. 2007. Rosedale.. Design. 2003. Ramin. Gamer Theory. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh. and Cass R. Jeff.. Christopher A. no. 1994. 2011. “It’s Time to Shokrizade/20130626/194933/The_Top_F2P_Monetization_Tricks. Cambridge. Manhattan. Unold.. Pollak. edited by Thom Sparrow and Adam Hutchinson. editors. 791–869. New York: Lexington Books. Accessed May 15. Claus Leth Gregersen and Allan Ove Kjeldbjerg. Rice. Aarhus. Den. Sparrow. New York: Continuum. Jessica. J. http://gamestudies.” Journal of Virtual Worlds Research 3. ———. 2014. Proust. Wealth. https://journals.” Gamasutra. “Revision Strategies of Student Writers and Experienced Adult Writers” College Composition and Communication 31. Of Habit. Sunstein. New Haven. 3 (Dec. FreeCiv. Rickert. Gaming Lives in the Twenty-­ First Century: Literate Connections. Richard H. 4 (1980): 378–388. NY: Guerilla Apps. New York: McFarland. 2017. Daniela Retelny.” Pervasive Computing. Accessed May 15. Cynthia L. Sahara Byrne. Social Media Videogame. no. 1995. 2013. Shinkle. 1 (May 2014): 161–165.” In A History of Habit: From Aristotle to Bourdieu. Wordplay and the Discourse of Videogames: Analyzing Words. Translated by Clare Carlisle and Mark Sinclar. John M. Jenny Edbauer. Second Life. Marcel. Videogame. “Introduction. and Play. 2013. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Sicart. “The Top F2P Monetization Tricks. Digital Detroit. and Texts: Rhetorical Analysis in Vir- tual Worlds. Peter. 2017. 1997. Ulmer. Videogame. edited by Nate Garrelts.tdl. Geri Gay. and Lee Humphreys. 1 (2010).php/jvwr/article/view/804. Trash Tycoon. June 26. CT: Yale University Press. Jackie Andrade. “The Captive/The Fugitive. Thomas. . Nancy. 2013. Translated by Donald J. Eugenie.” Plato: Complete Works. Cooper. and Happiness. Tom and Adam Hutchinson. New York: Routledge. Hawisher. “Corporealist Ergo Sum: Affective Response in Digital Games. “Rhetoric's Mechanics: Retooling the Equipment of Writ- ing Production. Ed. and Gail E. IEEE. MA: Harvard University Press. Ravaisson.

Empedocles: The Extant Fragments. 1995. Zappen. Wright. 1999. Dobrin. Introduction  29 Weisser. . M.R. Christian R. MA: MIT Press.. New York: SUNY Press. Welch. Kathleen. Cambridge. and a New Literacy. editors. 2012. James P. no. Ecocomposition: Theoretical and Pedagogical Approaches. and Sidney I. Electric Rhetoric: Classical Rhetoric. New York: Hackett Publishing Company. “Digital Rhetoric: Toward an Integrated Theory. Oralism.” Technical Communication Quarterly 14. 3 (2005): 319–325.

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most . this choice. The idea of persuasive technologies has even generated derivative concepts such as “prescriptive persuasion” across computer science. Notable boot camp attendees include founders of popular social media interfaces such as Instagram. 2 Digital Rhetoric: Theory. Eyman’s exhaustive catalogue of past and current work in digital rhet- oric.1 Persuasive Technologies in the Rhetoric of Videogames The first two chapters of this book (Part 1) offer an introduction to the concept of procedural habits. particularly in the context of videogame rhetorics. he largely fails to justify or explain why behavior change should be a form of rhetoric in the first place. while the remaining chapters (Part 2) apply this concept to case studies centered on habit-shaping elements of con- temporary videogames. Practice. makes little intuitive sense for several reasons. does not offer so much as a footnote to Fogg’s book Persuasive Technology. Along different lines. few in our field have engaged his claim that algorithmically prompted behavior change is rhetorical. and furthermore. Douglas A. Fogg currently sponsors an international conference on persuasive technologies with published con- ference proceedings and offers annual designer boot camps. and Friend. I begin my efforts to define proce- dural habits by considering the neglected work of the only contemporary digital rhetoric researcher who takes behavior change in mundane and commercialized interface design elements as a serious and important rhetorical force: computer scientist BJ Fogg and the idea of “persuasive technologies. In Chapter 1. Method. LikeALittle. and game design He does himself few favors by failing to engage with rhetoric and composition scholarship or even rhetorical history. there are good reasons why Fogg’s work is not considered beyond our field’s tendency to neglect interface design and computer sci- ence as part of rhetoric. While James P. Zappen’s pioneering essay.”1 At first glance.3 This oversight is worth exploring given the growing number of game and interface designers who have engaged (and criticized) Fogg’s think- ing. “Digital ­R hetoric: Toward an Integrated Theory.” mentions Fogg as a foundational figure in digital rhetoric alongside Barbara Warnick and Elizabeth Losh. mobile media.4 As I will acknowledge in my discussion of his work in the first section of this chapter.

and Gerald A. but Fogg also provokes us to wrestle with the degrees to which our field remains entrenched in cer- tain expressive rhetorical paradigms—all elements that procedural hab- its seeks to call into question by locating rhetoric with non-mechanistic forms of utilize persuasive technologies in their interface design to stimulate customers to make additional purchases at nonconscious levels. In Persuasive Technology. Not only does he require us to acknowledge the mundane habit-­ shaping design elements of videogames. In the second section of this chapter. which I will dis- cuss in detail below. My suggestion is that Fogg’s important—albeit unintentional—­ contribution to rhetoric and composition studies lies in the fact that he usefully functions as a limit case for rhetorical conceptions of videog- ames. I suggest here. such as the first-person shooter videogame Star Wars: Battlefront. While it is easy to locate explicit habit-­shaping mechanisms in free-to-play social media games. Fogg features a brief discussion of an education game HIV Roulette. and throughout this book. I locate how the weak defense that undergirds procedural . instead of addressing the meaningful narra- tive. as the implicit use of Fogg’s behavior change heuristics (The Behavior Wizard) can be found in habit-shaping mechanisms in a wide variety of con- temporary videogames. but he remains concerned primarily with helping companies such as Amazon. If we were to use persuasive technology as a lens for videogame rhetoric. The latter category includes seminal work on the rhetoric of videogames by Ken S. Christopher A. or interactive elements on the screen. McAllister. As a case in point. and nonconscious realm of behavioral affectivity. the preference for traditional texts and expres- sive rhetorics makes it difficult for our field to grant habit a similarly productive role in rhetoric by engaging two of the most dominant par- adigms of videogame rhetoric to date: Ian Bogost’s procedural rheto- ric and social-­epistemic rhetoric. if for no other reason than the fact that his work is aimed primarily at non-videogame technologies. non-symbolic. Paul.34  Theorizing Procedural Habits games studies scholars would not view Fogg as a legitimate contributor. 5 which does not have habit-production as an explicit design theme in the same sense as Candy Crush Saga (CCS). procedural and social epistemic rhetoric correspond respectively to expressive definitions of rhetorics through what Richard Lanham calls the “weak” and “strong” defenses of rhetoric. visual. as well as work in rhetoric and composition studies that is social-epistemic in all but name. In my read- ing. Fogg’s work would address the ways in which players’ habits of play are shaped through a designer-driven. Voorhees. At a very basic level. Fogg’s work also alerts us to the presence of basic habit-shaping mechanisms in more conven- tional videogames. who are more in dialogue with games studies and communication scholarship. that a literal use of Fogg’s work offers a great deal of descriptive value.

In the fourth section of this chapter. it is necessary to expand his conception of rhetoric and habit. this claim does not mean that we can or should accept all elements of Fogg’s thinking. both thinkers—from related but different orientations—help us to see that the “social” has always been produced by the interconnected agencies of human and nonhuman actors. I demonstrate that the use of social-epistemic rhetoric rejects a rational Cartesian-subject to locate rhetoric in social contexts rather than rational subjects. While the strong defense locates rhetoric in social contexts separated from embod- ied and material networks. He forces us to recognize our field’s preferences for traditional texts and expressive rhetorical forms by claiming that habit formation through mundane interface design elements should be “expressive” (i. However.e. rhetor- ical) in itself and not just expressive when it is an effect of discourse. These approaches do in fact allow us to include mundane design elements or commercialized videogame texts as rhe- torically expressive. which was designed as an app to encourage Britons to spend locally. Persuasive Technologies in the Rhetoric of Videogames  35 rhetoric specifically figures habits as a priori coercive or manipulative through a Platonic conception of the self (pre-fixed. any discussion of procedural habits will tend toward a discursive object or an effect of signification rather than encourage us to examine proce- dural habits as non-purely-discursive or social physiological forces that produce and shape rhetorical beings in a more fundamental and creative sense. Fogg importantly offers us a starting place for using mundane . rational). Barter. I use these related but distinct theoretical frameworks to reiterate that Fogg’s primary usefulness is as a limit case for videogame rhetoric. working through a particular version of the strong defense. However. in order to demonstrate how a cognitive/embodied split carries a number of consequences for how we theorize videogame rheto- ric in operation through the weak defense. social-epistemic approaches to rhetoric nevertheless retain mechanism by default since these specific invocations of the strong defense turn upon a dualist nature/culture split. While my subsequent chapters will demon- strate that his work functions quite well as a descriptive tool for locating and examining habit-shaping interface design elements in videogames. In part. In the third section.. This is a view that I find Bogost and other game designers using to unequivocally reject Fogg’s persuasive technologies. I suggest that despite these and other problems that I will discuss below. In this regard. Lanham’s strong and weak defense enables me to identify how the theoretical underpinnings of procedural and epistemic rhetoric fail to adequately theorize habit’s role in videogame rhetoric beyond mechanism. As a result. I specifically discuss a persuasive game. Neverthe- less. I introduce two of the theoretical paradigms that I use throughout Procedural Habits to highlight some of the limitations of the strong and weak defense of rhetoric: Latour’s actor-network theory and Bennett’s new materialist thinking.

36  Theorizing Procedural Habits habit-shaping elements to re-envision what videogame rhetoric means through developing—­and not avoiding—alternative views of habit’s role in rhetoric.6 Later in Persuasive Technology. Fogg’s largest problem is that he simply fails to use his insight that habit can be part of digital rhetoric to reach a richer or more complex view of how habits more broadly function in constitu- tion of digital rhetoric. Fogg fully defines persuasive technol- ogy “as any interactive computing system designed to change people’s attitudes or behaviors.” “­ instrumental learning. Fogg coined the term “captology. which is why in Chapter 2 I argue it necessary to articulate the idea of procedural habits. He cites basic feedback loop activ- ities designed to provide positive reinforcement. but social and behavioral psychologists who.” a portman- teau for “computers as persuasive technologies” in his doctoral thesis. Examining Fogg’s Persuasive Technologies as a Form of Videogame Rhetoric Given the comparative lack of attention to persuasive technology in rhe- torical studies. His nearly 300-page book ­contains only a half-page sidebar on the history of rhetoric.F.10 Fogg is very straightforward in his belief that persuasive technologies are a central part of the legacy of updating “behaviorism. While the Telecyle invokes brainwashing scenes from Stanley Kubrick’s film A Clockwork Orange. the screen shifted to a clear resolution.” in which a user pedals a computer-­ monitored exercise bike connected to a blurry television screen. Fogg references one of his students’ projects called the “Telecycle. In the end. have continued to advance the “formal study of persuasion” in the twentieth-century. Receiving a clearer picture was the stimulus to produce the desired behavior change.11 As an example.13 Fogg’s uniqueness as a digital rhetoric researcher lies in his insistence that habit production is the single most important factor of rhetoric. Skinner’s classi- cal conditioning.12 When a user reached a target speed on the exercise bike.” or operant conditioning popularized by B.8 and it demonstrates no engagement with twentieth-century rhetorical studies.9 Fogg’s novelty lies in his unexplained leap from a philosophical view of rhetoric to- ward nonconscious behavioral reinforcement. he main- tains. It is not Kenneth Burke or Lloyd Bitzer. . unpacking Fogg’s understanding of rhetoric requires no small degree of effort for the reader.”7 Despite this relatively simple and expansive definition. such as a business send- ing a “thank you” note to a customer in the hope of having the customer repeat the behavior in the future. a brief introduction to how Fogg’s thinking can be applied to videogames is useful. Fogg claims that his use of behaviorism broadly encompasses any general use of em- ploying positive or negative reinforcements to shape complex behaviors or to increase instances of a behavior.

the Behavior Grid is the digital design equiv- alent of the medieval progymnasmata—literally “before ­exercises”— which he seeks to use to prepare digital rhetors for behavioral training through interface design rather than speech making. Fogg maintains.” wherein a computational actor prompts a behavioral trigger at the opportune mo- ment. buying a book online is a clear example of BlueDotBehavior because users already know how to purchase books. while Fogg claims that a computer will unfailingly send the same alert prompt to quit smoking regardless of the given mental state of the user. Tailoring. kairos. “decrease behav- ior intensity”) to help designers match target behaviors with solutions. also offers fifteen concrete strategies for identifying the type of behavior to change (“do new behavior”.14 The successful realization of kairos must take into account a user’s embodied position within spaces of habitual use and how a rhetor can take advantage of these existing habits in order to influence behav- ior. such as weekly meetings with a medical professional.17 Each behavior point has its own unique psychology principle behind it. If a smoker is trying to quit smoking cigarettes.” through master categories of Surveillance. To offer one example. The PTL’s heuristics function like the digital equivalent of how one might teach rhetors classical rhetorical figures. Fogg goes so far as to claim that real-time monitoring ­offers kairotic advantages over human interlocutors. such as synecdoche or litotes.” can take the form of a “suggestion technology. The “Fogg Behavior Grid.”15 One of Fogg’s other intriguing contributions lies in his willingness to develop computer-specific techne for rhetoricians who are interested in behavior change through interface design. Indeed. Eventually. A human may read negative facial or bodily language and abandon a given line of book prompt feature.16 He further systemizes these categories on the S­ tanford Persuasive Technology Lab’s (PTL’s) website. Self-Monitoring. while substituting “behavior change” for “argumentation” or “poetic effect. or the “opportune moment. Reduction. Fogg advises a designer to use BlueDot Behavior to persuade a user to perform an existing or familiar habit one time. Persuasive Technology con- sists of countless taxonomies for classifying various behavior change techne in the “Fogg Behavior Model. everyone has a moment of weakness when it’s easier to comply than to resist. Fogg maintains that an interactive program can better track successes and failures with respect to broader demo- graphics of the smoker’s age and cultural background to generate in- teractive scenarios or appropriate encouragement that could then help the smoker quit more easily than with a traditional approach. Using the Fogg Behavior Model.” for example. Fogg argues that BlueDot Behavior requires three elements: (1) a trigger: a prompt to do .18 To revisit Fogg’s Amazon. Persuasive Technologies in the Rhetoric of Videogames  37 For example.” In a related sense. in any persuasive technology. Tunneling. Computers are also more persistent than human rhetors. and Conditioning. “People get tired of saying no.

of course. The visual re- alism arguably causes pain or.38  Theorizing Procedural Habits the behavior. they are utilizing Foggian forms of rhetoric. 22 Fogg is not in- correct to observe that this medium is inseparable from some degree of behavioral reinforcement. with a bit of narrative and plot layered over the top.19 A user’s motivation and ability must precede the trigger. When I was teaching English one summer in Thailand in 2006. (3) ability: the required action for the trigger must be an action that a user is already capable of examining. BlackPath Behavior promises to stop a behavior like smoking a single time by removing the trigger. functions like a persuasive technology: “Computer games may be the purest example of technology using operant conditioning. Fogg ar- gues that HIV Roulette. more accurately. I discuss the social media game Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. I observed that warning labels on Thai cigarette packages—­unlike those in the United States—displayed real-life photos of surgically removed blackened lungs to depict the bodily impact of smoking. In the “Introduction” to Procedural Habits. sensation (pleasure/pain). such as links in an email (“click here”). Even videogames without habit shaping as . and anticipation (hope/fear). like any videogame. When this game and other free- to-play social media games allow for rapid progress and positive re- inforcement at first to create a sustained play habit.”21 While. we know we are playing a videogame because the videogame offers us some degree of computa- tionally monitored behavioral feedback in response to our various inter- active inputs. many in our field will readily observe that there is more to videogame rhetoric than just the player’s interactions with the game mechanics (as will a number of games studies scholars who have engaged behaviorism in the past). 20 To clarify a potential source of concern. They are effective platforms for adminis- tering reinforcements and punishments. reducing the ability to perform the behavior. an education videogame that specifically tries to convince players to use protection during sexual intercourse. He fea- tures HIV Roulette. Analyzing Videogames as Persuasive Technologies How then would Fogg’s thinking apply to the rhetorical analysis of a videogame? It is true that his subject matter in Persuasive Technologies is not videogames. or by employing “de-motivators. (2) motivation: three core motivators include belonging (acceptance/rejection). At a bare bones level. By contrast. distress for a viewer in Fogg’s sense.” like pain or so- cial rejection. While Fogg does not examine any other contemporary videogames. my belief is that the closest analogies to what he is thinking about would be found in contemporary habit-shaping design elements or genres. and finally. he intends pains as a de-motivator along the lines of using visual scare tactics in adver- tising. but he does offer a few discussion points.

including the very popular Walker Assault match. the game does in fact utilize some Foggian design elements. when the Walkers become vulnerable to player fire. While all players begin a Walker Assault Figure 1. Beyond a handful of very limited single. .1  S creenshot of a live Walker Assault match (Imperial side) on the Ice Planet Hoth stage in the FPS game Star Wars: Battlefront. since its release in November 2015. like the ice planet Hoth from the film The Empire Strikes Back (Figure 1.or co-opt player versus environment modes. In turn. To offer a personal example. I have been playing quite a bit of Electronic Arts DICE’s Star Wars: Battlefront. most of the gameplay consists of online multiplayer player-versus-player (PvP) encounters. To illustrate Fogg’s thinking. The attack run occurs during the end of each stage. it is important to note that Battlefront is not a videogame that has habit as a specific persuasive object the same way that a time management game design mechanism in Kim Kardashian attempts to compel players to spend money to purchase in-game aid at cognitively stressful moments. Every 45 seconds. a secured uplink grants the Rebel players an additional Y-wing bomber to make an attack run to bomb the AT-AT ­Walkers’ de- fense shields. Persuasive Technologies in the Rhetoric of Videogames  39 the primary design goal utilize Foggian elements. Walker Assault is staged on one of Battlefront’s many iconic battlefields.1). Walker Assault features massive 40-player PvP battles in which Rebel forces defend two radio uplink zones in each of three sequential stages. Battlefront is a first-person shooter videogame grounded in various Star Wars franchise plot and character worlds. Nevertheless. I­ mperial storm troopers attempt to deactivate the uplinks to minimize the number of Y-wing bombers in order to allow the AT-AT Walkers to retain enough overall shield percentage to survive and destroy the escaping Rebel trans- port ships at the end of the third and final stage.

rather than just hold the easier zone for the entire stage (which. Fogg describes how “unpredictable outcomes” ­relate to a form of behavioral reinforcement. Simply put. even the gigantic Walkers themselves. Battlefront’s designers offer the attacking side positive behavioral reinforcement to leave the easier of the two enemy zones. on the imperial side. 23 While he acknowledges that a Figure 1. these tokens are often found near the front lines of the harder-to-attack enemy zone of the two uplink zones for a given part of the three-stage Walker Assault battle (Figure 1. attacking players who never leave the easy zone have an extremely low chance of encountering a hero icon. Han Solo. poten- tially allows the opposing side an actual opportunity to reactivate its lost uplink). one of the reasons that Walker Assault is so popular is that it offers players the chance to collect randomly dropped hero tokens to control a limited number of powerful heroes (only one per side at a time). While the rules for randomly spawning Hero tokens are difficult to pin down. This game mechanism in Battlefront is easily analyzed through the lens of Foggian rhetoric. Following one of the few explicit comments about videogames in Persuasive Technology. in turn. However. .2  S creenshot of randomly spawning Hero icon in another Hoth Walker Assault Match in Battlefront. Players can also find similarly restricted tokens to pilot X-Wing fighters or. or Boba Fett. such as Luke Skywalker. this form of behavioral positive reinforcement is not based upon the actual appearance of the Hero token (stimulus) but on the potential that they could be encountered.2). Darth Vader. “The bottom line is that game designers seek to change people’s behaviors” by motivating them to continue playing.40  Theorizing Procedural Habits match as either a generic—but customizable—rebel fighter or imperial storm trooper.

political ideologies. it behaves. Karlyn Kohrs Campbell has offered a lengthy catalogue of objections by rhetoricians to behaviorism. Fogg would locate rhetoric within any positive and negative behavioral reinforcement mechanisms within a videogame. artistic representations. in which users are able to click on a tree. The question I want to turn to at this point is how our field should interpret his think- ing.” In this regard. complex visual forms. the simple and unavoidable fact remains that he fails to explain how rhetoric is different from operant conditioning or. your dog. The Weak Defense of Procedural Rhetoric My subsequent case studies in Part 2 (Chapters 3–7) will draw exten- sively upon Fogg’s framework to identify different habit-shaping inter- face design mechanisms that range from encompassing entire videogame genres to merely background forces like in Battlefront. Persuasive Technologies in the Rhetoric of Videogames  41 strict behaviorist account of persuasive technologies would seek to offer positive reinforcement once the desired behavior had been produced. Skinner’s operationally conditioned pigeons. he also notes that an unpredictable reward schedule can also create a habit. 24 Users receive feedback each time they click. “[D]aily habits are the most powerful of all behaviors… We know what it takes to create a habit—in yourself. Suffice to say. Fogg’s work directs us to think first and foremost about how any videogame uses interface design elements not just to create meaning but to shape players’ habituated modes of encounter with a videogame.”26 For example. He boasts on the PTL website. physiology) to describe the world of “symbolic action” (rhetoric). 27 This failure to situate rhetoric vis-à-vis behaviorism is just one of nu- merous questions that a Foggian rhetorical paradigm raises. rich narrative architectures. Burke might suggest that Fogg is importing the terms of “non-symbolic motion” (matter. Let’s start with the problems of what he is proposing.” Suffice to say. more accurately. how our assumptions about rhetoric should change if computationally prompted positive and negative reinforcement are rhetorical. Fogg tells us. F. our field has already engaged and criticized behavioral rhetorics in the past. being told either to click again or that a user has earned some “Banana Bucks. He is not primarily interested in how videogames can produce arguments. or other any other element of play except insofar as these elements would relate to habit production. like a “slot machine. Fogg offers the example of the website TreeLoot. which range from the dehumanization of the audience to the loss of any recognition of the force of interpersonal cooperative symbolic action.”25 When rhetoric produces identical forms of persuasion in humans and animals. As intriguing and creative as applications of Fogg’s heuristics might be. wherein rhetoric was little more than an electrical stimulus applied to one of “B. Fogg also . a customer.

the mechanistic conception of habit externalizes habit’s role from cognition and presupposes that a mind best operates freed from the influences of habit. Brandon Nyhan and Jason Reifler have conducted several studies that measured the effectiveness of presenting individuals with facts regarding inaccu- rate beliefs over side effects of vaccination. a limitation that I tease out through Lanham’s discussion of the weak and strong defenses of rhetoric. Similarly. Bogost’s concept of procedural rhetoric constitutes one of the major contributions to the rhetoric of gaming and digital rhetoric since Brian Sutton-Smith’s The Ambiguity of Play. As perhaps a case in point. the overall be- havioral outcomes nevertheless confirmed participants’ renewed com- mitments to anti-vaccination beliefs. Sutton-Smith . I noted that the mechanis- tic approach to habit finds its warrants in Immanuel Kant’s argument that habit was only an inherent obstacle to thought. the progressive education theorist Alfie Kohn has pointed to evidence that challenges the ability of positive and negative reward systems to create long-term habits.9% reporting “partially positive results.32 Citing Kenneth Burke as a source of inspiration. he justifies a behavioral trigger by claiming that individuals will change their minds when presented with the truth that corrects an error in belief or judgment in a persua- sive technology.”31 Despite these problems.42  Theorizing Procedural Habits tends to rely upon a number of unsubstantiated appeals to research evi- dence from behavioral economics. Procedural Rhetoric and the Weak Defense In the “Introduction” to Procedural Habits. current research does not support this assertion without qualification. 29 While accurate information reduced the occurrence of misperceptions in participants. I will examine how two major paradigms of vid- eogame rhetoric—procedural rhetoric and social-epistemic rhetoric—­ have difficulty in addressing habit beyond mechanism. sociology. and materiality. In one part of his book. and psychology to support the effectiveness of his behavioral prompts without detailed discussions or qualifications. Defined in Persuasive Games.7% that reported “positive results” with 37. embodiment. 30 Kohn cites a broad range of empirical studies to maintain that relying upon external computational forms of motivation actually de-motivates individuals’ abilities to form habits in the long run. To demonstrate this claim. 28 While possibly true in some circumstances. A mecha- nistic conception of habit can be directly found in Bogost’s procedural rhetoric. my relatively simple contention is that Fogg’s work productively casts into relief some of the expressive biases that closely accompany a preference for traditional over mundane texts. In its most general formulation. one April 2016 literature review of 95 studies across differ- ent journals that mentioned the word “persuasive technology” showed 54.

a persuasive technology should be more accurately described as a “manipulation technology. Thirdly. . “Perhaps [persuasive technologies] offer valid ways of using technology to alter behavior. By contrast. we see the significance of connecting the preference for cer- tain types of videogames—expressive videogames that make argu- ments about political topics—to underlying theoretical assumptions. ­Secondly. But not one of them deploys rhet- oric. Bogost’s rejection of Fogg in his discussion of procedural rhetoric is particularly important to bear in mind because it begins to highlight a fundamental tension between persuasion (expressive) and behavior change (mundane) that we will encounter in numerous efforts to criticize not only Fogg but also the general idea that habit formation in videogames is rhetori- cal. and professional game designers have approached rhetoric in the context of videogames. Bogost draws a firm line in the sand between behavior change and rhetoric. but he does not define how play-in-itself can be rhetor- ical. it is also arguably one of the primary—if not exclusive—lenses through which games studies researchers. where critics have to choose between. Persuasive Technologies in the Rhetoric of Videogames  43 traces out how play is defined or valued by various cultural institutions and discourses.” like designer Gonzalo Frasca’s ­September 12 as well as many videogames listed at persuasivegame. avoids the exhausted “narratology” versus “ludology” debate in games studies.34. Bogost argues that both elements work in combination to produce persuasive effects. narrative or game mechanics as the location of meaning. “newsgames. First. Bogost subsequently defines “persuasive games” as a genre of videogames that use procedural rhetoric—“the practice of using processes persuasively”—to mount an effective persuasive claim to pro- duce a change in belief or emotion in an audience by modeling real-life processes. As the videogame equiv- alents of political cartoons. procedural rhetoric enables videogames to function as an im- portant deliberative medium for civic engagement. respectively.36 While Bogost’s work is well-known in our field. Instead. computer scientists. claiming.­com like Airport Security. Bogost concretizes an otherwise intuitive connection between videogames and a series of feedback-based techniques of persuasion.33 Persuasive Games is significant in at least three ways.”39 Here. all of Fogg’s techniques use technology to alter actions or beliefs without engaging users in a discourse about the behavior itself or the logics that would recommend such actions or beliefs. As a result.35 can be circulated across social media and reach wider audiences than political cartoons in newspapers. he concludes.”37 Persuasive technologies exhibit what Bogost calls “low process intensity” in terms of stimulating decision-making and choice. In response. by attempting to persuade through habit formation independent of modeling interactive real-life systems (“high process intensity”) in a persuasive videogame. Bogost of- fers a rhetorical methodology for examining videogames that. in a sense.38 Thus.

it is not the outcome of the rhetorical act that it is important but the fact that the player is able to develop self-consciousness about the effects of his or her own play in relationship to broader cultural is- sues and “not just instrumental contrivances. any account of procedural habits from the perspective of the weak defense of procedural rhetoric is going to fall into the realm of the non-rhetorical and the coercive.”44 By contrast. In turn. embodied.”46 In Kant’s terms.”43 In his desire to avoid habit (persuasive ­technologies) as coercive. Bogost seems to posit an eidetic form of videogame rhetoric: the persuasive game as logos or “procedural en- thymeme. or untruthful. However. reasoned speech from bad rhetoric. ­Bogost presupposes that a arhetorical realm—the Platonic ideal form of the persuasive game—­exists apart from how persuasion is locally manifested through its spatial. I cannot help but hear the voice of ­Plato’s Socrates in “The Gorgias” attempting to distinguish “bad rhetoric” from “good rhetoric. Quintilian. As a result. the use of weighted language and specious argumenta- tion to conceal facts and bolster one’s cause. an attempt to disclose and communicate the truth in unbiased. . and most humanists: good people use good rhetoric for good causes while the bad kind of rhetoric is employed in bad causes. and technological contexts in game design.” in honor of Quintilian. cultural. in turn.” to invoke ­A ristotle’s description of bad rhetoric. the Q Question asks us to interrogate whether training in rhetoric leads to the production of virtue. rhetorical theorists “from Socrates to the present have distinguished good rhetoric. The weak and strong defenses are two common answers to what Lanham calls the “Q ­Question.45 For Bogost.44  Theorizing Procedural Habits Bogost’s criticism of Fogg constitutes what I view as a medium-specific version of what Lanham dubbed the “weak defense” of rhetoric and establishes an explicit split for videogame rhetorics between expressive ­(rhetorical videogames) and mundane (persuasive technologies). rhetoric is historically negated or reduced through the weak defense.41 The weak defense stems from Plato. The weak defense views rhetoric as style and therefore capable of untruth and duplicity when measured against an unchanging logi- cal approach to reality. Bogost wants to help a player maintain rational autonomy to reflect in response to rhetorical demonstration through videogames and. I­ socrates. ­Bogost is adamant that only certain types of feedback loops—those that model ­arguments to the mind and not apply them to the body—are non-­ coercive. to enable him or her to make up his or her own mind free from rhetorical coercion. dissimulative.” Bogost—like Fogg—is interested in how algorith- mically derived feedback loops can be persuasive.42 ­Unsurprisingly. who infamously asked and avoided answering the following question: “Is the Perfect Orator … a good man as well as a good orator?”40 In essence. persuasive technologies are akin to an “adul- terated wine. As Scott Consigny summarizes. In Bogost’s criticism of Fogg.

Knowles et al. Paul Coulton. and Mark Lochrie working at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom—­ implicitly drew upon the weak defense to justify immunizing their per- suasive game.”48 By contrast. Knowles et al. complain that the computing com- munity has tended to avoid addressing whether Fogg’s persuasive tech- nologies or the use of behavior change as rhetoric is “manipulative. Knowles et al. ­Participating individuals use electronic cards at a mobile terminal to re- cord customer-to-business and business-to-business transactions. England.e. In response. rhetoric is desirable because it can help shift attitudes or beliefs. Barter. double down on the weak defense of persuasive games in arguing for the inherent superior form of persuasion in interac- tive dialogical modeling over any other rhetorical forms. created Barter as a mobile media app that works to encourage members of the community to spend locally. Knowles et al. 50 Echoing Bogost. Persuasive Technologies in the Rhetoric of Videogames  45 Procedural Rhetoric in Barter To be sure. . ­Barter offers a dynamic map (an extra “information layer”) of where money is spent by local consumers as well as the ways in which local citizens funnel money to big box stores. from Foggian rhetoric. Benjamin Wohl. Knowles et al. however. explicitly channel Bogost in claiming that local currencies fail because: …local currencies have no inherent rhetorical potential. there is no dialectic element in the currency itself that can demonstrate to individuals who are not sold on the genius of local spending why it will help revive their community. take the specific site of Lancaster. rhetoric is only good if Barter can “reveal” the ideologies (processes) that “drive social. believe that the interactive logos—empirical evidence or facts of ­Lancaster citizens’ actual spending habits—is a superior manner of per- suasion. Knowles et al. Not unlike the situation with Walmart in the rural United States..49 Here. in which some city planners had experimented with local ­currencies that could be spent outside the community. Some of the related consequences for rigidly opposing procedural rhetoric against persua- sive technologies can be clearly seen in how a team of persuasive game designers—­Bran Knowles. In other words. Bogost is not alone in this opinion. political. Knowles et al. Thus.47 Echoing the criticism of other game designers.. dis- count prices from UK mega-retail outlets and the convenience of online shopping have resulted in a situation where money is shifting away from local communities with negative consequences for local entrepreneurs. foreground procedural rhetoric in their ex- planation of Barter. For Knowles et al. critique) so that they can be reflected upon without coercion. To combat this trend. which they designed in response to a clear rhetorical exigency: the death of town centers in the United Kingdom. or culture behav- ior” (i.

an objective real- ity exists and can be transmitted through language or. in this example. the weak defense signals that emotions.52 In this approach. Bogost’s actual understanding of rhetoric—beyond his cognitive/embod- ied separation—is limited to an instrumental production of an effec- tive argument—and only an argument—to produce change in emotion or belief. They presuppose that a rational consumer simply does not have enough information available about his or her “bad” (unthinking. and materiality will have no important role in the rhetorical situation beyond coercion. In Wordplay.” he also draws a clear distinction between rhetori- cal and non-rhetorical videogames.51 By analogy. But they do not do so inevitably. Bogost simply does not address or focus on how we might account for players’ independent rhetorical activities that occur during play or in the texts produced about play. to persuade. to express ideas.53 “Video games. or similar “serious games” are not persuasive but instructional.46  Theorizing Procedural Habits To make my point of analysis in the weak defense of rhetoric clear. mechanistic) habits of consumption and that if he or she only had access to the correct information. embodiment. The Strong Defense and Nature/Culture Mechanism While procedural rhetoric offers a significant contribution to our field. While Bogost’s work usefully extends beyond videogames to include general ways of “making arguments with computational systems and for unpacking computational arguments others have created. Cognitive argumentative appeals are rhetorically expressive (as are traditional texts like persuasive games). videogames with minimal rhetorical contamination. please” approach to truth in their Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students textbook.” Bogost maintains.55 As subsequent rhetoric and composition scholars have established. I am in no way questioning Bogost’s excellent contributions to videogame rhetoric or the purpose of designing persuasive games. such as Driver’s Education simulators. This claim is a classical liberal economic assumption coupled with what Sharon Crowley and Debra Hawhee call a “just the facts. Paul . My larger goal is instead to highlight Thomas Rickert’s observation that “every theory of rhetoric implicitly or explicitly organizes and invokes a theory of mate- riality and the human relation to it” in the context of videogame rheto- ric. because they do not make an argumentative claim. “have the power to make arguments. This limitation undergirds the second major paradigm that rhetoric and composition scholars have used to discuss videogame rhetorics: variations of epistemic and social-epistemic rhetoric. and embodied non-­ argumentative appeals are not.’s decision to follow Bogost and bracket the role of embodiment and materiality is grounded in a partic- ular ontological assumption about their audience. Thus. then he or she would spend differently.”54 He claims that many educational train- ing games. Knowles et al.

can be described as ‘rhetorical’”. Persuasive Technologies in the Rhetoric of Videogames  47 invokes Burke’s definition of rhetoric—“Wherever there is persuasion.56 By contrast. Paul maintains: …all games are persuasive.” for example. It is hardly surprising that a tendency to focus on traditional texts over habit-shaping interface design elements finds common ground in Paul’s epistemic approach.62 Paul primarily locates rhetoric in the intersubjective social contexts and discourses that surround the play and design of videogames. and Barry Brummett’s taxonomy of meaning-making to analyze videogames through Douglas Kellner’s “multiperspectival” approach to meaning: “the perspectives of . a general thesis common to many accounts is that the contingent effects of language games and arbitrary symbolic systems mediate any attempt to ground a representation of reality independent of discourse. absorb the capitalist lessons of ­Animal Crossing or the political messages in Tax Invaders. both within communication scholarship as well rhetoric and composition studies. there is rhetoric. S. “Everything.60 This epistemic warrant and focus on discourse can be found widely throughout other approaches to the rhetoric of videogames. “or virtually every- thing. Johnson seek to examine how gamers produce forms of public writing in online spaces about play. virtual worlds. McAllister employs a combination of Marxist historical materialism. 58 Although variations of epistemic rhet- oric differ after Robert E. And wherever there is ‘meaning’ there is persuasion”— to directly position epistemic rhetoric against procedural rhetoric’s strict alignment of rhetoric with argumentation. the design of games and society. 57 Rhetoricians will readily recognize Paul’s thinking as the “Big R” or “epistemic rhetoric” paradigm.” Edward Schiappa claims. follow a given narrative. such as playing arcade games in public versus private consoles at home. and the practices of play in games. When scholars like Matthew S.63 these scholarly pursuits lie within a similar set of intersubjective assumptions about how rhetoric is created. Published in 2004. characterizes many of the primary ways in which rhetoric and writing scholars have engaged videogames by examining rhetorical meaning in “the words within and surrounding video games. Scott’s seminal treatment. whether the persuasion is to buy the game.59 Under epistemic rhetoric. McAllister’s scholarship actually anticipates Paul’s idea of wordplay by a few years. One primary consequence for this epistemic shift is not just that it helps us claim any symbolic part of videogame rhetoric as meaningful. Burke’s notion of agency. level in a certain way. and social media games. His theoretical project of “wordplay. McAllister’s prior notion of “gamework” helps to explain the political implications of grounding the strong defense in epistemology. buy extra goods in a ‘free-to-play’ game.”61 While he does ac- knowledge the importance of space.

hearkening back to older precedents.”64 McAllister locates the production and reception of videogames within a historical dia- lectic to produce “gamework”: the “medium through which values are ­articulated and reproduced. Gerald A. The Sims. text analysis and audience reception [by] delineating the multiplicity of subject positions. my goal in this chapter is not to offer a comprehensive lit- erature review of rhetoric and composition scholarship as it relates to videogames (although my endnotes in this chapter will point interested . Lisa Nakamura links the disfigured Horde side and the white Anglo-Saxon Alliance sides in WoW to a continuation of a racialized or postcolonial logic69 and when Mia Consalvo demonstrates how earlier versions of the videogame. We see this when.” at the level of individual players’ dialectical struggles within play spaces as well as those that structure collective de- sign and play practices.65 To help explore gamework. through which audiences appropriate culture. “When every representation is in some way ideological it is not possible to speak about representation without considering it rhetorical.68 Thus.66 It is: …a description of how meaning may be made and managed spe- cifically by those who design.67 There are no ideologically “neutral” representations in videogames from this perspective. influences. A visual depiction of Tomb Raider Lara Croft’s body is only ever a contingent product of hegemonic reproductions of gen- der. did not allow same-sex couples to spawn naturally. Videogames become another site for variations of ideology critique.”71 The Strong Defense: Rejecting Rationalism but Retaining Dualism To be clear. or perspectives. functions. manifestations. in our field’s terms. and … simultaneously [offer] a way for computer game scholars to talk about the processes and techniques involved in this meaning-­ making process. McAllister’s grammar is composed of ratios of agents. a good majority of games stud- ies scholarship is working through a similar—if implicit—orientation toward social constructivism and contingency. and transformative locales. market.70 Examining the role of cultural difference in avatar customization in the Final Fantasy series. such as James Berlin’s efforts to direct his first-year writing students to de-bunk male/female or worker/ capitalist binaries in falsely naturalized representations contained in a mainstream news article about the state of rural farm life in the state of New York. McAllister defines the concept of a “grammar of gamework” by riffing off of Burke’s pen- tad. Voorhees declares in a similar vein to Schiappa’s definition.48  Theorizing Procedural Habits political economy and production. and play computer games. for example.

My “Introduction” already listed a number of examples of rhetoric and composition scholarship that focused on text-based writing practices (expressive/­mundane) as well as various “social-constructivist” forms of public writing by videogame players. Rather. For McAllister. Persuasive Technologies in the Rhetoric of Videogames  49 readers toward a more comprehensive documentation) or of games stud- ies scholarship that works with critical theory and cultural studies. In contrasting his own brand of social-­ epistemic rhetoric with postmodernist and poststructuralist literary crit- icism. creative. The strong defense holds that rhetoric is epistemic. embodiment gains rhe- torical meaning primarily through the dialectic. McAllister’s gamework affirms that videogames possess a “psychophysiological force. dissim- ulates.73 It is absolutely true in this regard that epistemic rhetoric avoids a strict Cartesian-dualist account. The problem with epistemic accounts is that they tend to turn on an ontological division between social/cultural forces and embodiment/ materiality. to enable the release of stress. to set aside the need to find political representations in videogames—including their mundane habit-­ shaping elements. While he claims that he does not want to avoid addressing the “force of the material. and epistemology makes it difficult to treat habit as a rhetorical force in the way that Fogg in- sists. Paul Lynch and Nathaniel Rivers remind us that since Lanham argues that social dramas are “all man-made. can be exploited by developers and advertisers and linked to human-centered political economic ideologies.”77 Similar to Berlin’s acknowledgment. emerged to counter the sort of rational cogni- tive subject presupposed by persuasive game designers’ implicit reliance on the weak defense.”75 rhetoric tends to remain a “human and discursive affair.”78 Videogames can create embodied affects that “cause players to sweat. Neither do I intend. I want to identify how an explicit or implicit preference for language. to go without food or using the toilet. “When games are given meaning (and also make it) through tactile and psychological prompts. Unsurprisingly. as I will make clear throughout Procedural Habits. he contends. echoing Rickert’s observation about rhetorical theories and materiality. .” he de- clares “Only through language do we know and act upon the conditions of our experience. the strong defense of rhetoric. “an existential condi- tion in which struggle and change are the only constants and to which all materiality is ­subject.72 Rhetoric creates knowledge rather than conceals.”76 One clear consequence of locating rhetoric in this split lies in the tendency to reduce embodied or rhetorical forces to discourse. and “determinative” and refuses to establish logic as prior to rhetoric. The strong defense coincided with rhetoric’s rise to disciplinary prominence in the twentieth-century.”79 which. it is Lanham’s counterpart to the weak defense.74 Yet. Berlin offers a fairly representative move. social construction. to get violently angry or frustrated. which clearly confirms this distinction.”80 He later writes. or styles a non-rhetorical logical reality.

83 Epistemic rhetoric. rhetoric under anti-realism can successfully claim its sta- tus as knowledge-producing art. cultures have been understood as intangible webs of discourse more than as aggregates of people and things. the emphasis has been on constructions of identity through language and other symbol systems. which is in part the principle paradigm through which we use to arrive at the conclusion that reality is produced rather than reflected by language. in studies of gender and ethnicity. any question of what exists in epistemic rhetoric becomes what exists for humans. cognitive processes). power. in science. Kant’s a priori synthetic reason held that the objects in the world conform to the individual mind rather than the other way around. In as far as ­language—philosophical or scientific—cannot give us access to an ob- jective reality. is indebted to anti-realism.82 It is for these reasons that I believe that variations of epistemic rhetoric as well as the de facto focus on language. because an object amounts to a surface effect of something more fundamental—any mechanism through which beings are made mani- fest to the human (signifiers. our knowledge of it is invariably mediated through language. Consider Jack Selzer’s summary of this legacy: In history. It is in the bracketing of materiality within videogame rhetoric and the focus on social-epistemic forces where I see the importance of connect- ing theoretical assumptions about rhetoric to what counts as rhetorically expressive in the context of videogame rhetoric.50  Theorizing Procedural Habits they necessarily manifest traces of the dialectical struggles to which they are connected. In a notable example. the sub- stance of tangible realities. textualized accounts of historical events have come to count as much as the historical events themselves. in anthropology and sociology. social forces. or the general claim that even if there were a reality independent of the mind (as Kant’s noumena acknowledged). biology and chemistry and physics are now understood as collections of texts as much as they . to declare that an object exists can only ever seem like a useless invocation of naïve re- alism. and signification still retain a mechanistic view of habit—not as an expression of mind- body dualism. but the issue also exists more broadly within rhetoric and composition studies as a whole. which informs the anti-realist thesis that language and social contexts construct reality.”81 If habit has a role in rhetoric for McAllister’s gamework. discourse. Royer observes that a great deal of epistemic rhetoric. then it will be primarily in the ways in which habit can be connected to a product of a larger human-centered project of capitalist commodification. this issue with materiality is not just specific to videogame rhetoric scholarship. Hence. Under this framework. rests upon anti-realism. but more in the sense of reducing or bracketing what is rhetorically expressive in videogames to discourse or social construction. Daniel J. Indeed.

shape how we teach and theorize writing. ANT researcher Ignacio Farias comments. the work of actor-network theorist Bruno Latour.84 We can clearly add videogames to this list in which forms of writing or symbolic action matter more than the sorts of physiological effects the videogames produce or the mundane habit-shaping elements that pro- duce them. “[If] the construction of reality is mostly understood in epistemological terms. Words have been mattering more than matter.” she argues: . and nature (ecocomposition) with a goal of not merely grafting these interests into traditional rhetorical focuses. It is because Latour features the role of “things” that researchers in our field have drawn upon his work and the work of other theorists affiliated with the “nonhuman turn” to examine how rhetoric and writ- ing practices are shaped by materiality and embodiment in ways that exceed human control or knowledge. The Turn Toward the Materiality of Rhetoric It is for this reason why rhetoricians in recent years have begun to ex- plore material rhetorics away from these sorts of orientations. In direct relationship to how on- tological approaches to habit reject Kant’s mechanistic reduction. consequently. but in suggesting that rhetoric and writing processes are more fundamentally entangled with nonhuman agencies and these. Persuasive Technologies in the Rhetoric of Videogames  51 are efforts to engage and describe the physical world through dis- crete material practices. are sometimes being reduced to a function of language: genes. genders. Latour argues in We Have Never Been Modern that the “Modern Constitution” specifically challenges the Cartesian-Kantian split between active minds and passive objects. how the slogan “Keep Austin Weird” morphed from an anti-big-box store slogan on t-shirts and bookmarks to a television com- mercial slogan by Cingular Wireless. and genetics have all been reconceived recently through the prism of language.85 Echoing my criticism of the strong defense of rhet- oric.”86 By contrast. in which each sphere—human and nonhuman. for example. Consider. jeans. ANT follows Michel Callon’s principle of general symmetry. “Writing. By now. cul- ture and nature—compose one another through their material forms of relationality. a number of rhetoricians have explored technology. Jenny Edbauer notes how material and spatial forms of affect structure how rhetoric circulates through ecological forces. to whom a growing number in our field have turned to rethink rhetoric’s materiality beyond discourse. Things in themselves. In examin- ing. space and place. in turn. the materials and intermediaries involved in the construction are deprived of any active role. by point- ing instead toward a world where embodiment and materiality play a role. for example. embodiment.

Taken together. starting from ­Democritus and Epicurus up through Spinoza and. Such is not to say that capitalist motives are not important to observe (and Bennett is certainly not a fan of capitalism). more recently. Bennett identifies one issue with the typical project of ideological critique seen in a great deal of videogame rhetoric scholarship. because demystification presumes that at the heart of any event or process lies a human agency that has illicitly been projected into things. To demonstrate this point. Deleuze and Guattari. in their example of an anthropologist who uses his laundry’s timer buzz. Mobery’s social-constructivist pedagogy. the encounter of a writing body within a space of dis/comfort. This hermeneutics of suspicion calls for theorists to be on high alert for signs of the secret truth (a human will-to-power) below the false appearance of nonhuman agency. She positions her thinking against the “historical materialists” of the previous theoretical generation. text. and Adorno. should be used sparingly and with caution. such as Hegel. to structure writing.52  Theorizing Procedural Habits …is more than a matter of discrete elements (audience. but her larger point is that there are more forms of material agency at play within political reality than these human-centered paradigms acknowledge. the events of writing in an apathetic/energetic/ distant/close group. Marx. writing is distributed across a range of processes and encounters: the event of using a keyboard. a number in our field have also been drawn to new materialism in the work of the political philosopher Jane Bennett. Paul’s word play. these . in her book Vibrant Matter. suffice to say that what Bennett is talking about is what is behind McAllister’s gamework. a writer. tools. ideas) in static relation with one another (a writer types her ideas into a computer for an audience who reads the text). Rather. or any approach that views videogames’ forms of embodiment and materiality as stemming from a previously settled human-centered theoretical paradigm divorced from a complex account for material and embodied contexts. who feature heavily in her thinking. Bennett’s new materialist thinking turns to theorists who are interested in the vitality of matter.90 While in Chapters 4 and 5 I offer a more specific engagement with how many of these Latourian and new materialist approaches respec- tively change the purpose of critique.87 Her work joins previous work by Nedra Reynolds in Geographies of Writing 88 as well as Paul Prior and Jody Shipka in their use of cultural-­ activity theory to examine how writers use “environment structuring and selecting procedures” to maintain focus or.89 To offer another example in passing. Bennett notes: …that most popular of practices in critical theory.

91 For Bennett. commodities. throbbing confedera- tions that are able to function despite the persistent presence of energies that confound them from within. she states: Habit is a concept that has been difficult to address for much of what passes as postmodernism. he is talking about actual non-discursive forces that produce effects in digital interfaces. as our “second nature” that emerges through our par- ticular and non-innate embodied repetitions with vibrant ecologies of play and diverse networks of nonhuman agencies. she claims that an inherent vitality acts on the world and can engage in dy- namic relations that aid and frustrate human intentionality. Rather. ­Regardless of our definition. things do not just serve as constraints to action.94 Simply put. She writes: By ‘vitality’ I mean the capacity of things—edibles. or tendencies of their own.”93 Conclusion I will have more to say about Latour and Bennett respectively through- out Procedural Habits. Bennett invokes Deleuze’s concept of assem- blage to argue that natural environments (physis) are not fixed or static but actively composed by the activities of various human and nonhuman actors: “Assemblages are ad hoc groupings of diverse elements. activities. presupposes an orien- tation to materiality similar to what Latour or Bennnett describe. My primary aim in introducing their work here is to gesture toward why I believe Fogg’s work is so important to con- sider as a limit case for rhetorical conceptions of videogames. Assemblages are living. by ex- tension. a real made up of forces that stimulate and transform living beings through their ability to accommodate rou- tines.92 As an illustrative context. Let me re-visit Grosz’s quotation once more from the “Introduction” to Procedural Habits. for it grounds us firmly in a pre-­ representational real. projects that the emergence of life amidst the real requires. Persuasive Technologies in the Rhetoric of Videogames  53 thinkers help to inform her understanding of thing theory as the ways in which things are “entwined” with human subjectivity. what constitutes an “expressive” form of rhetoric) demonstrate . propensities. habit. When Fogg is talking about habits. of vi- brant matter of all sorts. metals—not only to impede or block the will and designs of humans but also to act as quasi agents or forces with trajectories. storms. A vital materialism goes beyond observing that human beings cannot fly because of the way our bodies are shaped in relationship to the earth’s gravity. These approaches in the context of the strong and weak defense (and.

with respect to the ways in which the weak and strong defenses of rhet- oric can bracket habit’s role. For Schriver. 2017. 26. Notes 1 B. or logical design-bootcamp/. 9 He tellingly cites a single essay by Karen Schriver.95 It is clear that these approaches intuitively grasp the fact that users’ or players’ in- dividual or collective habits of use or play dynamically shape the rhetor- ical content of videogames or digital interfaces more broadly. no. 2012. Practice (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 8 Ibid. CA: Electronic Arts. 3 (2005): 320. http://technori. however. Fogg. but more radically recasting the expressive/mundane divide to account for some of these recent theoretical interests in materiality and embod- iment.” Technori. and actor-networks—exactly my goals in Chapter 2. 7 Ibid. or form of the doc- ument but does not extend to encompass the creation of a document’s ratio- nal. 2003). Zappen.J. 24. argumentative. Oct. 6 Fogg. Karen Schriver. style (font choice). embodi- ment.  Digital Rhetoric: Theory. accessed on May 15. 3 Douglas Eyman. that the key to taking Fogg’s at- tention to mundane habit-shaping elements seriously as rhetorical actors lies in better understanding how habit relates to materiality. 2 James P.. videogame. Fogg. 2015). x. our field also has some previous models of digital rhetoric that address these factors. Outside of a direct engagement with videogames. “Behavior Design Bootcamp with Dr. 2015). Method. 4 Ryan Wynia. 5 Star Wars: Battlefront (Redwood City. rhetoric exists primarily in the arrangement. While he is not thinking ontologically.54  Theorizing Procedural Habits that what is at stake is not merely “adding” something like procedural habits and mundane habit-shaping elements to the rhetorical situation. 1. To do so.” Techni- cal Communication Quarterly 14.. Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do (Amsterdam: Morgan Kaufmann. However. means to theorize and articulate videogame rhetoric and habit production as something that is not entirely controlled by human agents or social contexts but rather as something that more fundamentally is structured by an alternative understanding of how em- bodiment and materiality work in the rhetorical situation. “Digital Rhetoric: Toward an Integrated Theory. including Brooke’s argument that new media rhetoric researchers need to examine a user’s actual “ecology of practice” in a new media interface rather than limit their analyses to the procedures of use dictated by designers. it is clear from Latour and other rhetoricians’ work in these areas. Persuasive Technology. “Document Design . it is critical to clarify what it would mean to call these player-driven processes the result of a habit as opposed to an intentional designer-driven rhetorical action or socially constructed form of rhetorical interaction.

“Behaviorism.html. accessed May 15. 21. consider any iteration of the popular math learning game. weapons. 2017. forges) or. but it is worth observing that even when some researchers have sought to overcome the limitations of early behaviorists. 39.” Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab. 14 Ibid.” Technical Communication 36. while Math Blaster limits learning to a superficial form of memorization without the ability to develop the former’s deeper creative knowledges.. sheep. 49.. which can be played by children of a similar age as those who are learning basic algebra. whether it is arguing against the use of fixed reinforce- ment schedules in game design (i. no. similar to the World of Warcraft’s random loot spawning mechanism. accessed May 15. 20 “Blackdot Behaviors.. 7. www. http://captology. Math Blaster.behaviorwizard. 12 Ibid. accessed May 15. 41–43. Ibid.” Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab. 50. in com- parison to the forms of deeper metacognitive learning (cognitivism) through more expressive or creative games.. players can never entirely predict when a reward will occur or. behaviorism remains an object of discussion. Technical Report No. 4 (1990): 316–333. 24. March 2009). videogame. ­Procedurally.. Minecraft. and Communities of . 15 Ibid. more basically. Debates occur over the use of external positive and negative reinforcement to produce superficial forms of learning. 2015. Nevertheless. Minecraft offers players a 3D. fully manipulable world in which virtually any procedurally generated element (trees. when an organism comes to expect a re- ward in relationship to a certain behaviors-preview/.html. 2017. Constructivism.” Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab. 19 “BlueDot Behaviors.. 2015. like Skinner (who argued that our entire lives could be reduced to stimulus-­ response explanations). 16 Ibid. 32.e. 51. minerals) can be mined into basic building block elements in order to build more complex in- game elements (fire. 17 “Behavior Design. 2015.” Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab. ­M inecraft teaches players lessons of the more cognitive or expressive sort. 49–50. 13 Ibid. Markus Piersson. www. 2015. Persuasive. it decreases activity until it knows that the stimulus will occur again) or fixed variable rewards (i.. 21 Fogg. 2017. For example. 18 “Behavior Wizard.stanford. By contrast. 2017.stanford. even more nuanced approaches to behaviorism still tend to be figured as manipulative. such as memorization (behaviorism). 22 To be sure. in which players learn alge- bra through repetition and immediate rewards after each correct response. I have more to say about this distinction. to create any possi- ble sort of construction that a player can imagine.e. 11 Ibid... http://captology. never be sure what the quality or who the actual recipient will be). accessed May behaviors-preview/. consider Markuss Piersson’s sandbox game Persuasive Technologies in the Rhetoric of Videogames  55 from 1980 to 1989. 10 Fogg. see also Michael Filsecker and Judith behaviorism versus “cognitivism” remains a subject that contem- porary games studies scholars have been interested in as well. Persuasive Technology. particularly researchers and designers who are interested in education games. (Mojang.

he distinguishes be- tween the Wii Fit (clearly non-rhetorical) and the alternative reality game World Without Oil (rhetorical) on the grounds that the first is muscu- lar and the second social and cognitive (“Funemployed P ­ layborers”). 51. 50–69. Fre. 60–61. Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames ­(Cambridge. How to Do Things with Videogames ­(Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 38 Ibid. 35 Airport Security (The Arcade Wire: Persuasive Games. “(Nonsymbolic) Motion/ (Symbolic) Action.html. MA: Harvard Uni- versity Press. this division between logical or cognitive demonstration (good rhetoric) and embodied ‘suasion (bad rhetoric) is actu- ally quite central to Bogost’s influential corpus of research on videogames. Bogost’s subsequent definition of “performa- tive gameplay” offers a similar binary between emotions/­embodiment and cognition. no. 2017. no. 183 n. Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason (New York: Atria Books. accessed May 15. videogame. MA: MIT. 31 Juho Hamari. 2006).. 2017. ian-bogost-funemployed-playborers/ . Lecture Notes in Computer Science 8462 (2014). Sean Richey.stanford. 28. 1997). accessed May 15.” Critical Inquiry 4. 25 “Behavior Design. who have questioned whether lab work performed on animals could be extended to humans. 2003). “The Ontological Foundations of Rhetorical Theory. September 12 (Uruguay: Powerful Robot Games. Hayo Rienders (New York: Palgrave Macmillin. 2014. 29 Brandon Nyhan. Jason Reifler. 809. 36 Jeff Pruchnic. Ian. 2 (Spring.. Echoing Burke’s conceptualiza- tion of terministic screens. 2014). videogame.” Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab. including his polemical rejection of gamification as an inferior species of the Genus persuasive games. Karlyn Kohrs Cambell. Italy. I am wary of the fact that his division between seduction and “force” parallels that between rhetoric versus phi- losophy. 51. Jonna Koivisto. “Funemployed Playborers. 24 Ibid. 61–62. 2014): 1–8. 32 Brian Sutton-Smith. 30 While I largely agree with Kohn.” in Digital Games in Language Learning and Teach- ing. 4 (Apr. 2015. and Tuomas Pakkanen. Alfie Kohn. Persuasive Games. Elsewhere. Persuasive Technology. 4 (1978). 36. Rhetoric and Ethics in the Cybernetic Age: The Transhuman Condition (New York: Routledge. 33 Ian Bogost. http://captology. 34 Gonzalo Frasca. and Gary L.6. 37 Bogost. ed. 23 Fogg.” DIS. Ian ­Bogost. “Do Persuasive Tech- nologies Persuade? A Review of Empirical Studies” in Persuasive Technol- ogy 9th International Conference The Ambiguity of Play (Cambridge. 2007). 28 Fogg. “Effective Messages in Vaccine Promotion: A Randomized Trial. 2015.56  Theorizing Procedural Habits Practice: How Pedagogic Theories Help Us Understand Game-Based Lan- guage and Learning. Campbell rightly worries that grounding rhetoric in a series of behavioral stimuli explained by the field of psychology will cause rhetoric to lose any epistemic and therefore disciplinary power.” Pediatrics 133. 27 Skinner’s classical conditioning has been called into question by cognitive psychologists (Chomsky). Bogost. http://dismagazine. 26 Kenneth Burke. 2010). May 21–23. 1970): 97–108. Padua. 2011).” Phi- losophy and Rhetoric 3. 2005). As it turns out. Persuasive Technology.

Gross. “What If We’re Not Producing Knowledge? C ­ ritical ­Reflections on the Rhetorical Criticism of Science.” Computers and Composition 25. and Mark Lochrie. and Literary Theory. Proceedings of Theory of Rhetoric: An Interdisciplinary Conference. Jr. Alan G. 1999). “Second Thoughts on the Critiques of Big Rhetoric. no. 49 Ibid.” Central States Speech Journal 18. Paul. 54 Ian Bogost. Brown. “The Rhetoric of Video Games.” Phi- losophy and Rhetoric 34. 2013). 43.. Dilip Parameshwar.” in Cultural Methodologies. 137. 43 Scot Consigny.” in The Ecology of Games: Connecting Youth.. Thomas J. 2. 2. Persuasive Games. McAllister. 40 Richard A. Lanham. 45 Aristotle.. Gross and William M. Scott. 41 Ibid. Robert L. Style. “Why the ‘Epistemic’ in Epistemic Rhetoric? The Paradox of Rhetoric as Performance. videogame. trans. 50 Ibid. Wordplay and the Discourse of Videogames: Analyz- ing Words. “Process. 1994). and Martin J.” Text and Performance Quarterly 15 (1995): 192. 60 Edward Schiappa. “The Idea of Rhetoric in the Rhetoric of S­ cience. Persuasive Games. 4 4 Bogost. Games.4. Persuasive Games.” 47 Bran Knowles. Jim McGuigan (London: Sage. “‘Con- vince Us’: An Argument for the Morality of Persuasion. 1996). ed.” in Rhetorical ­Hermeneutics. Paratexts. Persuasive Technologies in the Rhetoric of Videogames  57 39 Bogost. Cherwitz and Darwin. Persuasive Games. 45. 153. 54–58. 52 Sharon Crowley and Debra Hawhee. 42 Ibid. “Critical Theory and British Cultural Studies: The Missed Articulation. MA: Allyn and Bacon. Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students (Boston. Ambient Rhetoric: The Attunements of Rhetorical Being (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh. no. 155. 51 Thomas Rickert. and the Arts (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. no. 2007). ed. and ... 1979). Keith (New York: SUNY Press. 3 (2008): 270–283. 35. Alan G. no. 1 (2010): 8.” Rhetoric 78. 55 Bogost. 156. 2014). Benjamin Wohl.” Rhetorical Hermeneutics. George Kennedy (Oxford: Oxford University Press. ­Gaonkar. Rhetoric of Motives (Berkeley: University of California Press. Power. 2013). Katie Salen (Cambridge. 46 Bogost.2. and Mark Lochrie. 62 Ibid. Paul. 1996). 1 (1967): 13. 64 Douglas Kellner. 2. 1997).” CSCW Workshop Proceedings. 59 Robert L. 48 Bran Knowles. On Rhetoric: Toward a Theory of Civic Discourse. ed. III. 2008). 56 Kenneth Burke..” Journal of Virtual Worlds Research 3. ed. “Public Writing in Gaming Spaces. 25 quoted in Ken S. Benjamin Wohl. 63 Matthew S. and Texts: Rhetorical Analysis in Virtual Worlds. The Electronic Word: Democracy. 68–83. 173. Richard A. Johnson. Steinmann (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Center for Advanced Studies in Language. 1404e. 3 (2001): 260. Paul Coulton. 155. Technology. 57 Christopher A. 53 Bogost. Game Work: Language. “Funemployed Playborers. 1968). 58 See Alan G. Keith (New York: SUNY Press. 3. Barter (University of Lancaster. ed. 9 (2014): 2. “On Viewing Rhetoric as Epistemic. MA: The MIT Press. Gross and ­William M. and Learning. and Play (New York: Routledge. 61 Christopher A. 62. 17. Paul Coulton. “Rhetorical Concealment. Design.S.

2017. “Poststructuralism. The weak and strong defenses function more like ratios to help us classify different approaches to rhetoric. controller. accessed May 15. 68 James A. McAllister and Ryan Moeller. Wolf and Bernard Perron (New York: Routledge. 70 Mia Consalvo. 3. 2009. 52. 43/44.” 21. 72 Lanhan. Voorhees.” presentation at SIGDOC’09. 71 Gerald A. 1 ­(Autumn. 29. 2004).. 2016). “ .. Bogost is not alone in this regard. 66 Ibid. Game Work. and Roleplaying Games. James Paul Gee. 79 Voorhees. “Don’t Hate the Player.firstpersonscholar. 43. “Hot Dates and Fairy-Tale Romances: Studying Sexuality in Video games. 3. Mark J. screen. Game Studies. 2003). 76 Ibid. what I am diagnosing here are specific articulations of the strong defense as it has been applied to videogames. 80 Ibid. accessed May 15. 65 McAllister. “Introduction: Do You Believe in Rhetoric and Composition?” in Thinking with Bruno Latour in Rhetoric and Composition.” Rhetoric Review 11. “The Character of Difference: Procedurality. 14–18. Gee admits that he is much more interested in how “gamers can project their own goals and values” in a game rather than in Arjoranta’s exploration of how the game. no. http://gamestudies.” Critical Studies in Media Communica- tion 26. www. ed. October 5–7. 44. 2014. See also Dave Jones. 2 (Jun. Electronic Word. 2009): 128–144.. See also Ken S. consider Voorhees’s Burkean analysis of Japanese designer Hironobu Sakaguchi’s Final Fantasy series: “Firmly grounded in the lessons of Marx and Freud. 156 quoted in Paul Lynch and Nathaniel A.” Game Studies 9. 26. Bloomington. Rhetoric. Capitalizing on Play: The Politics of Computer Gaming in Works and Days. 67 Ibid. Hate the Game: The Racialization of Labor in the World of Warcraft. “Discussant’s Reply. 156. 171–194. Voorhees. 1992): 28.. Cultural Studies. no. certainly. 74 As an example. 77 Berlin. Game Work. March 5.58  Theorizing Procedural Habits Computer Game Culture (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama. no.P. 69 Lisa Nakamura. was a reader of McLuhan and was in no way presupposing a strict Cartesian subject. and the Composi- tion Classroom: Postmodern Theory in Practice.” Gerald A. I reject Cartesian constructions of the subject/player as the coherent and self-sovereign arbiter of his or her own experience.. 75 Lanham. neither are proponents of social-epistemic rhetoric.” First Person Scholar. Electronic Word. 22 (2004). 2017. ­Lanham. editors. Paul Lynch and Nathaniel Rivers (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. ed. 73 To be fair to Lanham’s rich and complex discussion of the strong defense.” in The Video Game Theory Reader. or environmental situatedness might project its own relations and forces onto the player’s body and mind. Indiana. “Accounting for Af- fective Response in Videogames. ­Rivers. Berlin. 78 McAllister. In fact. Gee’s reply to games studies researcher Jonne Arjoranta’s effort to raise the issue of em- bodied cognition and videogames as part of procedural literacy is telling. 3. McAllister and Moeller’s special issue of Work and Days on videogames also contains multiple essays that take a similar orientation toward capitalism and videogames. 2 (2009).

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write. reason. I laid out the argument that Fogg’s work is use- ful as a limit case for videogame rhetoric by highlighting an extreme view of the importance of habits and what we would typically view as mundane interface design elements in videogames that produce them. Even prior to Malabou. or Deleuze.” Taken from the Greek verb plassein. such as Bergson.”1 ­Malabou argues that the plasticity of the body is not elastic (i. including the role of social. The first section of this chapter establishes a theoretical basis for procedural habits through one of the earliest non-mechanistic concep- tions of habit: Aristotle’s concept of hexis. It is true that I could just as easily start with more recent theoretical work on habit. Procedural habits is what enables us to use the idea of a mundane habit-shaping design element—which Fogg’s work foregrounds—as a site through which to rethink the expressive/mundane boundaries to argue that mundane vid- eogame design elements are equally as expressive rhetorical actors as traditional texts. environmental.2 From Persuasive Technologies to Procedural Habits In the previous chapter. Where mechanism in videogame rhetoric circumscribes habit’s role in rhetoric to the weak defense (mind/body dualism) or the strong defense (culture/nature dualism). Bourdieu. many twentieth-century continental theorists. as do the . It is therefore necessary to expand the idea of persua- sive technologies in this chapter through what I am calling procedural habits. springing back to its original form) and fixed but malleable in relation- ship to the environments that we form particular habits within.e. procedural habits expands these ac- counts by exploring how non-mechanistic habits co-constitute the ways in which we think. such as Catherine ­Malabou’s work on “plasticity. I also indicated that the idea of a persuasive technology requires a more complex understanding of the relationship between habit and rhetoric to understand how habits function in rhetoric for players’ creative rhetori- cal actions as well. also offer similar non-mechanistic conceptions of habit that are not grounded in virtue ethics. and material contexts that structure these activities.. plasticity denotes how bodies “take form (as in the plasticity of clay) and to give form (as in the plastic arts and plastic surgery). and communicate through the play and design of videogames.

and following from the first point.” to clarify whether procedural habits are rhetorical. In the second section of this chapter. Far from departing from Aristotle’s discussion of hexis. ­A ristotle remains an important starting place for proce- dural habits. rhetorical actions. procedural habits are non-discursive in nature. habit. I also examine some points of overlap and departure between procedural habits and rhetoricians’ current interests in the vibrancy of matter. procedural habits are not (always) forms of mindless repeti- tion. instead. ethos forms into a hexis. which the sub- sequent case studies illustrate. which ‘ends up as our [second] nature’ [physis]. Secondly. and even thought itself. I offer a brief compar- ison of the philosopher Richard Sennett’s discussion of the “craftsman” . ­Nevertheless. and tendency. the philosopher Claire Carlisle argues that twentieth.and twenty-­fi rst century non-mechanistic treatments like plasticity “[have] much in ­common with far older concepts of disposition. First. indeed. As ­individuals mature.”2 Most—if not all—non-mechanistic theories of habit. which characterizes the achievement of a semi-­permanent and non-mechanistic second nature—a habit—that guides creative ethical conduct. procedural habits form regardless of whether a particular habit-shaping mechanism is present. To highlight this point. Carlisle continues. because they form in response to the agency of the environmental objects around us. From Persuasive Technologies to Procedural Habits  65 American pragmatist philosophers like John Dewey and William James. “simply elaborate the Aristotelian thesis that moral virtue is ‘the child of habit [ethos]’. I suggest that the basic theoretical framework of Aristotelian hexis is sufficient to illustrate several primary implications of procedural habits for videogame rhetoric.4 Thirdly. I high- light how ­A ristotle also ­discusses ethos as an ongoing process of habit- uation through a rhetor’s lifelong ­adaptation to his social and physical environments.”3 While videogame rhetoric scholarship and. and even hexis itself. The pres- ence or absence of a habit-shaping mechanism does not allow us to avoid theorizing how expressive and mundane forms of rhetoric form habits (hexeis)—a point I demonstrate by considering how ethical dispositions can form through structural (Foggian) opportunities to behave charita- bly while playing the MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-­ Playing Game) WoW (World of Warcraft). repetition can serve as a sign of a player’s active refinement in a localized ecology of play even when performing what seems like re- petitive embodied actions. digital rhetoric frequently treat ethos as an artistic proof (pisteis). and directly related to researchers’ conceptions of videogame rhetoric. I briefly feature Ravaisson’s Darwinian extension of A ­ ristotle’s hexis to demonstrate that procedural habits differ from other forms of em- bodiment because they are grounded in repetition and the creation of a semi-permanent (but changeable) form through the incorporation of a habit into a body by lessening our bodily attention to the strength of the original environmental trigger. such as Thomas Rickert’s discussion of “ambi- ent rhetoric.

­Nevertheless.66  Theorizing Procedural Habits in the context of examining the operation of a player’s hands on the keyboard while playing WoW. As a result. particu- larly among scholars who have engaged Bogost’s procedural rhetoric. the US Marines’ educational training simulator that trains soldiers to put on different rhetorical personas in their day-to-day interactions with civilian populations. however. we cannot study a procedural habit produced in a vid- eogame in isolation from its entire assemblage. since procedural habits inform players’ dispositions.8 These concep- tions are widely found within videogame rhetoric scholarship. an instru- mental artistic techne discussed in Aristotle’s Rhetoric. Among current uses in digital rhetoric scholarship. in my belief. nor can we assume that a purely human or social motive for producing a procedural habit is the rhetorical prime mover.7 Elizabeth Losh offers two representative examples: how a web designer maintains the ethos—“the character or image of rhetorical credibility”—of a legisla- tor’s website. because conceptions of ethos as artistic proof serve as further evidence of the extent to which our field imagines the rhetoric of videogames to turn on an expressive/mundane binary.6 Hexis is also not a term widely encountered in contem- porary rhetoric and composition research even within the—by now—­ considerable corpus of texts that focus on embodied rhetoric and writing practices. many of us are familiar with Aristotle’s ethos as a manufactured credibility. still highly rele- vant treatments of how ethos shapes the hexeis to offer us a theoretical framework in which habits produce our rhetorical practices rather than stultify or oppose creative thinking and agency as Kantian mechanism holds. For example. first re- quires a shift from prevailing conceptions among videogame and digital rhetoric scholars of ethos as an artistic proof to ethos as an ongoing form of character formation. even by scholars who have revisited ancient Greek thinkers like Isocrates5 or the sophists in this context. Michael A. and finally. Echoing my reference at the end of the previous chapter to Latour’s ANT or Bennett’s new materialist challenges to the culture/ nature divide. and Tactical Iraqi. Ethos and Hexis as Rhetorical Habituation While many other ancient Greek terms have been applied or updated for digital rhetoric. Fourthly. This brief detour through ethos is in no way tan- gential to my book’s arguments. then it will also be within videogames’ mundane habit-shaping elements where we will find opportunities to intervene in procedural habits. Working toward this understanding of hexis. hexis has enjoyed no parallel renaissance in vid- eogame rhetoric or digital rhetoric scholarship. it is within Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics where we can find one of the earliest and. Evans expands Bogost’s procedural rhetoric . procedural habits shifts us from a primary orientation of critique to a mentality of trac- ing how actual player habits form through play in ­actor-networks or assemblages.

that the real world works as represented in the procedural rhetoric of the game. and that the designers are present- ing the whole truth with integrity (arête)?9 These are just some of many other examples of ethos as pisteis in past and contemporary digital rhetoric and writing scholarship. In her seminal discussion of how the internet impacts scholarly discussions of ethos. highlighting again my exigency for exploring procedural habits.” thereby encouraging technical communication researchers to analyze usability in persuasive games by asking questions. Aristotle’s conception of ethos stems in part from Homeric conceptions of ethea (plural of ethos). Nicotra confirms that the lines between ethos and êthos were porous in many ancient Greek understandings. Nicotra revisits the entry from Liddell and Scott’s Lexicon that Corts cites to discover that êthos was also defined at times as “an accustomed place.”16 As a prominent case in point. haunts and abodes for animals.14 By contrast. Yoos is concerned that some essential part of the self will be concealed or masked and should instead be revealed through rhetorical production. complaining ­“Aristotle’s [emphasis on feigned êthos] invites pretense and dissem- bling. From Persuasive Technologies to Procedural Habits  67 through the idea of “procedural ethos.15 Jodie A. designer. In one of the first essays in rhe- torical tradition to raise this distinction. Thomas Corts via Liddell and Scott’s A Greek-English Lexicon suggests that English translations of ethos often conflate two related but distinct meanings: êthos ­(character) and ethos (habituation).11 Êthos is akin to a performance or a mask that a writer. viewing ethos only as an artistic proof avoids acknowledging its richer embodied and material connotations in a de facto expressive/mundane division.10 To be clear. the past few decades have seen many researchers reclaim ethos in Corts’s second sense: as an ongoing mode of habituation that cultivates a dynamically emerging rhetorical self over the course of an individual’s life. this conception of ethos is accurate and useful for explor- ing certain rhetorical elements of videogames. it is critically import- ant to connect a given conception of videogame rhetoric to its theoret- ical underpinnings.”12 We see evidence of this tacit pre-fixed rhetorical subject beneath this conception in a response to Corts’s essay by George Yoos. which characterizes the ways that animals or barbarians become habituated to certain repetitive practices of dwelling .”13 Not unlike Plato’s general distrust of sophistic rhetoric. or player can put on or take off without altering the fundamental nature of the inventing subject. who would actually speak the words. However. Miller offers the classical example of Lysias the logographer’s use of ethopoeia to “create in a prepared speech an effective character for the accused. The latter offers a tacit confirmation of the weak defense of rhetoric that supports this view. Carolyn R. such as: Is a player convinced that the game play or simulation is a fair and just model of reality. In this case.

18 Rather than being entirely responsible for setting rhetoric into motion.17 Given this connection to habituation. While Greek conceptions of “nature” include elements of what many of us mean by this term now. the abodes or habitats. Hyde’s approach to ethos still tends to ground rhetoric primarily in discourse. ethea) where people can deliberate about and ‘know to- gether’ (con-scientia) some matter of interest. He declares: Abiding by this more ‘primordial’ meaning of the term. Fleckenstein’s definition of “cyberethos. stating: Excellence of character results from habituation [ethos]—which is in fact the source of the name it has acquired [êthikê]. relies upon non-purely-discursive or social dispositions that form at the intersection between nature and culture to cultivate what he famously calls our “sec- ond nature” in On Memory and Recollection. a capacity or potentiality for change in an identity that was by no means pre-fixed or established. 22 The opening lines of the second book of the Nicomachean Ethics confirm this fact. Michael J. where a person’s ethics and moral character take form and develop. 20 Hexis and Second Nature While a productive starting place. then we also would be obliged to start examining how de- signers’ and players’ rhetorical activities are produced by their dynamic relationship to a wide variety of ongoing social forces and contexts. Hyde concludes that rhetors are instead conditioned by how the spaces in which we engage in rhetorical activities are shaped by discourses that produce them. one can understand the phrase ‘the ethos of rhetoric’ to refer to the way discourse is used to transform space and time into ‘dwelling place’ (ethos. importantly. the word for . such as Kristie S.” which combines Aristotle’s ethos with Batesonian cybernetics.68  Theorizing Procedural Habits that are specific to particular environments. such as the undeveloped or uncultivated land that opposes developed city or urban space. which emerges out of ethos. and to theorize ethos as the ways in which rhetorical selves fluidly emerge through an ongoing process of social and discursive habituation. Hyde offers one of the first major arguments for rhetoricians to move beyond limiting ethos to the ordinary credibility or moral character of the speaker.19 By extension. if our goal is to examine ethos in a videogame. Aristotle’s understanding of physis also refers to the development of “character” and “temperament” and. pl. 21 To actually view these sorts of rhetorical activities as stemming from habit requires examining how Aristotle’s notion of hexis. A few digital rhetoricians have explored this side as well. Such places define the grounds.

In the context of her discussion of the use of classi- cal rhetoric for theorizing emotion’s role in composition studies. This makes it quite clear that none of the excellences of character [êthikê aretê] comes about in us by nature. many past in- terpretations of Aristotle similarly have viewed hexis through the lens of mechanism. indicating how the close relationship between ethos and physis can seem. Aristotle also indicates that ethos cultivation will continue throughout the course of a citizen’s life. virtues) through ethos. a central distinguishing feature of his virtue ethics. with respect to emotions. such as it is good to arrive to class on time (to be punctual). Quoting the poet Evenus. her translation of Aristotle’s hexeis as “habits” requires a bit of qualification. it is a good ethical habit for individuals to return what they have borrowed. my friend. ‘we are hav- ing’ (echomen) either well or badly. natural temperaments. a hexis does not always mean that a specific behavior is ­repeated when presented with a specific stimuli or trigger. Hexis de- rives from the verb echein. but it is not commensurate with the completed action. Aristotle writes. from “how an agent holds himself when he acts” or “that according to which.” or “mode of bodily ­comportment. Aristotle claims. which may or may not be . but a virtuous person should not return a borrowed weapon to a convicted murderer. our “first” nature (imma- ture beliefs. which means “to have or possess. but. in contrast to the notion of a “daily habit” in our contemporary sense.”24 For Aristotle. However.”29 To paraphrase Socrates’s example in The Republic. From Persuasive Technologies to Procedural Habits  69 “character-trait” [êthos] being a slight variation of that for “habitu- ation” [ethos]. Aristotle therefore calls the achievement of this semi-permanent state of mature ethical reasoning a hexis. The Latinization of hexis actually grants habit its post-Kantian mechanistic definition: a repeated observable behavior pattern that is ingrained and nearly permanent. for no natu- ral way of being is changed through habituation [ethizetai].” While hexis is also translated as a “state. he also blurs the distinction.”28 A hexis is what produces an ethical action. biological characteristics) transform into a second nature (mature beliefs. by practice year on year—and see: At last this thing we practice our own nature is. Ellen Quandalh is correct in stating that the virtues are “characteristics of habits (hexeis) of feeling and action that develop through activities.” “disposition. Aristotle wants to be sure that an ethical action results from a semi-permanent disposition—a habit—rather than a spontaneous impulse. “[Ethos] comes. To determine if one acts virtuously does not actually come from the content of the act itself. Highlighting the importance of habits per se.” it is almost better understood as an “active having”27 or a ­“dynamic equilibrium. despite the fact that second nature corresponds to a maturation process.”25 However. 23 While Aristotle does place physis and ethos in succession. 26 Yet. Indeed.

they change their thinking.”36 Examining Aristotle’s use of this phrase in the context of other sophists’ use of physical training as an important .31 As a matter of accuracy. we also would not give an adult a medal for courage for voluntarily standing in front of a herd of stampeding bulls. that “Habit. However. happiness)—a term I discuss in greater detail in Chapter 6. Rather. few would accuse a child of cowardice for fleeing from a small barking dog. which are brought about by skillful and more cognitive forms of teach- ing and instruction. it is important to affirm that this distinction in Aristotle hardly presupposes the privilege of cog- nitive training over embodied learning. the appropriate response through the golden mean depends upon our unique configura- tion of ethos and hexis in relationship to our specific social and physical environments. Intellectual and moral ­virtues simply represent two different types of habits that we can acquire and not superior or inferior means of acquisition. … agents are compelled at every step to think out for themselves what the circumstances demand.70  Theorizing Procedural Habits repeated in the future. and if this is true of the general rule.32 Yet.R. As a basic illustration. Wright in- terprets this line from Empedocles as “when men change their hexein. which is applied correctly in the right place at the right time in the service of eudaimonia (flourishing. The borrowed weapon illustration importantly confirms that hexis is not a list of rigid commandments to follow like the Christian catechism but a cultivated disposition that allows for varied responses to particular circumstances. Excessive confidence leads to rash- ness or overconfidence. Aristotle says of the hexeis that matters of ethical behavior: …have as little fixity about them as questions of what is healthful. In a particularly telling passage. 33 Subsequent non-­ mechanistic theorists of habit will simply blur the lines between cogni- tive and ­embodied habits. in the widest sense.”34 Indeed. Aristotle discusses moral actions such as fear or confidence. it is still more true that its ap- plication to particular problems admits of no precision. Consider ­A ristotle’s citation of pre-Platonic thinkers’ use of hexis: “For ­Empedocles says those who change their bodily conditions (hexin) deem to change their thought (phronesin). as Ravaisson does. Aristotle does separate intellectual virtues. is a general and permanent way of being. The mean is courage. 30 Individuals’ unique embodied and environmental circumstances deter- mine the ethical value of activities according to the golden mean be- tween excess and deficiency. from moral virtues (“whereas moral or ethical virtue is the product of habit [ethos]”). some of the pre-­Platonic thinkers that Aristotle relies upon to inform his own thinking of hexis make this lack of an essential division apparent.”35 The classicist M. to declare. while deficiency produces cowardice. For example.

but enduring dispositions in the world. Procedural Habits versus Persuasive Technologies: Four Implications This cursory—and by no means comprehensive—overview of hexis is helpful to establish a theoretical precedent in the rhetorical tradition for the idea that I develop throughout this book. if the answer to this question is “Yes. Rather. First Implication: The Formation of Procedural Habits Does Not Depend on the Presence or Absence of a Habit-Shaping Mechanism Since I claim in the previous chapter that procedural habits could help us rethink the value of Fogg’s work in the context of videogames. From Persuasive Technologies to Procedural Habits  71 part of rhetorical pedagogy. as opposed to composing more expressive narratively rich videogames that make arguments? As I un- derstand his work. I develop my reasons for making this claim by employing and extending Aristotle’s hexis to identify four major implications of procedural habits to help highlight how procedural habits differ from persuasive technologies. bodily repetition is the condition under which thought takes shape through the achievement of a hexis to govern any technai. it actually carries quite far-reaching consequences in terms of rethinking the purpose of Fogg’s work for researchers in rhetoric and writing studies as well as more broadly in challenging the contemporary figuration of habit in the context of public discourses about videogames. Thought does not just happen within the body. and so on. procedural habits are also fundamental non-mechanistic conditions of possibility to characterize the complex ways in which rhetorical beings—­designers and players—form mutable. then can a persuasive technology pro- duce a hexis? In turn.”37 The key shift from ­mechanism to hexis lies in the fact that repetition for Aristotle—­ functional. While this shift from mechanistic to non-mechanistic habits may sound fairly simple. “Hexis equals thought. In this section. it happens as the body. Debra Hawhee takes Wright’s translation a step further to suggest. Aristotle would not lend his support—at least not directly—to the claim that an attempt to change an individual’s disposi- tion through a nonconscious form of positive and negative reinforcement .” then should videogame designers strive to produce more mundane habit-shaping mechanisms. hexis demonstrates that procedural hab- its are not mechanistic obstacles to thought alone. If extended to character- ize the rhetoric of videogames. behavior-shaping mechanisms—is not a mechanistic obsta- cle to thought. from building a ship to rhetoric. I want to use hexis to ask and answer a fairly basic question: if rhetorical beings form dispositions through habits. gamified Fitbits. Rather.

Connecting back to hexis. Rather. for example. to be repeated each time the same trigger (the madman) presents itself.”38 Aristotle also explores more cognitive or abstract forms of learning from parents that sound almost like variations of non-digital forms of persuasive technologies. or likes and dislikes for certain virtues and vices.g. we can also connect . these habits dynamically structure how we receive and communicate through our cultivated dispositions and the environments that we act within. When I was completing my PhD at Clemson University. to hoti is in a sense akin to the golden mean. Fogg is not ultimately inter- ested in connecting our ability to contract habit—beyond a specific de- sign object of a videogame or gamified app—to how this ability more fundamentally speaks of a deeper role for habit in thinking. even if he will not directly support the claim that these mechanisms are rhetorical. to demonstrate one way in which procedural habits can shift the points of critical emphasis for videogame rhetoric. “Don’t eat that dog food!”).40 These former elements work together to produce a form of embodied knowledge: “the knowledge that” (to hoti) as opposed to “the knowl- edge why” (to dioti). and. form alliances. WoW is a fantasy MMORPG in which players make decisions about how to customize their avatars and character builds (healers. and its forms of public writing in online spaces. ­A ristotle does not allow us to bracket or avoid habit-shaping mechanisms as an important method for shaping individuals’ dispositions. negotiate interpersonal forms of text. because it tells individuals how to act with regard to what is pleasurable or repulsive. especially. its technical manuals. In the Politics. Aristotle offers praise for how the ­Spartans trained their young: “It is beneficial … to accustom ­(sunethizein) chil- dren to the cold right from the time they are small. As critical media stud- ies theorists like Lisa Nakamura have observed. I was an active participant in the Venture Guild in WoW run by two professors at my university.. wherein children learn delayed grati- fication (e. and habituation as we “study” (theôrein).or speech-based interaction during multi- player raids in dungeons that can takes hours to clear. To touch upon Socrates’s example once more. Alongside these areas of research interest. Let me offer a fairly literal illustration of Aristotle’s hexis in the context of a videogame.72  Theorizing Procedural Habits is a form of persuasion. Aristotle does not want the same behavior. ­A ristotle’s thinking impor- tantly confirms that non-consciously formed habits are not secondary or passive background forces in the act of cognition. However. such as returning a borrowed weapon to a madman. since this is very useful both from the point of view of health and from that of military affairs. we can cer- tainly examine WoW’s various forms of writing. warriors. induction. how to weigh costs and bene- fits. and this point is critically important to bear in mind. 39 In his discussion about how we learn ethical principles (archai). Unlike Aristotle. Once again. ­A ristotle also claims that we use sensation. paladins). Cynthia Haynes and Jan Rune Holmevik.

which is a postcolonial practice in which players in econom- ically impoverished Asian countries use four computers with separate accounts simultaneously to do nothing but mine virtual gold all day in order to sell it online to wealthy players in (so-called) developed nations. Within this hypothetical example. However. these habitual practices over time may make this player more open to the general activity of donating. Venture Guild was composed of a number of professors and graduate students primarily in rhetoric and composition fields from around the country. Alexander R. While our guild had only 20–40 mem- bers. let us say that Venture guild creates a social network page with each guild member’s favorite charity.1). Galloway similarly complains about “gold farming” in WoW. . Yet. Perhaps this player eventually leaves Venture Guild and stops playing WoW altogether but retains this lifelong Figure 2. First. Over time. let us imagine that we had hundreds of members (Figure 2. this player finds himself or herself saying “yes” to donating to worthy causes in different social media settings.1  S creenshot of “Raik” (Jan Rune Holmevik’s WoW avatar) in a Venture Guild Raid in 2011. we can also examine how WoW shapes players’ hexeis.41 for example. This player donates for multiple guild members in hopes of receiving more invitations to raid with higher ranking players. From Persuasive Technologies to Procedural Habits  73 WoW to ideological formations like racism and imperialism. along with a link where anyone can click and donate a certain number of dol- lars on the individual’s behalf.42 As an academic research guild. Donors’ names would be listed in the guild homepage for positive reinforcement. these actions are motivated by selfish means-ends requirements. Consider one player who is initially motivated by public popularity.

” ­Decorum functions as built-in restraints to rhetoric that affirm com- munity identity standards and behaviors in speech from Cicero to the present. but he or she soon began to emulate and cultivate this disposition over time within the hard core guild. such as zom- bies. monsters can be non-player characters (NPCs) controlled by the computer or actual players. the original motivation (selfishness) is not important if it takes advantage of structural affordances to be charitable. This second Venture Guild player did not be- gin playing videogames with a habitual disposition to introduce may- hem in MMORPGs. Red Rum. For Aristotle. Unlike the first player. I have several points to raise about this example to highlight what it means to study procedural habits in videogame rhetoric alongside and yet distinct from a particular habit-shaping design mechanism. often in the context of apocalyptic or extinction videogames like Urban Dead. my hypothetical example is actually not that hypothetical in its conclu- sions. While these types of videogames procedurally reward players who work together to fight monsters. and ecological forces. anthropologist Bonnie A. social. helped to cultivate this hexis to the point where the Venture Guild’s structural affordance to engage in repetitive chari- table behavior has little effect at all. which Thomas Aquinas later added to Aristotle’s original list of virtues. such as temperance. rather. Nardi argues that while WoW can serve as a virtual “risk-free” space of experimentation. this particular player had been invited by his or her partner to join a hard core guild with several self-professed “player killers. this description of “player killer” emerges from a particular style of role-playing in MMORPGs. In these sorts of games. along with other embodied.74  Theorizing Procedural Habits habit. trolling. this player has successfully cultivated the hexis of charity. “indecorous speech. after Robert Hariman. a commitment that in real life has spawned entire dedicated ­online player communities. in realistic open-world contexts. Prior to joining Venture Guild. player killers live for kill- ing other players. which impacted his or her dispositional interactions with others in the Venture Guild. this second player spends her time mocking. First. entirely ignoring the struc- tural forms of positive reinforcement for charitable behavior.” While it has many meanings. modesty. ­Opportunities to participate in vice. or sabotaging Venture Guild’s charity efforts. and Philosophe Knights. and several others. this player’s be all and end all for MMORPG socialization is to en- gage in what I might call. Yet.43 Now consider a different player in this Venture Guild scenario. such as when players want to troll one another. the MMORPG is also a space through which the players that she observed were able to cultivate longer . Over time. in which players control human avatars to fight monsters. this player does not have an initial motive of popularity with respect to the presence of a structural charity mechanism. such as Pathetic Bill. In her pioneering ethnographic study of how WoW players build online communities.

while Fogg directs us toward an isolated rhetorical situ- ation created entirely by a designer to produce a particular habit in a user. and yet whether either player ultimately develops the hexis is not dependent upon only a single rhetorical input like the repetition elements of mining for gold. does not have habit production as its specific aim the way that a gami- fied ­Fitbit does.44 Secondly. From Persuasive Technologies to Procedural Habits  75 lasting dispositions. In avoiding a mechanistic conception of habit. but that we also understand how these habit-shaping mechanisms encounter the broader terrain of dispositional formation procedures at play when players’ subjectivities form. what he means is that someone without much social inter- action will simply have fewer behavioral opportunities to practice being a good (or bad) friend and cultivate a hexis. technological assemblages are going to be part of how these hexeis form. and especially. flourishing). Aristotle shows us that procedural habits are—to invoke the poststructuralist idiom—“always already” part of the rhetorical situation of videogames. procedural habits insists that we not only look at how designers or other rhetorical actors seek to shape habits. For both hypothetical play- ers. Habits everywhere are always potentially in formation and in change during play. As a re- sult. By contrast. which is the highest end of the virtues. hexis confirms that our procedural habits emerge more broadly in the various and myriad ways in which players negotiate a vari- ety of repetitive behavior-shaping structures. complex systems of positive and negative reinforcement across cognitive. Aristotle helps us to see that it is the achievement of a proper dispositional state—or habit in general—regardless of the medium that forms it that is important as a barometer for evaluating how rhetoric functions in videogames. spatial. Fogg’s mundane habit-shaping elements simply foreground this relationship to habit formation in ways that other elements of videog- ames (and digital technologies more broadly) do not. Thus. When Aristotle claims in the Nicomachean Ethics that a person without good friends will never achieve eudaimonia (happiness. behavioral. WoW. the rhetorical structure—the charity donation opportunity—is identical. for example. Venture Guild’s hypothetical charity dona- tion structure is undeniably Foggian in nature. social. However. we also cannot a priori discount how these functional elements operate alongside more expressive ones. Undoubtedly. temporal. while we do not want to confuse the presence or absence of a habit-shaping mechanism with the need to consider the broader way in which habits form. . such as “delighted care” and “genuine affection” for one another. The behavior shaping structures include the immediate and ongoing experiences of playing ­v ideogames as well as the realm of non-videogame texts and practices that influence an individual’s disposition.45 We cannot by definition form a hexis of charity in WoW or in our daily lives without an opportu- nity to behave charitably.

space. keyboards.76  Theorizing Procedural Habits Second Implication: Procedural Habits are Unique Non-Discursive Forms of Rhetorical Embodiment Produced Through Repetition It is crucial to clarify how procedural habits differ from other forms of rhetorical embodiment and materiality.” which proved to influence many subsequent non-mechanistic theories of habit. Some procedural habits are produced by human design and others by the structuring influence of the ecologies and environments around us. Alex Reid argues that there are two virtuals in our field. which we treat as immaterial or disembodied. a growing number in rhetoric and composition studies have sought to engage the body as more than a passive or invisible container for the active mind as well as engaged central figures (Butler. With my reference in the pre- vious section to Hawhee’s Bodily Arts as a prime example. and material interactivities that support the first virtual that we need to examine.46 Many sophists such as Isocrates argued that their students needed to acquire. second natures through gymnastics and bodily training. in effect.” he suggests. repetition. We focus on the first virtual (the content on the screen). They simply cannot be fully described in Cartesian terms. such as Bergson. There are also currently a num- ber of non-Cartesian approaches to rhetorical embodiment. Procedural habits form through a similar non-Cartesian orientation. To understand how this claim relates to habit. “Such spaces are virtual. Hawhee examines the ancient Greek idea of “phusiopoiesis” as what she calls an “art of Becoming” produced through the 3 R’s of sophistic pedagogy: response. Drawing on Darwin’s writings. “Of Habit. they do not have a fixed. and material environments. and affect theory to describe how spaces and environments structure bodies. but with a particular emphasis on understanding repetition’s role in rhe- torical embodiment.”47 A number of scholars in digital rhetoric in the past few years have similarly drawn on canonical space and place theorists such as LeFevre. non-cognitive. But they are also actual in that they have a physical. In his Deleuzian approach to digital rhetoric and writing practices. Cartesian identity. physical. Ravaisson initially extended Aristotle’s hexis from a virtuous state to an organism’s possibility of accomplishment . even if they have yet to be extended to videogames. and rhythm. embodiment. material existence. controllers. de Certeau. it is necessary to examine the first major extension of Aristotle’s hexis in the history of western think- ing. by the French philosopher Felix Ravaisson in his essay. while forgetting that interacting with dig- ital content requires a second virtual of space of affects. Foucault) within the interdisci- plinary field known as “body studies” more broadly speaking. and materiality in digital rhetoric. Procedural habits are a specific form of embodi- ment grounded in repeated conscious and nonconscious activities across cognitive. “in that they are undecided.

rather than viewing this as a negative obstacle. unable to forget the particularity and uniqueness of each sen- sory impression. like practicing piano scales. like learning subject-­verb-object agreement in English. he calls habit a “double law of the contrary influence of the duration of change. because the sun’s . Specifically. or is actively cultivated. personality and consciousness. and Xavier Bichat. It is for this reason that Raviasson calls habit our “unreflective spontaneity … [that] establishes itself … beneath the region of will. and the same dog at 3:17 p. which he expands from previous discussions by Maine de Biran.”50 In turn.. Joseph Butler. “prolonged or repeated movement becomes gradu- ally easier. habit invariably dimin- ishes conscious attention and mutes sensation. From Persuasive Technologies to Procedural Habits  77 by freeing up conscious energy. we need to lessen our conscious atten- tion. such as writing entire essays or books. routine actions can be stimulated non-consciously or involuntarily through cues from the environment as a supplement for instinct. One important feature of Ravaisson’s conception of habit comes from his elaboration of the “double law” of habit. Indeed. to form new ones.”48 The “double law” indicates that conscious attention to external sources of sensation will be diminished through repetition as conscious attention gives way to the strengthening of internally generated actions. Ravaisson directly acknowledges the validity of Kant’s fear of mechanism. Yet. Through habit.m. the organismic energy-saving rewards gained from manifesting the habit encourage the body to retain a given habit (passive or active). we would be unable to build new skills upon previously formed habits. he maintains. otherwise. An individual who could not form a habit would be not unlike Borges’s immortal character Funes who. could not see the similarity between a dog that he saw on his porch at 3:15 p. It is Ravaisson’s definition of habit that signals to us how far from social construction and social-epistemic forms of rhetoric procedural habits takes us. once the conscious mind no longer needs to participate fully in decision-making and habit takes over. The unthinking mechanism becomes almost identical to a passively re- ceived impression. Self-motivated repetitions gain ease and accuracy but also tend toward an unthinking mechanism. his work is useful because he confirms that mechanism does not disappear from habit in non-mechanistic approaches. Ravaisson argues that mechanism produces a creative force in the world that enables us to act. In calling habit an unreflective spontaneity. quicker and more assured. According to Ravaisson.”49 Regardless of whether a habit is produced through a passively received impression (“merely suffers the change”). Passively received impressions or sensations are acti- vated and energized through habit by the same double law that requires intentionally repeated actions to become muted over time. Mechanistic forgetting and motives for action prompted by nonconscious forces are invariably part of habit’s ontological character. Furthermore.m. which becomes possible when the organism develops nonconscious habits within embodied ecologies. like adjusting one’s posture to a standing desk over time.

“Do we have to place at the origin of habit an act of the under- standing which would organize its elements in order to withdraw itself later?”52 In turn. unlike Kant’s fear that habit is only mechanism. By analogy. Elizabeth A. A far cry from authorizing behavioral determinism. in turn. Drawing on Dewey. then. From this vantage point. Funes. as a result. as. habits. In Gut Feminism. have a clear link to the canon of memory and actually free us from have to relearn how to type on a keyboard each time we sit down to write. Habit is not deterministic in the sense that the present state of the organism tells us exactly what the future behavior will be. for example. subsequent non-mechanistic theorists would drop this requirement to examine how environments could produce nonconscious habits as well. Wilson observes that our digestive systems actually shape our dispositions for acting in the world. 51 Here.78  Theorizing Procedural Habits position and shadows had changed and the wind had shifted the dog’s fur. Wilsons simi- larly points out that recent empirical studies have demonstrated a close link between physiology and habit. Ravaisson argues that the present habits of an organism at best establish regularities of behavior that simultaneously allow for the possibility of future repetition and change. constipation) reported . Ravaisson suggests that mechanistic forgetting is not an obsta- cle to thought and rhetorical agency. Ravaisson adds the following qualification: Not only. both cognition and embodied activity exist in reciprocal feedback loops born of repetition in keeping with Aristotle’s previous treatment of hexis. The twentieth-­ century phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty. did not believe that our habits depend upon conscious or willful intention. do the movements that habit gradually remove from the will not leave the sphere of intelligence to pass into the grip of a blind mechanism. Yet. he suggests that the body itself “catches” and “com- prehends” movement at levels of both cognitive (conscious) and motor (nonconscious) significance. Rather. but they also do not withdraw from the same intelligent activity from which they were born. but rather habit’s condition of pos- sibility. He questions. non-mechanistic theories such as Aristotle’s hexis can be seen to confirm a radically different view of embodiment and materiality. in which embodiment and materiality are the products of the environments that constitute who we are. was “unable to think at all” as Borges describes. for whom habit was also a non-mechanistic process that constitutes who we are. as I demonstrate in Chapter 4. Thus. habit’s repetitive temporality for Ravaisson (as for Aristotle as well) is open- ended. While Ravaisson is thinking primarily about human-initiated habit formation. the former are shaped by our habits of dwelling in the world. She points to a 1990 study in which 44% of patients with gastrointestinal problems (abdominal pain.

The point of these theoretical illustrations through R­ avaisson is that pro- cedural habits in videogames are no different from other embodied and material processes in the world and. From Persuasive Technologies to Procedural Habits  79 a history of sexual abuse. other rhetoricians acknowledge the role of similar ontological forces without necessarily calling them rhetorical. for exam- ple. hexis). leave traces of our actions within them.e. ontologically speaking. manner.55 If materiality or procedural habits or hexeis serve as the condition of possibility for how we think and act. What we take (after the fact) to be intentional or instrumental actions by rhetors (e. 54 While Rickert’s rich argument (grounded in Heidegger) is too complex for me to do it justice in a short summary. then rhetoric exists in what Rickert calls a “ ­ pre-­symbolic re- lation to the world. In Distant Publics. Ravaisson opens his essay by describing habit as a “general and perma- nent law of being. When we talk about procedural habits in videogames. then it is in these relations where rhetoric would lie. it is the structure with which he locates rhetoric that is important. persuades us prior to symbolicity.g.53 The way that abused bodies form within various environmental assemblages influences these actors’ abili- ties to flourish and signal. working through affect theory. we need to account for the entire ecological assemblage as well as the particular embodied forms of repetition that may or may not lead to the cultivation of a hexis—a semi-permanent state of reasoning. follow Thomas Rickert in Ambient Rhetoric and declare that since material contexts produce and structure our ability to think and act in the world. writing a paper. red- olent of a world that affects us. in turn.. are they then rhetorical? We could. … Rhetoric is an emergent result of environmentally situated and interactive engagements. as we.” He writes: That is. Jenny Rice differentiates between ontological questioning and rhetorical engagement. She states: We can affirm the ways that..” If habits are so powerful they influence our thinking and actions in the world. It is not a stretch to declare that gut function- ality expresses and conditions our predispositions to transact with the world in particular ways that contribute to a person’s style. screenshotting an in-game accomplishment and posting it to social media) is conditioned by our prior instantiation in var- ious material assemblages. and even character of being (i. We are marked by our repeated actions in our environments. related to the previous implication of procedural habits. not just when an explicit habit-­shaping element is present. we are thinking-­ feeling beings all the way down … [and] although we cannot change . Rickert suggests. rhetoric does not just treat with the way human beings gen- erate and negotiate knowledge. but with the way that human beings are: the conceptions of being that they have and the concomitant ways in which they emerge in the world. Yet.

capitalist subject production and the conversion of play into work). while she articulates rhet- oric as the ways in which we can transform others’ conceptions of these ontological ideas.e. 56 As I read this statement. operates through skill: The avatar is standing motionless as the gamer’s hands are rest- ing on the keyboard and mouse while the raid group is planning . I do not actually care where we locate rhetoric—in procedural habits.80  Theorizing Procedural Habits the fact that human consciousness is as much emotional as it is ra- tional. If pro- cedural habits are never fully mechanistic and never fully leave the sphere of will. My claim is rather that regardless of where we choose to locate rhetoric. As I demonstrate in Chapter 3 in a discussion of contemporary first-person shooter videogames. Rather. where mindless repeti- tion is taken as a symptom of a lack of expressive (or conversely.” what is rhetorically salient for her are the forms of community building and linguistic self-fashioning that players manifest. Nørgård describes how a healer. consider games studies scholar Rikke Toft Nørgård’s ethnographic description of the operation hands of an individual healer (a particular player build in WoW that specializes in healing) during a multiplayer “raid.. While she does not use the term “rhetoric. Above. Rather. in persuasive technologies. or in persuasive games.” Raids oc- cur in various “instances. Ravaisson confirms that repetition can be expressive. Third Implication: Procedural Habits are Expressive Even When Actions are Repetitive Ravaisson’s extension of Aristotle is important for another reason. By contrast. it will be within our procedural habits where the effects of rhetorical transforma- tions will take form over time. we can transform the ways we encounter and interact with others.” or restricted zones (i. My claim for procedural habits pursues something similar. Rice is not specifically interested in arguing that ontological pre-symbolic relations are rhetorical. I mentioned Nardi’s ethnographic study of players’ language use and com- munity construction in WoW. procedural habits demonstrate that all forms of repetition are potentially expressive—even when they fail to manifest the desired behavior of a videogame or persuasive technology designer’s rhetorical aims. as David Golumbia argues. limited to the groups of five players only) with lengthy obstacles of difficult bosses and sub- bosses throughout various level-specific areas in the entire virtual world. then we have no good reason for policing the expressive/mundane binaries through cognitive/embodiment (the weak defense) or culture/ nature (the strong defense). who is tasked with keeping the other four members of the group alive. she acknowl- edges that these forces structure who we are.

The gamer’s fingers dance between the WSAD keys and the spell keys littered around the left third of the keyboard while the on-screen digitality explodes into a myriad of text. the raid leader calls the corporeal interaction: ‘3-2-1-Go. close to- gether and spread out. even as this player’s ability to act with flexibility to the continuous stream of real-time player and computer stimuli is con- ditioned by (likely) his previous habituated accumulation of experience. Procedural habits in this example—even in what seems like the most mechanistic process of replaying the same raid or same level again. keep the group members’ health bars up. Concurrently. and . icons. and again.  through online oral communication] before commencing the raid. From Persuasive Technologies to Procedural Habits  81 and aligning their corporeal interaction through communication [i. Rhythmic waves of key taps and mouse clicks ascend as corporeally orchestrated music: ‘1-1-1-1-2-2-2-2-2-click- click-click-click’. The gamer’s fingers dance around in a square on the left third of the keyboard—up and down. It is as though life and death depend on the performance of the left hand dancing its distinctive ‘square-dance’ and the right hand riding the mouse and composing its ‘clickclickclick’-ing song. No healer who has not been properly habituated to WoW’s game me- chanics can keep a raid group alive for very long. dinging sounds and digital locomotion as the game reacts digitally to the gamers’ cor- poreal interaction and the gamers react corporeally to the game’s digital interaction. This is craftsmanship at a high level: the gamers ceaselessly and competently fuse their corporeal digitality with their digital corporeality through letting their hands dance to the rhythm of the raid. they are acutely aware of the fact that if they miss a beat the group will probably wipe. these accumulated habits allow flexible forms of interaction through repetition.’ and instantly the fingers of the gamer’s left hand begin to dance on the keyboard while his right hand skates with the mouse and clicks its buttons. he restlessly begins to make the avatar jump from side to side and dance in front of the other group members’ avatars. like a spider in a death struggle or franti- cally spinning a very complicated. After a while. numbers. Finally. in and out. Simultaneously. 57 Repeating actions—produced by habits—are a product of engaged ex- pressiveness and not mindless mechanization. his hands incessantly weave digi- tality and corporeality together as vision and digital interaction are created through corporeal locomotion. bars. Several group members follow the example while waiting impatiently to plunge into the intense corporeal locomotion of the raid-instance. Not once do the gamer’s eyes leave the on-screen interaction as they intently monitor the other group members’ digital corporeality in the gamer’s attempt to. There is no mindless or inattentive subject here.. boxes. through intense corporeal interaction. chaotic web.e. Yet.

when Sennett declares. unconscious ability to make. Sennett counters. engaging. Richard Young famously argued that rhetoric as a techne is either an instrumental or knowable craft (or art or skill) or a non-logical. How can this be the case? Let me draw an analogy to this impli- cation of procedural habits from the philosopher Richard Sennett. Craftsmanship through tools— non-digital and digital—is not just a means to another end but a fundamental part of that end.82  Theorizing Procedural Habits again—constitute active and engaged forms of attunement to the tools that we use in both conscious and nonconscious ways. the person able to perform a duty again and again has acquired a tech- nical skill. His point of concern is reclassifying corporeal handicraft from what seems like mindless forms of repetition to meaningful. These are not merely projec- tions of body images or thinking. is yet another metaphor for a mechanistic conception of habit.61 Gamers do not mindlessly re- peat activities in videogames. in this work. “‘I made this. For them. As a point of comparison. a procedural habit is not therefore a mechanistic means to a purely cognitive or social end or a mindless state of social withdrawal. 58 Yet. “there is nothing mindlessly mechanical about technique itself. Rather.”62 Tool use for the craftsman is more than just instrumental projection. where techne. sheer movement repeated becomes a pleasure in itself … it is rhythm. they craft and are crafted by them through “repetition for its own sake: like a swimmer’s strokes. in the context of my argument. active refinement enables the craftsman (or videogame player) to say. “That’s not how people whose hands become highly trained view technique. In A Counter-History. “is both a ratio- nal. unplanned. tool use is a fundamental way that the self takes shape: “The craftsman represents the special human condition of being engaged” in practical (phronesis) rather than instrumental (mechanistic) ways. they actively—if not fully consciously—refine and update the habit across each unique gaming situation. technique will be intimately linked to expression. But equally.’ ‘I am here. Players do not just mindlessly repeat a habit. in WoW this same description applies: We have trained our hands in repetition. a procedural habit . Sennett’s concern is how active refinement informs practi- cal action rather than rote repetition.’”64 Overall.”65 Echoing Sennett’s discussion of the craftsman. we are alert rather than bored because we have developed the skill of anticipation. He acknowledges that embodied technique “can seem soulless. he writes.” we can see the structure of hexis in operation. but rather bodily schemas in action. conscious capacity to produce and an intuitive. and even ex- pressive modes of embodied repetition. the rhythmic skill of a craftsman60 Even though he does not mention Aristotle. Byron Hawk (via Heidegger) reads Aristotle as supporting a vitalist or co-productive notion of techne.63 According to Sennett.” which.”59 While Sennett uses the example of learning to play the guitar. or romantic knack.

The privilege of traditional texts or the expressive/mundane binary forecloses in advance the types of habits that we are drawn to. whether an embodied action is repetitive has no bearing on whether it is expressive or whether it is good or bad in itself. habits enable both virtue and vice. If we wish to criti- cize some play practices in WoW. our habits and dispositions are also not reducible to our repetitive habits of labor—a point implicitly made by other theoretical discussions. then we certainly can and should discuss these el- ements. as I demonstrate in Chapter 6. We cannot just see the presence of a repeated habit and assume—for better or worse—the underlying disposition.67 Once again. carries that a clear non-utilitarian ethic as a vir- tuous act can only have itself and nothing else as an end. goldfarmers routinely hack WoW in tactical senses in order to automate their own labor practices. such as how goldfarming reduces play for some exploited Asian laborer-players to a means-ends postcolonial problem. the single largest point I want to stress is that procedural habits are formed through multiple forces and not just sin- gular ones. Aristotle says that slaves should not even bother trying to achieve eudaimonia because their labor is always directed to the ends of others. my larger point in the context of this theoretical intro- duction is that we simply cannot confuse the presence of a negative habit like goldfarming with a critical terministic screen that directs us away from theorizing habit’s fundamental role in videogame rhetoric. as I articulate in Chapter 6. Indeed. as Fogg’s thinking tends to presuppose. We can absolutely differentiate ethical from unethical habits. for example. promises members (who pay a small fee) a BOT farm that allows them to mine 2500 gold every hour. for me. such as Michel de Certeau’s discussion of tactics of everyday resistance.66 As a case in point. such as when a factory worker takes home a lathe from work to make a piece of furniture for his or her own use. for social-epistemic rhetoric. According to Aristotle. for example. we are not interested. Following from Sennett’s discussion. if there is no com- putationally interactive modeled argument. Indeed. However. Fourth Implication: Procedural Habits Re-Orient Us from Critique to Composition This final point. ties together my interests in procedural habits and challenging the nature/culture dichotomies and the privileges that our field tends to grant toward forms of writing and social contexts divorced from embodied or material ones. From Persuasive Technologies to Procedural Habits  83 is an important part of the overall emergent end that forms individuals’ dispositions of play. then we are not interested. we are interested in habits in as far as they . The website AH Playas. For traditional texts. if there is no writing present. which is why one wishes to cultivate virtuous hexeis in the first place. for procedural rhetoric. Aristotle’s eudaimonia. however.

In Golumbia’s dismissal of WoW. networks of associations that a text (or a videogame) can produce. ANT seeks to trace how unique and localized networks form to produce our procedural habits. relations. the presence of mindless repetition as a game mechanic is a habit cultivated by capitalist forces of production. at issue is the matter of accuracy in terms of whether critique describes how rhetorical reality produces procedural habits. To be sure.84  Theorizing Procedural Habits are produced by social contexts. This first point questions if critique actually captures a realistic model of how rhetorical reality is composed. ANT argues that the social is always in a process of being composed through human and nonhuman agency. First. my more general purpose in this theoretical introduction is to offer a fourth implication: procedural hab- its requires us to shift our political models of videogame rhetoric from social-epistemic critique to reflect on the fact that ideologies are produced and received through procedural habits. a clear case would be that in our hunt for “neoliberal” subject formations in WoW. and secondly. proceed by trac- ing the actual networks of influence and affect that videogames engage. This claim is therefore related to accuracy about describing how various agencies function and form in the world. For these latter approaches. and especially. On the first point. we saw how in most epistemic approaches to rhetoric. epistemic forces.) stand in for the act of describing.” in which she suggests via Latour that humanities scholars should avoid approaching texts with the eye toward critical demystification and. refusing to let a prior explanation (bio-power. I take a closer look at how Foucaultian paradigms can apply to gami- fied habit-shaping apps to talk about how bodies are made productive through habits. In Chapter 4. etc. By contrast. Chapter 5 in particular offers an engage- ment with Rita Felska’s “postcritical reading. We know what we are going to find. To revisit my Venture guild example above. while. as I gestured toward the end of Chapter 1. it is a matter of whether the structure of critique is persuasive if our dispositions are produced through proce- dural habits. Bourdieu’s habitus can be read as “ideology in action” rather than the “false con- sciousness” of Marx. critics move quickly to establish dialectics or power/knowledge at the roots of habit-shaping apps or social media games. and discourse. critique assumes some fixed force. I have two related subclaims in this section to make this point. However. Felski’s concern—which has special relevance for videogame rhetoric— is that continually approaching videogames on the hunt for previously established totalizing forces (dialectics. embodiment can play a role. power-knowledge. A bit generally stated. such as . for example. patriarchy) can cause us to miss other forms of affects. as software studies theorist Wendy Chun notes in her study of neoliberal habits in new media. My other case studies will also offer specific engagement with schol- arship from games studies and rhetoric and composition studies in re- lationship to these themes. instead.

is not always persuasive. she claims. While most forms of critique do not posit a rational subject. if positive behav- ioral traits can be produced through habits. We might play an American equivalent of Barter and end up agreeing with the videogames’ designers that it is better to spend locally.68 Agency is distributed throughout the assemblage.” we might miss the fact that positive behavioral traits—like those of caring and kindness that Nardi located—can also be produced. cynically. that corporate regulation is one place where intentions might initiate a cascade of effects. Working from a simi- lar belief that rhetoric is not disembodied. However. The second subpoint of this implication about critique relates not to accuracy but to whether critique’s rhetorical structure is ultimately per- suasive. We ask students to analyze in writing videogames’ ideological underpin- nings through philosophically inclined. Furthermore. linear cause and effect reason- ing. unable to apply these insights to impact their own lives or local political situations. critique. Bennett argues. In the previous chapter. as a number of rhetoric and composition scholars have previously argued. From Persuasive Technologies to Procedural Habits  85 the reduction of habits to “mindless repetition.”69 In- deed. how does realization alter how we theorize the politics of videogames? Along these lines. as I discuss in great detail in Chap- ter 6 on my case study of code as a rhetorical actor. for example. then. in essence. and other mundane videogame design elements to produce better ethical forms of dwelling with one another.” Marshall Alcorn posits that the ways in which we form. that just because the notorious company Enron FirstEnergy was a participant (“milking the grid without maintaining its infrastructure”) in the 2003 Great North American electrical grid collapse. and yet many of us will continue to order books from Amazon. there is the question of nonhuman agency raised by theorists like Latour and Bennett. “libidinal investments. gamification. my case studies demonstrate how to trace the full range of effects that videogame rhetorics produce in order to realize that we might even be able to use persuasive technologies. a number of rhetoricians have invoked the philosopher Peter Sloterdijk’s discussion of cynical reason- ing. I discuss Barter as an example of an attempt to use a persuasive game to teach British audiences about the virtues of local spending and to demystify the negative influence of spending money in multinational big box stores. in turn. hab- its of consumption with respect to ideologies is not a total or complete .70 in which many leftist theorists had become masters of demysti- fying capitalist practices but. the form of demonstration (in writing) re-inscribes a traditional text focus. and “the most I can honestly affirm is that corporations are one of the sites at which human efforts at reform can be applied. we cannot assume in advance of trac- ing the network what forms of agencies contributed to the entire event. Employing a Lacanian-Lyotarian regardless of how many persuasive games like Barter we play.

she suggests. It is important to high- light that acknowledging the public figure of exception does not mean that teaching students about politics and ideological constructions of race. may cause students to produce an emotional response (apathy. but our patterns and habits of shopping are embodied. ideologies have a cer- tain sticky effectiveness to them. WA. and sexuality in videogames is a pointless endeavor.” when audiences feel as though they have participated politically by feeling an emotional re- sponse rather than acknowledging how development and environmental issues always already structures their daily lives.”72 Similar to my observations about the example of Barter. While Rice maintains that writing teachers “cannot teach feeling.” we can. which are much more accessible. rural Moses Lake. I read Rice as offering a more realistic assessment of the effec- tiveness of certain forms of pedagogical framing. “We are moved by … libidinal attachment and loss … more than by rational arguments. class. which is much more challenging. you must also have an effect at an affective level. thereby failing to connect environmen- tal issues to their own daily lives. The added hassle of trying to navigate tiny traffic circles likely increased the flow of traffic to big box stores. outrage) at a distant envi- ronmental target for catharsis. What we are in discourse is not evenly spread across all examples of discourse. Some of these forms of habituation are not even reducible to adherence to an individual ideological belief. but by redesigning the streets and parking downtown. Individuals may well realize that they should not shop at Walmart or multinational box stores and should support local businesses. Poor development planning resulted in parking areas and traffic circles that were less accessible (and made it difficult for trucks to restock stores). Alcorn firmly declares.86  Theorizing Procedural Habits process—like a deposit of 20 dollars at the bank that we can withdraw in its same 20-dollar form—when a Socratic interlocutor employs pro- cedural rhetoric to reform our judgments. and indeed individuals form habits of shopping and rhetorical conduct alike. This framing leads to the production of what she calls the figure of “public exception. still “encourage new kinds of vernacular discursive habits that help to shape a different kind of public subject.”71 As Jenny Rice paraphrases Alcorn’s comment. In the context of urban development rhet- oric. WA. Rice offers an example of how this plays out in development rhetoric. Rather. Rather. because the ways in which we receive ideology is embodied. “in order to change people’s minds. For example. gender. Rice argues that the use of “victim” narratives. tried to rebuild interest in supporting local business not by designing local currency or persua- sive games. such as evil corpo- rations who wage war on a helpless Mother Nature. One extremely valuable contribution of Rice’s work lies in calling writing teachers’ attention to the ways in which our framing of various political topics succeeds or fails in asking students to see themselves as affectively constructed beings. a city near my hometown of Walla Walla.” beyond an “exceptional one that .

indeed. I illustrate this claim through Ulmer’s rhetorical invention strategy of “heuretics. or activist game designers. as I argue in Chapter 6. procedural habits in- stead form the creative ground through which rhetorical beings generate and receive content during play. recently confirmed the abilities of videogames to bring about what McAllister calls metanoia (“a change . I fully agree with persuasive game designers. Funda- mentally. Levi Bryant. a Deleuzian philosopher of nonhu- man agency. Conclusion To sum up. procedural habits uses the presence of the latter—­featured prominently in Fogg’s work—as a site through which to reimagine what videogame rhetoric can mean through procedural habits.73 The exact same situation applies to procedural habits in videogames with regard to critique. Indeed. rather than invert the expressive/­ mundane bias. To clarify one potential source of confusion. Mundane design elements or genres of videogames can both serve as potential sites for rhetorical transforma- tion as well as opportunities to rethink broadly what videogame rheto- rics mean in the first place. it is habits that fundamentally shape who we are—both for virtue and for vice. Procedural habits constitutes a radical re-orientation of the purposes of examining the rhetoric of videogames from the production of traditional texts toward the examination of mun- dane habit-shaping elements. like Bogost.” which attends to how our political diagnosis can be encoded as rhetorically persuasive forms—forms that I suggest can include the efforts to shape habits through play. like Anna Anthropy.74 In fact. However. artists. and designers to attempt to shape different subjects who see their habits of daily life through play as something produced by a wide variety of factors both within and outside their control. and. and materiality. my turn toward proce- dural habits in no way means to suggest that using persuasive games or videogames as a way to re-orient attitudes toward eating or local spend- ing is a fruitless endeavor. Ravaisson. this process requires exploring videog- ames’ procedural habits as forms of invention rather than just objects to analyze and criticize. From Persuasive Technologies to Procedural Habits  87 exists at a distance from [development] crises” grounded in environmen- tal relations to the (human) Other and (nonhuman) nature. that helping to model systems as opposed to verbal or textual arguments may indeed better help citizens grasp the multiple relations of our em- beddedness within social and political systems—a point ­McGonigal documents in positive player responses to serious games such as a World Without Oil. a number of related non-mechanistic theorists that my case studies engage. objects. For ­A ristotle. Rather than allowing rhetoric and composition scholars to explicitly or tacitly fig- ure procedural habits as external from rhetoric. We can definitely try to shape or better appreciate efforts by activists. procedural habits are non-mechanistic habits.

there are social relations here insofar as it is people that produce all these things … but the point is that the form the city takes is not … the result of a signifier. but rather. Bryant states that it was not Socrates’s questioning that shook up Bryant’s recalcitrant cognitive habits. Bryant declares: What SimCity taught me is that the signifier. a text. It is the result of the real properties of roads.76 Bryant understands that a videogames’ ability to simulate these multiple forms of material and social relations may indeed create empathy for these actual relations in a player’s daily life. he states. In a clear nod for the role of affect and embodiment.2). this type of videogame might be able to help city planners in Moses Lake realize that changing the spatial organization of their downtown to be more conducive to shaping parking or walking patterns might be Figure 2. of all things—and I’m embar- rassed to say—a computer game. or narrative alone. and so on are not the sole agencies structuring social relations … to be sure. and so on. belief. . a pop- ular simulation game in which a player watches a city evolve out of a combination of user guidance and autonomous algorithmic inputs like alien invasions (Figure 2. To revisit my earlier exam- ple. meaning.88  Theorizing Procedural Habits in mind”). power lines. “I was awoken from my dogmatic slumbers by. pollution.2  S creenshot of Sim City’s main play interface.”75 The videogame was SimCity. a belief.

ed. Scandal.” in Online Credibility and Digital Ethos: Evaluating Computer-Mediated ­C ommunication. Disaster. (Oxford: Oxford University Press. While Inter/vention serves the important task of introducing games studies audiences to Ulmer’s work and does not offer engagement with rhetorical studies scholarship on videog- ames. the fact that individuals’ affect and attitude are actually habit- uated (affected) through all of these social and material relations (streets. 117. 22. and a New Literacy (Cambridge. 2011): 72. 3 Aristotle. 8 Elizabeth M. then. 2008). 10 Similar discussions of ethos in videogames be found in: Wendi Sierra and Doug Eyman. 2013). 5. MA: MIT. Shawn Apostel and Moe Folk (Hershey. Virtualpolitik: An Electronic History of Government Media-making in a Time of War.” International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simu- lations 3. Inter/vention: Free Play in the Age of Electracy (Cambridge. MA: MIT Press. MA: MIT Press. 9 Michael A. 24.4 (Oct. 6 Michelle Ballif. 2012).2.I. Evans. Nicomachean Ethics. For Malabou.2 2 Claire Carlisle. 332–352. II. On Habit. Oralism. On Rhetoric: Toward a Theory of Civic Discourse.13 quoted in Claire Carlisle. From Persuasive Technologies to Procedural Habits  89 worth exploring if the ethical purpose is for citizens to shop locally. Rather. 7 Aristotle. trans.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 28 (1998): 51–72. George Kennedy. parking. 2002). trans. are not just artificial or risk-free places for players to participate in and then return unchanged to their offline or non-digital lives. Notes 1 Catherine Malabou. “‘I Rolled the Dice with Trade Chat and This is What I  Got.” Computers and Composition . 2007).-Dec. PA: IGI Pub- lishing. Miscommunication. What Should We Do with Our Brain? (New York: Fordham University Press. “Writing and Assessing Procedural Rhetoric in Student-produced Video Games. and Mistakes (Cambridge. Jan Holmevik. 2009).’ Demonstrating context-dependent credibility in virtual worlds. Richard Colby. Videogames. However. accessibility) confirms that effective persuasion will also have to work at the actual physical and material relations and forms of affec- tivity that produce our modes of embodied reasoning through our habits of dwelling that Sim City only models. Electric Rhetoric: Classical Rhetoric. 2014). On Habit (New York: Routledge. Joe Sachs (New York: Focus Philo- sophical Library. videogames also constitute an actual embodied and material environment with unique involvements and concerns that require a more complicated account of the ways in which any computational medium creates embodied modes of thought (hexis). 4 Jan Rune Holmevik’s Inter/vention also successfully gestures toward a non-Cartesian rhetoric. He explores the “ludic transversal” of play through Gregory Ulmer’s electracy apparatus theory. plasticity serves as a de- constructive différance grounded in matter to shift beyond Derrida’s focus on text and trace. no. 5 Kathleen Welch. “Procedural Ethos: Confirming the Persuasive in Serious Games. “Writing the Third-Sophistic Cyborg: Periphrasis on an [In] Tense Rhetoric. 103. I. numerous rhetoricians’ prior work on Ulmer easily enable us to make these connections. Losh. 2nd ed. 1999).

Bay and Samantha Blackmon. physis captures the ways in which all manners of beings emerge (presence) and take form in the world. TX: SouthernMethodist University Press. 136 quoted in Carolyn R. Oxford: 1940).i 24 Ibid. 74. and Community in ­Second Life.” unpublished doctoral thesis (Pennsylvania State Univer- sity. ed. no.” JAC 25. The former come through learning or teaching. “The Splitting Image: Contemporary Feminisms and the Ethics of Ethos. Jones 9th ed. 37–63. H. Aristotle’s physis means a great deal more than “environment” or “nature. the philosopher Charles E.I 1103a14-18. 92.” In The Semiotics of Writing: Trans- disciplinary Perspectives on the Technology of Writing. 18 Michael J. 2 (2005): 325. “Special Report: The Derivation of Ethos. 2014).” Speech Mono- graphs 35 (1968): 201–202. “Introduction.. such as a lack of willpower or incontinence (akrasia). 16 H. “Writing in a Culture of Simulation: Ethos Online. II.X 1152a30-33. A Greek-English Lexicon (Rev. 15 See Susan Jarratt and Nedra Reynolds. ethos for Aristotle is by no means com- mensurate with physis.I. Miller. 23 Aristotle. The Question of Ethics: Nietzsche. ed. Moeller (New York: Routledge.. 766. With respect to ethos.” Philosophy and Rhetoric 12. 12 George A. Heidegger (Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Hyde. Rather.” in the sense that most of us would conventionally oppose nature to culture. The Art of Persuasion in Greece (Princeton: Princeton University Press. 19 Ibid. 211–232. 222. Jodie A. “A Revision of the Concept of Ethical Appeal. James S. 1990). Nicotra.. 21 Thomas Rickert. Repetition. Corts. Ambient Rhetoric: The Attunements of Rhetorical Being (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh. ed. Fleckenstein.90  Theorizing Procedural Habits 31 (2014): 43–52. It is true that some character states. Scott. while character tends to come about through ethos rather than nature. 1994). Ethos is the animal’s particular and appropriate dwelling place that was quite hard to change once it was accustomed. no.G. 22 As Heidegger also convincingly argues in various writings. 13 George Yoos. Kennedy. . 2001). 103.” In Ethos: New Essays in Rhetorical and Critical Theory. This distinction emerges in the difference be- tween the intellectual virtues and the virtues of character. It is in this discussion of how ethos becomes like a “second nature” where Aristotle begins to offer us a clear non-mechanistic conception of habit. II. and Identity From ­Darwin to Drugs. “The Force of Habit: Rhetoric. 2004). 20 Kristie S. xiii. 1 (Winter 1979): 42. Liddell and Robert Scott. 2005). and Ethics: The Plight of the Bread-and-Butter-Fly.. 11 Thomas E. Baumlin and Tita French Baumlin (Dallas. Jennifer deWinter and Ryan M. Homer differentiated the domesticated horse (êthos) versus a horse in the wild (ethea. Scott notes that Aristotle’s conception of ethos as habituation derives from Homer. 17 Charles E. VII. Ethos. Jennifer L. xiiv. can be a result of either physis (nat- ural temperament) or ethos. 2013). Michael J. Foucault. 11. edited by Patrick Coppock (Turnhout: Brepols. 1963). multiple of ethos). However. Ibid. Hyde (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press.” in The Ethos of Rhetoric. “Cybernetics. 14 I am indebted to Jodie A.S. Nicotra’s dissertation for this observation. Nichomachean. “Inhabiting Professional Writing: Exploring Rhetoric.” in Computer Games and Technical Communication: Critical ­Methods and Applications. Play.

28 Lockwood. Clare Carlisle and Mark Sinclar (New York: Continuum. 41 Alexander R. Aristotle also does not follow his teacher Plato in viewing ethical knowledge in the moral virtues as a theoria (i. 50–51. trans. 45 Aristotle. Thom Sparrow and Adam Hutchinson (New York: Lexington Books. ed. and in shaping. 1103a. 37. Nicomachean. II. From Persuasive Technologies to Procedural Habits  91 25 Ellen Quandahl. As an example. “Habituation. Players do not merely en- gage in “risk free” experimentation in MMORPGs but produce “delighted care” and “genuine affection” from within these spaces.R. 2008). Politics. 2007). 19. friendliness. and Character in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. 4 (2005): 14–18. Hawhee also confirms that Aristotle is not alone among classical rhetoricians in articulating a primary role for embodiment in rhetoric. Of Habit. The Interface Effect (London: Polity. 29 Aristotle. 2008). xvi. 2000). temperance. theoretical knowledge in science or metaphysics). Nicomachean. 93–96. 34 Felix Ravaisson. See Miguel Sicart. trans. modesty. trans. Nicomachean. Dale Jacobs and Laura Micciche (London: Heinemann. Clare Carlisle and Mark Sinclaire (London: Continuum. 1105a30-31. The Two Virtuals (West Lafayette. Nardi. and right indignation. 1099a31-b6. “Habituation. 33 Lockwood. produces his nature psusiopoetics. 15. inflected differently through procedural mediation (50–51). Hawhee points to a line from Democritus that “nature and instruction are similar. magnificence. 37 Debra Hawhee. proper ambition/pride. patience (good temper). magna- nimity. Preface to Of Habit. 1995). Bodily Arts: Rhetoric and Athletics in Ancient Greece. “Habituation. witti- ness. “Habituation.” 21–22. 36 M. 58. 4 4 Bonnie A. trans. 135.17. Wright.. Ibid.. like coldness or an- ger.” 19. 2003).ii. by Felix Ravaisson.. 7. Joe Sachs (New York: Green Lion Press. 46 Hawhee. 1098b3–5. he clarifies. Player.” in A History of Habit: From Aristotle to Bourdieu. ed. “A Feeling for Aristotle: Emotion in the Sphere of Ethics. New York: Dover. 43 The full list includes courage. 142. Lockwood.1336a12–20. Of Habit. 2010). Benjamin Jowett (New ed.. 27 Catherine Malabou.” 21–22. quoted in Debra Hawhee. 39 Lockwood. Habit. but a semi-permanent disposition.e. 48 Ravaisson. IN: Parlor Press. truthfulness. 25. Ethics: A Virtue Ethics Approach to Computer Games. 35 Aristotle. 99.” in A Way to Move: Rhetorics of Emotion and Composition Studies. 31 Hexis. . 1999). 2004). 58. Bodily Arts.1105b25-26. “Game. 42 Among games studies scholars. Empedocles: The Extant Fragments (New York: Hackett Pub- lishing Company. 47 Alex Reid. 30 Ibid. In this regard.” International ­Review of Information Ethics.” What Hawhee calls “phusiopoiesis” becomes akin to the “creation of a person’s nature” for many ancient Greek rhetors. 40 Aristotle. 2013). My Life as a Night Elf Priest: An Anthropological Account of World of Warcraft (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan. 2012). for instruction shapes the man. II. Bodily Arts: Rhetoric and Athletics in Ancient Greece (Austin: University of Texas. 235.. 38 Aristotle. 32 Ibid. 26 Thornton C. Galloway. Metaphysics. 1009b. liberality. Miguel Sicart is one of the few who has suggested renewing virtue ethics in the digital era.1104a4-10. is not a temporary feeling (diasthesis).

Changing the Subject in English Class: Discourse and the Construction of Desires.” Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds 3. 63 Ibid. Alcorn. 20. 2015). Bibliography AH Playas.. 49. 312–313. 168. Distant Publics: Development Rhetoric and the Subject of Cri- sis (Pittsburgh. Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things (Durham. www. 98. : University of Pittsburgh Press. Onto-Cartography: An Ontology of Machines and Media (Edinburgh University Press. 2007). 54 Rickert. 130. Ambient. NC: Duke University Press. “The Corporeal-Locomotive Craftsman: Gaming in World of Warcraft. 2013). 9. 57 Rikke Toft Nørgård. Davis. The Craftsman (Cambridge. 4. 55 This argument comes by way of Diane Davis’s previous work on Levinas. Gut Feminism (Durham. 2017. and the Return of the Subject (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. 2014). 48–56. 62 Ibid. Jr. Acts of Enjoyment: Rhetoric. 72 Rice. Bryant.” ac- cessed May 15. Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World (New York: Penguin. 59 Ibid. 2008). 34. 5.. 2011). 61 Ibid. 175. 64 Ibid. “We’ll Show You How Players are Hitting the Gold Cap. Changing the Subject in English Class: Discourse and the Construction of Desires (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. 165. Phenomenology of Perception. 71 Marshall Alcorn Jr. 2010). 58. 56 Jenny Rice. 2014).. 2002.. 52 Maurice Merleau-Ponty. .. 75 Levi R. A Counter-History of Composition: Toward Methodologies of Complexity (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh. 37. D.. 57. 26. Diane. “We’ll Show You How Players are Hitting the Gold Cap. 65 Byron Hawk.. Marshall. 73 Ibid. 149. 22. The Practice of Everyday Life (Berkeley: California Uni- versity Press..92  Theorizing Procedural Habits 49 68 Jane Bennett. 58 Richard Sennett.. 149. Wilson. 53 Elizabeth A. trans. 70 Thomas Rickert. 76 Ibid. 97. 74 Jane McGonigal. 53. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. Breaking up (at) Totality: A Rhetoric of Laughter (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.. 66 Michel de Certeau. MA: Yale University Press. 51 Ibid. Donald Lan- des (New York: Routledge. 3 (2011): 212. www. no.ahplayas. 37. Zizek. 60 Ibid. 2007).. 2002). 2011). 264. Distant.ahplayas. 50 Ibid. 67 AH Playas.” Accessed May 15. 2000). 177. 69 Ibid.. 11–12. NC: Duke University Press.

World Without Oil. David. New York: Routledge. 2015. Jeffrey Kaplan. 2007.” In Computer Games and Technical Communication: Critical Methods and Applications. .” JAC 25. Jane. Nicomachean Ethics. 2 (2005): 323–246. no. Oxford: Oxford University Press.4 (Oct. Jane McGonigal. From Persuasive Technologies to Procedural Habits  93 Aristotle. Carlisle. Chun. On Rhetoric: Toward a Theory of Civic Discourse. Chilton. Claire.-Dec. On Memory and Reminiscence. CA: ITVS and Inde- pendent Lens. Michelle Senderhauf. New York: Green Lion Press. Translated by George Kennedy. The Interface Effect. 2010. London: Polity. Metaphysics. and Krystyn Wells. Michel. Seattle: A ­ mazon Digital Services. New ed. Durham. ———. 2000. 2011. San Fransciso. New York: Focus Philosophical Library. Onto-Cartography: An Ontology of Machines and Media.” Speech Monographs 35 (1968): 201–202. and Rob Pardo. 2nd ed. “Inhabiting Professional Writing: Exploring Rhetoric. New York: Routledge. 2011. The Limits of Critique. 2011): 70–80. The Practice of Everyday Life. Alternate-Reality Game. Politics. Jennifer L. NC: Duke University Press. Translated by Joe Sachs. Diane. Cambridge. Bay. Translated by Benjamin Jowett. “Cybernetics. ———. Alexander R. and Ethics: The Plight of the Bread- and-Butter-Fly. Corts.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 28 (1998): 51–72. Berkeley: California University Press. 2014. Dee Cook. no. Felski. and Community in Second Life. Tom. Ken. Play. 2014. Bryant. ———. Bennett. and Samantha Blackmon.. On Habit. “Procedural Ethos: Confirming the Persuasive in Serious Games. Ballif. “Writing and Assessing Procedural Rhetoric in Student-­ produced Video Games. Translated by J. Levi R. New York: Dover. 2010. 2007. Ethos. 2014. 1 (Winter 2009): 179–204. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Galloway. Kristie S. Richard. Thomas E. Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things. 2000. MA: MIT. Fleckenstein. 2004. Wendy Hui Kyong. Moeller. ———. 2012. Carbon- dale: Southern Illinois University Press. The World of Warcraft.” International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simula- tions 3. “Special Report: The Derivation of Ethos. Translated by Joe Sachs. Rita. Marie Lamb. Golumbia. 2011. Beare. CA: Blizzard Entertainment. Inessential Solidarity: Rhetoric and Foreigner Relations. de Certeau. D.” Computers and Composition 31 (2014): 43–52.I. edited by Jennifer deWinter and Ryan M. Davis. ———. Programmed Visions: Software and Memory.” New Literary History 40. Michelle. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Colby. 2002. Michael A. “Games without Play. Evans. 211–232. Breaking up (at) Totality: A Rhetoric of Laughter. Irvine. Videogame. no. 1999. “Writing the Third-Sophistic Cyborg: Periphrasis on an [In] Tense Rhetoric. Eklund.

” In The Ethos of Rhetoric. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press. 1–18. New York: Penguin. McGonigal. 2004.94  Theorizing Procedural Habits Hariman. Maurice. Power. Jane. 2007. A Greek-English Lexicon.” In The Semiotics of Writing: Transdisciplinary Perspectives on the Technology of Writing. MA: MIT Press.S. 253–279. Princeton: Princeton University Press.” In A History of Habit: From Aristotle to Bourdieu. 2010. 2012. Rikke Toft. Catherine. George A. Jarratt. Translated by Donald Landes. Baumlin and Tita French Baumlin. and Mistakes.” Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds 3. Nardi. no. Holmevik. What Should We Do with Our Brain? New York: Fordham University Press. 1–19. edited by James S. Rev. i–xi. Hawk. Byron. “Introduction. H. Elizabeth M. Liddell. Pennsylvania State University. 2008. and Nedra Reynolds. Austin: University of Texas. 2008. Malabou. 1963. Scandal. MA: MIT. “The Force of Habit: Rhetoric. 2001. “Habituation. TX: Southern Methodist University Press. Cambridge. Debra. London: Continuum. H. edited by Thom Sparrow and Adam Hutchinson. and the Courtly Style. Losh. Belgium: Brepols. .” Quarterly Journal of Speech 78. 2 (1992): 149–72. Preface to Of Habit. 2009. ———. 2004. “Decorum. Lockwood. Disaster. Thornton C. Inter/vention: Free Play in the Age of Electracy.” Unpublished doctoral thesis. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 37–63. Michael J. edited by Michael J.” In Ethos: New Essays in Rhetorical and Critical Theory. Carolyn R. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh. My Life as a Night Elf Priest: An Anthropological Account of World of Warcraft. James I. Hawhee. New York: Lexing- ton Books. Bodily Arts: Rhetoric and Athletics in Ancient Greece. Miller. Susan C. Habit. 1999. “The Splitting Image: Contemporary Feminisms and the Ethics of Ethos. Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. Bonnie A. 2005. Oxford. Hyde. Merleau-Ponty. and Robert Scott. Jones 9th ed.G. Cambridge. and Identity From Darwin to Drugs.” In Constructions of the Classical Body. edited by Patrick Coppock. and Character in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. The Art of Persuasion in Greece. 3 (2011): 201–128. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan. Translated by Clare Carlisle and Mark Sinclaire. “Writing in a Culture of Simulation: Ethos Online. Dallas. New York: Routledge. Nørgård. Kennedy. Porter. by Felix Ravaisson. A Counter-History of Composition: Toward Methodologies of Complexity. 1994. 1940. 2013. edited by James I Porter. Virtualpolitik: An Electronic History of Government Media-­m aking in a Time of War. 19–37. Turnhout. Miscommunication. Phenomenology of Perception. no. Repetition. 2013. Jodie A. Jan. 2011. “Introduction. Hyde. “The Corporeal-Locomotive Craftsman: Gaming in World of Warcraft. Robert. Nicotra.

Acts of Enjoyment: Rhetoric. Charles E. Redwood Shores. Hershey. Player. Elizabeth A.” International Review of Information Ethics. 1 (Winter 1979): 41–58. 2014.” In A Way to Move: Rhetorics of Emotion and Composition Studies. 2008. Zizek. “A Feeling for Aristotle: Emotion in the Sphere of Ethics. Will. 1995) in Debra Hawhee. Oralism.  Gut Feminism. Sennett. Videogame. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. Miguel. PA: IGI Publishing. Cambridge. Wright. Austin: University of Texas.” Philosophy and Rhetoric 12. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Rickert. CA: Maxis. The Craftsman. M. Cambridge. 2007. and the Return of the Subject. IN: Parlor Press. 2015. Alex. The Question of Ethics: Nietzsche. “ ‘I Rolled the Dice with Trade Chat and This is What I Got. Wilson. UK: Heinemann. Thomas. Sim City. Foucault. edited by Shawn Apostel and Moe Folk. Electric Rhetoric: Classical Rhetoric. Richard. MA: Yale University Press. Durham. Distant Publics: Development Rhetoric and the Subject of Crisis. Jenny. ——. Wright. 2007. Ravaisson. 11–22. 4 (2005): 14–18. The Two Virtuals. Bodily Arts: Rhetoric and Athletics in ­Ancient Greece. 2004.R. 2003. Felix. From Persuasive Technologies to Procedural Habits  95 Quandahl. Scott. Empedocles: The Extant Fragments (New York: Hackett ­Publishing Company. edited by Dale Jacobs and Laura Micciche. 2008. Yoos. Sierra. and a New Literacy. Reid. 1989. Kathleen. Welch. . 1999. Wendi and Doug Eyman.Ambient Rhetoric: The Attunements of Rhetorical Being. Ellen. Ethics: A Virtue Ethics Approach to Computer Games. 1990. 2013. 332–352. “A Revision of the Concept of Ethical Appeal.’ Demonstrating context-dependent credibility in virtual worlds. London. Rice. NC: Duke University Press. MA: MIT Press. no. 2013. New York: Continuum. Translated by Clare Carlisle and Mark Sinclar. West Lafayette. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh. George. “Game.” In Online Credibility and Digital Ethos: Evaluating Computer-­Mediated Communication. Sicart. Of Habit. Heidegger.

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This com- mercial blueprint resulted in over 15 million players by 1995. as the commercial archetype for the entire genre. Scholars from games and media studies disciplines have “given FPS more attention than any single genre. 3 In the present. As the genre name indicates. an entire habit-shaping videogame genre. to make a player feel as though he or she were moving the protagonist. For example. the seventh .” and for good reason. an FPS is characterized by an on-screen environment seen as if a player is looking through the eyes of an ava- tar (“[the] recti-linear plane of Albertian perspective”) and a primary game mechanic of shooting enemies to overcome in-game obstacles. Beyond its single-player game mode versus the computer. through simulated objects with mass and depth. Each chapter in Part 2 explores a different habit-shaping design element in a contemporary commercialized videogame or. My choice to focus on FPS is due primarily to its popularity both as a commercial genre as well as an object of academic study. FPS also remains a driving force in the gaming industry. Part 2 turns to specific case studies. making it by far the most successful commercial videogame of the 1990s. as he or she battled against the forces of Hell through nine levels. My first case study explores procedural habits as a lens to examine the rhetoric of the videogame genre of the first-person shooter (FPS). an unnamed marine. Across these case studies. I employ a combination of Fogg’s thinking to classify certain features of these habit-shaping design elements while using procedural habits to treat persuasive technologies as a window into a broader non-mechanistic role for habit in videogame rhetoric’s mundane texts.3 Affective Design and the Captivation of Memory in First-Person Shooter Videogames Where Part 1 of Procedural Habits employed Fogg’s persuasive tech- nology as a starting place to elaborate several theoretical characteris- tics of procedural habits in videogames.1 Al- though it was not the first FPS game. In comparison to previous FPS games. Doom of- fered (then) the best approximation of a 3D first-person perspective. researchers often credit Doom. in the case of gamified habit-shaping apps in Chapter 5. 2 a science-fiction horror-themed videogame. Doom was also the first FPS game to integrate two multiplayer (“Cooperative”) modes. in which teams of two to four players could fight one another online.

the second section of this chapter examines a primary reason why rhetoric and composition scholars need to consider the role of mundane habit-shaping elements in FPS games by discussing “affec- tive design. and sexuality. with a peak of 954. including procedural rhetoric. affective design is “the process of attempting to indirectly generate particular . then it will likely be along the mechanistic lines of the critical media theorist David Golumbia’s complaint (discussed below) that FPS games lack rich forms of literary narrative (expressive) and reduce play to em- bodied repetition (mundane) along the lines of how capitalism converts play into work.000 daily players since 2012 (and. have sold over 50 million copies since the original Counter-Strike title was released in 2000. The other major object of academic interest for FPS within and alongside rhetoric and composition scholarship has been ideology critique across themes such as race. Counter-Strike: Global Operations (GO).” Coined by games studies researcher James Ash.4 The six titles in Valve Corpo- ration’s Counter-Strike franchise. Call of Duty.”6 In the first part of this chapter. is the second most popular game on the on- line gaming platform Steam. However. Even the critical theory wing of games studies scholarship has been slower to examine FPS for embod- iment. US imperialism (in the case of Call of Duty). most of which retain the expressive/mundane theoretical di- vision that I identify in Chapter 1. Burkean rhetoric. Dota 2.000 and an average of over 500. gender. If procedural habits are included as part of videogame rhetoric.5 Valve’s most recent title. there are more daily players with these two games than the rest of the games on Steam combined). James Paul Gee’s classic book What Videogames Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy opens by stating. and social-epistemic approaches. In the case of Burkean scholarship on FPS. “I want to talk about video games—yes. it is the social dramas of narrative (symbolic action) and not the realm of non-symbolic action that is rhetorically important to examine. if combined with the most popular action fighting videogame on Steam. for example. even violent video games—and say some positive things about them. another military-themed FPS videog- ame. it is often in the context of the popularity of commercialized violence in FPS where game designers—even those who do not make or value this genre—are forced to wage the battle for artistic or argumentative value of the entire medium. In recognition of these connotations. this popular combination of weapon firing and combat themes has made FPS a frequent public target by social crusad- ers and policy advocates. made $650 million worldwide in its first five days of sales. I briefly describe past and current pri- mary scholarly inroads for FPS in rhetoric and composition scholarship. and $1 billion in the first month alone. By contrast.100  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently title (BlackOps) in Activision’s popular military-themed FPS series. As a great number of non-gamers historically view FPS as a cautionary synecdoche for the dangers of all videogames. class.

I want to demonstrate that there are indeed sophisticated habit-shaping design mechanisms in operation in some FPS games at nonconscious levels of habit formation. I conclude by examining how affective design re- lates to the sorts of political implications seen in the arguments of the- orists like Thrift as well as contemporary philosophers of technology like Steven Shaviro and Bernard Stiegler. In the final section. a habit) by seeking to create deeper product ties through affect. By extension. in ideas like “post-cinematic affect” for Shaviro and “proletariatization of mem- ory” for Stiegler.e. The primary inroad for theo- rizing the politics of similar forms of affective design has been through what rhetoricians would identify as the canon of memory. incor- porating design elements to deepen these affective ties and speed up the frequency and amount of environmental positive and negative reinforce- ment cues can produce a stronger dispositional motive to keep playing. these ideas help us view techne. From the perspective of procedural habits. affect theory highlights how the production of procedural habits in FPS occurs because we are able to form deep non-mechanistic habits of cog- nitive competency within our embodied ecologies of play. In a line of thinking that serves as an update to rhetoric and composition studies scholars’ previous work on affect and emotions. To demonstrate this point. such as . Thrift contextualizes contemporary capital- ist interests in creating what he calls a “certain anticipatory readiness about the world” (i. In turn. The new Foggian techne of affective design does not involve discursive fig- ures such as metonymy or alliteration but game design techniques such as “amplification” that produce hyper-immersive or intense play spaces. a science-fiction game grounded in the colonization of the solar system. In other words. I examine the theoretical underpin- nings of Ash’s thinking by exploring previous work on affect by space/ place theorist Nigel Thrift.. my third section argues for the use of procedural habits as a lens to connect this mundane design element toward habit’s broader role in videogame rhetoric. I offer a specific reading of affective design mechanisms within Bungie and Activision’s FPS massively multiplayer online (MMO) Destiny.”7 While previous critical affect theorists like Lauren Berlant and Brigid Featherstone have argued that affect and allure have always been part of capitalism. Affective Design and the Captivation of Memory  101 kinds of affects or responses through the material and aesthetic design of products in order to capture and hold users’ attention. Building on this analysis. My initial aim in this chapter is to trace affective design as a Foggian design element at play beneath the expressive rhetorical realm in a tradi- tional videogame genre. affective design should not be seen as strictly a literal or functional de- sign element but instead as an important site through which players’ bodies are habituated in relationship to broader social and political con- texts. affec- tive design refers to how FPS games utilize interface design to bombard players’ bodies with an intense sensory modulation of positive and nega- tive reinforcements that quantify the players’ successes and failures.

Pruchnic and Lacey). there is no more memory storage palace. habit memory describes how our forms of embodied repetition within our en- vironments of play in an FPS game form part of our bodily memory— the space that affect design seeks to intervene in. The production of these spaces then causes a phenomenon in which players gain a great deal of embodied skill and competence but lose what the philosopher Henri Bergson. pistols. such as capitalist neoliberalism in Shaviro and Stiegler’s case? Or. I suggest that one of the reasons to use Bergson (and other non-mechanistic theorists of habit through the book) is that he helps us to see that even when we want to be critical of affective design—as Ash and Thrift respectively are—discussing procedural habits nevertheless requires us to ground our response to affective design without re-bracketing procedural hab- it’s role in rhetoric. I offer a brief introduction to this genre alongside the demonstration of my claim that scholarship in rhetoric and composition studies largely focuses on expressive rhetorical elements.” Extending current scholarship on memory and technology in digital rhetoric (Brooke. called “recollective memory” (i. echoing some of the theoretical framework for procedural habits in ANT or new materialist theories of nonhuman agency. another non-mechanistic theorist of habit.e. Under affective design. a mundane design element—affective design—contains within it a space of quite sophisticated theoretical reflection to ground videogame rhetoric more broadly in procedural habits. rather.) to eliminate enemies—it is worth noting . this chapter’s case study is primarily illustrative. In concluding this chapter. gre- nade launchers. Overall.102  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently amplification in FPS. While I mentioned two characteristics of this genre above—first-­person perspective and game mechanics that employ various weapons (fists. Traditional Texts and Epistemic Rhetoric in FPS For readers unfamiliar with FPS. as a capitalist strategy to produce affectively intense spaces of play. the ability to recall a discrete memory of an activity). etc. as the ancient rhetorical figure of memory held. do we argue that affective design can correspond to a form of rhetoric other than a narrow human-centered political instru- mentality? I close this chapter by posing this tension as a bridge toward my more detailed efforts to rethink the relationship between critique and procedural habits in Chapter 5. Are procedural habits only expressive when they cor- respond to a prior theoretical construct. but what Henri Bergson in another non-mechanistic theoretical concep- tion called “habit memory. Affective de- sign helps to signal that a mundane design element can exceed its means- end function in a traditional videogame genre and become a part of how rhetorical habit memories form through play. In other words.. Affective design and habit memory tease out where we might draw boundaries between expressive and mundane forms of procedural habits.

unarmed and vulnerable”10 (which. An- other common characteristic that Nieborg points to is a typical narrative structure. games studies researcher David B. However. like World War II or the American War on Terror. Nieborg continues.2).or multiplayer combat sequences with multiple enemies by using a range of weaponry in order to complete an objective. other FPS games do not fit this mold entirely.1). In sup- port of this point. is also a common narrative strategy in classical non-FPS games. as an aside. Far Cry and Half-Life 2. Like Doom and Call of Duty. like The Legend of Zelda or Super Mario Bros. hidden items. uti- lize third-person perspective at various moments. In terms of narrative worlds. the player navigates through a virtual world from a first-person perspective and interacts in single. such as choosing which of a player’s allies will die in a major planetary fight and. situational contexts. Affective Design and the Captivation of Memory  103 that there are actually few definitions of what elements are essential to FPS. Most FPS games require players to balance sur- vival and finite resource management. some FPS games. even within the growing body of scholarship in this area by games studies scholars. such as seeking cover at times to regenerate health or learning how to lure a single enemy at a time from a larger group to avoid being mobbed. In the Mass Effect series. in a strange.”9 Shooting is an activity that occurs within the context of active negotiation of complex labyrinths with obstacles. from improving the likelihood of gaining a given interlocutor as an ally (which can offer small perks later in the game) to dramatically impacting the overall outcome of the narrative. Nieborg offers one of the best definitions of the essential characteristics of FPS: “In FPS games. like Call of Duty and Counter-Strike. enemies. ammunition can be intentionally limited to force players to shoot accurately and think tactically. and weapons specific to historical moments. In terms of game mechanics. operate in dystopian science-fiction universes (Figure 3. . “you find yourself. graft onto real-world themes by using realistic depictions of characters. which meets all of Nieborg’s criteria for an FPS game. many FPS games offer a linear single-player mode with few or minimal side quests beyond the main plot line. a good amount of game play also involves complex and intricate dialogues with NPCs in a rich narrative universe—elements that Doom lacks entirely (Figure 3. even Nieborg’s commendable efforts to distill the genre into some basic characteristics fail to capture the wide range of theme and game mechanics in FPS. like Doom’s unnamed marine. while others. usually unintentionally. Players’ responses to NPC dialogue have a range of impacts on the outcome of the game. like Doom or Destiny.). not all FPS games even exclusively uti- lize first-person perspective. At the beginning of most FPS games.8 The reason that definitions are critically important is because non-gamers’ assumptions that players of FPS games “just shoot enemies” is hardly representative of the game play experience. uniforms. for example. hostile place. and power ups. However.

1  S creenshot of a live Counter-Strike: GO match. more involved narrative architec- ture.2  S creenshot from Mass Effect in which Commander Shephard (the protagonist) makes a narrative-altering decision. be- cause of the videogames’ intricate ludic and mechanistic components. and Katie Whitlock suggest that some videogames that we typically classify as RPG. and skill systems. leveling mechanics. such as complex character generation. such as Skyrim V: Elder Scrolls. Gerald Voorhees.11 Arguably. In- deed. Figure 3. in their summary of different scholarly definitions of FPS. the .104  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently Figure 3. nevertheless utilize an exclu- sive first-person perspective. Josh Call. in turn. Voorhees et al. close off the possibility of certain story lines from occurring. speculate.

a number of studies have demon- strated that this connection does not exist. He has to fight corrupt police offi- cers. Even the more partisan American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a call as recently as July 2016 for stricter parental regulation of children’s exposure to violent media (es- pecially videogames). claiming. especially. consider Bogost’s discussion of Grand Theft Auto-San Andreas. many American politicians. establish old gang ties. one April 2015 British study of school children published in the Journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture confirmed that.15 This approach—tracing the public discourse about habit or play— constitutes one way to approach the rhetoric of FPS.12 One reason for understanding the wide range of ludic themes and game mechanics in contemporary FPS is because it helps to begin to clarify the difficult process of beginning to understand how rhetoric and habit can be linked to examine FPS. who returns from Liberty City to his hometown of Los Santos after his mother’s murder. and family organizations began public awareness campaigns to add age restrictions to violent videogames or. We can also use elements of procedural rhetoric to examine rhe- torical structures in FPS.16 which is an open-world action-­ adventure game with third-person shooting elements (i. especially in the boss dungeon areas. Perusing websites of activist organizations like Families First. on the discursive figurations of play. as FPS started increasing in popularity. CJ has to eat every so often in order to gain .”13 The problem with these assumptions is that there are no empirical studies that have established this link. the amount of time played alone was what ultimately impacted anti-social (aggres- sive) behavior or likeliness to succeed in school. rather than the content of videogames. As an example. In fact. even suggest banning them entirely. In fact. Any discussion of these two terms in the con- text of FPS has to mention perhaps the most widely known link between simulated violence and the production of violent dispositions in public discourses surrounding videogames. Following in the footsteps of Doom. med- ical groups. feelings and behaviors. in extreme cases.. In San Andreas. the player looks at the avatar’s entire body while shooting enemies instead of just through the avatar’s eyes). one seems to encounter citations of a wide number of empirical studies that claim to link playing violent videogames to the cultivation of violent real-life behavior. the cited study contains the sentence: “It is true that an experimental. and discover the culprit behind his mother’s murder. Affective Design and the Captivation of Memory  105 shotguns and laser rifles of FPS are simply replaced in Skyrim V with spell casting. following the focus of Sutton-Smith’s The Ambiguity of Play. while retaining an identical shoot-to-overcome-obstacles mentality.e. “there is broad scientific consensus that virtual violence increases aggressive thoughts. as numerous critics of the AAP’s press release have observed on gaming blogs. Indeed. real-world study that links virtual violence with real-world violence has not been conducted. The single player story is centered on Carl “CJ” Johnson.”14 This statement is almost misleading. the length of time spent playing videogames and.

3  S creenshot from BioShock to illustrate Rapture’s visual style.18 follows the Geneva Convention guidelines for treatment of non-military personnel and non-occupied buildings. Jeoron Bourgonjon. the first of three videogames in the series. these approaches are useful to explore how videogames are capable of dealing with complex forms of rhetorical ad- dress. such as having to start an entire level over? One of the most common approaches to FPS by scholars interested in rhetoric has been Burkean rhetoric. Bogost observes that many commercialized entertainment titles—unlike the explicitly persuasive game genre’s didactic purposes—often contain covert elements of pro- cedural rhetoric. Kris Rutten. We can easily find similar procedural arguments with FPS games. In a fairly subtle piece of social commentary. Figure 3. we could ask students to examine whether a military-themed FPS game grounded in the historical world of World War II.19 In contrast to public accusations that FPS cultivates violence. and Martin Valcke employ Burke’s pentad to analyze Take-Two Interac- tive Software’s BioShock title. Bogost observes how this game does offer a handful of locations to stop and purchase a salad to eat. and economic contradictions inherent in her philosophy (Figure 3.20 BioShock. like Call of Duty 3. simulates Ayn Rand’s Objectivist utopia from Atlas Shrugged to highlight what the game designers see as the various social. .3). but fast food is much more ubiquitous in the virtual urban environment.17 Here. which he takes as an implicit procedural ar- gument about the obesity epidemic. Ronald Soetaert. For example.106  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently energy to stay alive. For example. Do the game mechanics allow the player to destroy non-military buildings? Are there warnings or significant in-game penalties for killing non-­ combatant NPCs. political.

argue. the protag- onist Jack. Burke tells us. such as “children are priceless. The “innocence of child- hood” is also an appeal to broader symbolic values. is lead around by Atlas.. who explores Rapture. and utopian societies. and the game mechanics and visuals reinforce this idea. and Bio- Shock offers an excellent example of how FPS games can deal with complex political issues and themes like any other medium.”22 Bourgenon et al. which combines videogame characters and scenes with an audio voiceover to introduce non-expert audiences to great philosophers. a community of orphaned little girls. Bourgenon et al. Upon the first encounter with a Little Sister in the game. which is an experience that makes her story—procedurally speaking—more compelling than Atlas’s. who is helping guide the player through Rapture in hopes that Jack will rescue his captured family. agent. a group of orphans living in Rapture who pos- sess ­“ADAM’”—a substance that enables Jack to gain superpowers if injected. In recognition of this fact. Connecting to rhetoric and writing researchers’ interests in the texts that inform the design of videogames. or Nietzsche. Jack is offered a choice to harvest or rescue. kill) or rescue the little girl.” By comparison. purpose. act. religion. 24 Tenenbaum appears to be morally supe- rior. use pentadic analysis to talk about forms of writing and communication in the scene of BioShock’s developers in the videogame industry. race. Atlas instructs Jack to harvest the Little Sisters. . who the player only encounters through the radio. Because Tenenbaum is placed into the same room as the player. are a source of ADAM. and agency) “enables us to see not only the grounds of these interpretations. a woman named Tenenbaum appears with a different story and. who speaks to the player over the radio and leads him around from the beginning of the game. In as far as dramatism (scene. by altering his genetic code. The Little Sisters. contra Atlas. there is persuasion. Each time the player meets a Little Sister. 23 The pentad can also read nar- rative within the game structures of BioShock. such as Marx.. For example. At one point. the underwater city. recently shifted its exclusive focus on writers to offer a video on “The Philosophy of BioShock. Derrida. when Atlas. the YouTube channel 8-Bit Philosophy. Affective Design and the Captivation of Memory  107 This title offers unique critical engagement with themes as diverse as nationalism.”21 Where there is meaning. examine published online transcripts of what game designers de- scribe as their motives to create a particular experience (act) along with the techniques that they use (agency). urges Jack to rescue the Little Sisters rather than harvest them. is based on Burke’s purpose-act ratio: players use a moral perspective—­ humanity—as their guide in making the decision to either harvest (i. Tenenbaum’s argument. but to enable alternative ones by forcing categorical expectations to shift and thus generate new ways of seeing.e. the player can watch Tenenbaum’s facial expressions. Burke’s thinking helps us to understand how rhetoric informs these moral dynamics. Bourgenon et al.

Atlas utilizes a purpose-agency ratio of the “ends justify the means” and a scene-act ratio of “extreme life or death scenarios justify extreme acts. Following my diagnosis of an ongoing division between expressive and mundane rhetorical theo- ries in videogame rhetoric. along the lines of Voorhees’s claim that “every representation is in some way ideological. suffice to say Bourgonjon et al.26 Habit’s Mechanism in Contemporary FPS While productive. embodiment’s role as part of rhetoric is simply not a significant consideration for their analysis. which in many ways continues to be dominated by FPS. but FPS players not only move and target. Voorhees.” and in July 2016. Other examples of the social-epistemic approach to rhetorical analyses of videogames include a number of essays in Gerald A.” One of many examples.” While debate exists about how Burke’s relationship to materiality can be read. noted feminist videogame critic and YouTube vlogger Anita Sarkeesian complained about Overwatch’s initial female characters (especially Mercy) as reproducing patriarchal norms for beauty. Indeed. traces links between military narratives and themes and the tacit advocacy for Ameri- can military and foreign interests as a way to demonstrate how videogames function to reproduce larger ideological structures. released an older female character. economics. Joshua Call. within what our field would call social-epistemic approaches to rhetoric.25 Voorhees’s essay in the collection. Ana. a Russian soldier who is the “world’s strongest woman. Grenades and Grunts. class. and Katie Whitlock’s pioneering edited collection Guns. and especially sexualized representations of female bodies. who is the mother of one of the original characters (Pharah).108  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently urges Jack in this same scene to harvest the little girls for ADAM. for example. are interested in meaningful narrative rhetorics (symbolic action) and not how BioShock produces embodied hab- its as a form of interaction (non-symbolic motion). Justine Cassell and Henry Jenkins’s seminal book From Barbie to Mortal Kombat offered a major diagnosis of the sexism of the videogame industry. let alone how habit might function as part of rhetoric. For example. We find frequent mani- festations of this division within other scholarly treatments of FPS. games studies researcher Christopher Moore comments: …games studies often privilege the importance of representation. and sexuality along the lines of Jessy Ohl and Aaron Ducan’s work on masculinity in the FPS game Hey Baby. A great deal of game and media studies scholarship offers any number of engagements with how the narrative and visual features of FPS games reproduce cultural studies topoi of race. Blizzard/Activision eventually released Zarya. these approaches do not tell us much about how FPS games produce embodied habits. focusing on visual perception and semiotic activity (with the occa- sional regard to sound). in acknowledgment of the legitimacy of these criticisms. In a summative evaluation of the state of FPS scholar- ship. gender. .

. elation. panic. and despite Golumbia’s assertion to the contrary. there is more to FPS than just shooting. On the other hand. Affective Design and the Captivation of Memory  109 they direct movement. the player can only kill enemies). players do not just shoot from the same spot while standing still.g. including FPS. from the content of the game to its role in the player’s larger world beyond the game. or disappointment. Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman use the idea of “core mechanisms” in game design to designate “the essential play activity that players perform again and again” as one distinguishing feature to characterize different videogame genres (e. However. RPG. is extensive. However. FPS. as I noted above. As a notable example of this potential.. contemporary videogames overwhelmingly disguise play as work. but it does not exhaustively account for the full spectrum of the player’s experience. 27 Furthermore. As a result. He complains: But what is missing in most FPS games is the rest of the material one finds in the typical narratives read by those who value literature. etc. Moore says: …the ideological operation involved in the production of meaning. enemies. and spaces of play. FPS games have varying degrees of narrative. monitor sounds. many contemporary videog- ames. In FPS. On the one hand. manage inputs. 28 Moore confirms that there are in fact physiological forces at work in FPS that need to serve as a site of critical investigation. Golumbia argues that FPS games offer players limited choices (i. Golumbia’s interest in videogames stems from a concern that while early videogames. They shoot while ac- tively orienting themselves to the real-time unfolding obstacles. Golumbia’s comments might seem valid. it is not difficult to take issue with Golumbia’s broad-based generalizations. social media clicker games. fail to keep an analogue to non-videogame forms of play. resem- bled its analog counterpart (table tennis). by failing to offer an actual space for imaginative activi- ties or ludic fun. if we do not specifically try to theorize habit as a creative force. like the most widely distributed Pong. like Doom. .e. in support of my claim that our view of habit (mechanistic or non-mechanistic) is important. In their seminal textbook. 29 With respect to the varied terrain of FPS that I mentioned at the begin- ning of the previous section in this chapter. other games studies scholars have argued that it is not shooting that is the primary core me- chanic of FPS but visual and spatial navigation.30 In the case of FPS games with minimal narrative architecture. After all. consider David Golumbia’s criticism of FPS on the grounds of reducing gameplay to embodied rep- etition.). and they experience rapid changes between conditions of excitement. “all actions in such a game are completely or almost completely scripted”. then mechanism will invariably end up being the default.

the reason Golumbia’s essay is worth mentioning in the context of my argument is because he reveals one of the needs to make sure that our theories of rhetoric avoid a mechanistic conception of habit. Unlike chess. These points aside. and fun) and Competitive (play for XP/Experience points. one that is important to bear in mind because he is not incor- rect that one trend within FPS design—BioShock notwithstanding—has been away from creating rich narrative architectures. . While Doom’s pro- totype for FPS games released a single-player mode as the central feature with a small online multiplayer fight component. he alleges. he clearly ignores examples such as BioShock’s complex treatments of Ayn Rand’s philosophy. FPS game players. rewards. a game of intellectual skill with rigid rules. consisting entirely of short multiplayer battles.110  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently which is to say. Beside a tutorial and two practice modes. Lacking any expressive role for habit. rewards. Blizzard/Activision’s FPS Overwatch is identical. Counter-Strike: GO offers only 6 v 6 PvP modes of Quick Play (play for XP. have almost no complex choices to make that demand concentration. At the root of his frustration with FPS games is that they privi- lege mundane forms of videogame interactivity over expressive ones like literary narrative. it is fairly easy for him to conclude that repetitive forms of embodiment form part of a neoliberal plot to colonize leisure time into work. whether visualized on screen or imagined. Golumbia offers rhetoric and composition scholars a caution- ary tale. which I mention as an example in Chapter 1. this trend has inverted in recent years for the most popular FPS games. Thus. and even television have always been adept. the player’s mind is either left to wander in the hypnotic state created by absorption into the game’s visual (and its sounds). was released without a single-player narrative campaign and consists entirely of dif- ferent multiplayer encounters. parallels Bogost’s complaint about Foggian rhetoric: good (rhetori- cal) games utilize cognitive demands. simply because the medium foregrounds it in ways that other genres do not. and rankings versus other players). 32 Using this division as a grounds to dismiss embodiment from thinking. the complex individual and relationship identifi- cations that make literature not simply a sequence of events but a version of human engagement … Few people play computer games for their narrative richness or for their resemblance to the complex human events at the representation of which novels. Rather: What demands concentration are the physical acts that make up the bulk of the gameplay. films. The FPS Star Wars: Battlefront. 31 In this passage. while bad (rhetorical) games adul- terate the senses. or is intently absorbed in the sensations of playing them- selves.

33 Furthermore. Along these lines. the nature of online match structures (many rounds with the ability to purchase new resources in between rounds). it is actually more accurate to declare that game designers’ diminishing emphasis on narrative is a response to players’ preferences to shift the location of expressive rhetorical content from what game designers create toward what players’ creativity and social media networks can structure. rather than dismiss Golumbia’s reduction of the rhetorical situation to game mechanics. to expand upon Golumbia’s mechanism or the implied mechanism of the expressive forms of rhetoric I identified in the previous section. we could cynically see a continuation of Golumbia’s complaint that for- profit modding turns players into part-time employees for game design- ers who invest unpaid creative energy with an uncertain expectation of reward). Moeller discuss how modding functions as an important form of creative rhetorical interaction (and.e. Echoing social-epistemic approaches to rhetoric above. I want to look even more closely at how game me- chanics in FPS games produce habits. one especially important reason is that players can use an online user-generated content feature (like map mak- ers) to gain revenue by adding their creations to the game. and in the following section. For example. of course. many popular FPS games now foreground embodiment in ways that more narratively driven FPS games like BioShock do not. While we do not want to accept the reduction of a player’s encounter with an FPS game to a mindless habit. Affective Design and the Captivation of Memory  111 Simply put. I will describe how affective design is functionally used in contemporary FPS games such as Destiny. avoid mistaking the game mechanics for the entirety of a FPS game’s rhetorical situation. I will begin to unpack how Ash’s grounding in affect theory helps us reach a non-mechanistic understanding of affective design. Golumbia is clearly not thinking about forms of creative rhetorical activities that players bring to networked FPS games. players use these rewards to purchase resources in Counter-Strike: GO—a Foggian behavioral reinforcement mechanism.. For this reason. affective design refers to the ways in which designers attempt to incorporate more sensory stimulations during play (i. . making more behavioral cues within an environment) in order to heighten physiological affect across the full spectrum of sensory inputs. In this section. However. it is not inaccurate to declare that contemporary FPS shooters are attempting to produce habits through game design mechanisms. In the context of videogames. of course. Keven Moberly and Ryan M. and especially the rise in competitive e-Sports. we should. Affective Design in Contemporary FPS Yet. Steam links players’ viewing accounts in Twitch so players can earn rewards for watching other players livestream. and in turn. Counter-Strike: GO’s popularity is due to many reasons: designers’ constant updates to maintain competitive balance.

.4 and 3.4  S creenshots of weapon differences from Halo 2 and Halo 3. Figure 3. The simplest illustration of affective design can be seen in a comparison between older and newer FPS (Figures 3. Figure 3.5  S creenshots of weapon differences from Halo 2 and Halo 3.5). but—if we were to call it a form of rhetoric—it would only seek to operate at Burke’s realm of non-symbolic motion.112  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently It is not a term that describes rhetorical effects of narrative or symbolic action or on-screen ideological representations.

Most traditional videogames—like Super Mario Bros.6). In Call of Duty 5. which actually decreased many players’ desire to pick them up and use them. such as score reinforcement. While a weapon’s appearance may seem trivial. the new highly stylized weap- ons stimulated a greater range of tactile and sensory inputs to improve a consumer’s experience with a microlevel of affective enjoyment. As a case in point. the attempt to maintain a positive or negative state for a sustained period of time in order to captivate players’ attention. Affective Design and the Captivation of Memory  113 In contrast to the clunky Buck Rogers-esque energy weapon in the FPS videogame Halo 2.36 the player receives real-time micro-feedback . This distinction is important because the amplification of affect is not an increase in affect but a different way of modeling affect. con- sider the general game mechanic of “progression. Another visual manifestation lies in a design shift in how positive rein- forcement is given in contemporary FPS games. Amplifiers utilize transfer functions to take an input signal and shift to a different output signal. with a distinct non-interactive screen that announces something like. thereby helping determine if a videogame will gain commercial popularity. a player might have to kill 200 enemies to progress. readers may be tempted to ask.—do of- fer players a running coin counter (in tiny print at the top of the screen) but reserve overall affirmations of positive feedback for once a level has been cleared. 34 While the game mechanics remained fairly similar.” Completing actions (defeating enemies) results in game rewards (better equipment or abili- ties).”35 Am- plification refers to constant sensory stimulation and positive/negative feedback to sustain a particular affective state of play for a given du- ration of time. “So what?” Just as an ancient Greek rhetor in the agora would be unwise to deprive herself of the delivery advantages of an excellent speaking voice by speaking in a monotone or mumbling or a document designer would be unwise to avoid the rule of thirds in assessing how to crop a photograph. Congratulations.” (Figure 3.” through which de- signers attempt to produce a state of embodied “captivation. What changes in affective design is that visual quantification is linked in real time to not only symbolic but also visceral experiences of achieve- ment or failure. Mechanical engineers understand am- plification as a signal’s change in amplitude. a videogame designer can surely be forgiven for wishing to use visual rep- resentations that are more appealing. Experience is quantified in order to chart progression and attribute rewards. commercial FPS videogame designers gamble that adding mul- tiple microlevels of affect will produce a greater emergent whole in terms of user experience than can be located in any individual analysis of its parts. more prominent is part of what Ash calls a techne of “amplification. for example. Halo 3 offered a new element. Our typical meaning of amplification is an increase or expansion. With respect to such small shifts. In Ash’s thinking. such as how an electric guitar player uses an amplifier to be heard from a greater distance. Making tiny details. “Level over. it means the alteration of affective states and particularly.

Simply put. Notably. it is the first videogame of its kind to foreground multi- player co-operation as a core game mechanic for completing linear plot storylines. In killing an opposing player.114  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently Figure 3.37 As an example. the visual reinforcement for shooting other players is enhanced in comparison with normal play modes. in Call of Duty 5. and a total +160. Des- tiny. Affective Design in Destiny Affective design is not limited to Call of Duty 5. the score fits into a tiny box that is not de- signed to interfere with the player’s perception of the play environment. Since the release of Destiny in September 2014. While older abstract games such as Tetris do offer immediate point feedback as a running total. such as “Marksman” for a difficult long-range kill. 1x Zone Control +50. the following visual update is typical: “Kill +100.38 My choice is due primarily to Destiny’s popularity and novelty during the time I was drafting the bulk of this book manuscript. (“+10 kill rating”) to evaluate each kill. I want to look at some of these similar features in a different FPS game. it remains a fairly popular FPS game. badges appear in the center of the display along with any crystals that a dead enemy drops. to have the highest degree of opportunity for players to cultivate habits of play. affective design represents a rhetorical strategy to create as many forms of physiological and sensory positive and negative reinforcement as possible. To complete levels that relate to progressing the narrative. . Headshot +10. with more points awarded to headshots than bodyshots.” Players also gain badges. By contrast.6  S creenshot of live Call of Duty 5 match’s “Kill Streak” visual display.

Destiny does have these online PvP elements as well (The Crucible). Players can “solo” (i. Destiny also allows PvP combat in “The Crucible. players can travel freely around the planet. If there is a multiplayer mode.” where players can fight one another individually or in teams (e. The videogame offers player-versus-environment missions across three planets. Humans had spread out from Earth and colonized the solar system. In Destiny’s patrol mode.. Developed by Bungie and distributed by Activision. The Vex. “Skirmish”). Destiny also offers a num- ber of unique affective design elements. Destiny also uses unique dimensions of affective design that reflect those found in other popular FPS games. and Striker) to engage in role-­ playing.e. Following a Golden Age. Destiny can offer us a representative example of how seven million players worldwide (as of July 2015) culti- vate procedural habits through affective design. Defender. Destiny’s originality as a videogame lies in the fact that it is one of the first hybrid FPS games to exist in an MMO network as a centralized game mechanic. which has been occupied by aliens (The Fallen. While players can gain experience by working individually. Survivors on Earth were saved by a celestial body called “the Traveler” that hovers above Earth. providing the guardians with safety as they try to recolonize the solar system. Players can select one of three major player classes (Titan. the mechanics encourage multiplayer interaction. then it is usually restricted to PvP fighting in separate online arenas that have no interaction with the single-play narrative world. The plot exists in short cut scenes that are often minimal- ist and even confusing and have very little to do with the mechanics. there was a “Collapse” where unity and peace gave way to warring factions. play- ers are free to wander around in a zone on a given planet in the solar system (Figure 3.7). Destiny offers incentives to keep replaying raids to try for rare weapon drops. For those unfamiliar with this genre of videogame. Destiny arrived as one of the most anticipated videogames of the year. other FPS games often emphasize one or two of these various elements. Each player plays a guardian who has to help restore the Traveler while destroy- ing alien threats.” In patrol mode on a given planet. Affective Design and the Captivation of Memory  115 FPS games are typically single-player. Unsurprisingly. It is advertised as a partial role-playing “mythic science-­ fiction” plotline. as numerous online players’ forums have complained. such as the Call of Duty franchise. Destiny also offers “perk systems” for users to customize their avatars. and The Cabal). but no other current FPS game offers such a wide variety of play experiences. As a result. “Clash”. which offer considerable advantages during play. Destiny also seems to have an element of many other popu- lar videogame genres: individual players share many parts of the various worlds with other players.g. .. Destiny’s plot is weak. Mixed reviews swiftly followed. but it uniquely forces players to work together to actually progress the narrative sto- ryline. In addition to its novel forms of game play. play alone) or join three-person “Fireteams.

What changes in Destiny’s open-world patrol mode is the techne of amplification: the sheer speed with which the game prompts players to take on side quests. the prompts keep shifting. In other open-world games. Venus. and a numerical counter lets me know how close or far away different quests are. my avatar’s bot companion. players more frequently have to find side quests in Skyrim V by taking initiative to engage random NPCs in dialogue. Moon. pathways to quests are highlighted. 80%. While it is not uncommon for random NPCs to approach a player with side quests.39 Players are encouraged to go to various locations at specific times to wait for the opportunity for these Events to appear. Im- mersed within the game. signals to my character the presence of daily quests from the moment I descend on a given planet (Earth.” “Enemy Battle. . I am surrounded.116  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently Figure 3. Once selected.” “Defend Warsat. or Mars) and gain my bearings. Destiny reads my character’s inter- action with the game space and offers me a steady stream of environmen- tal cues to keep me continuously engaged. 95%) of spawning at various win- dows. New tasks or missions are often highlighted on these maps.7  S creenshot of open-world patrolling in Destiny.” and so on) in open-world spaces that have a percentage change (65%. Even when I ignore a quest and simply fly my avatar’s hover bike around a given world. such as Skyrim V: The Elder Scrolls. numerous websites offer free Destiny Timer apps for mobile devices that help alert players to when windows for Events are likely to occur. by various Foggian persuasive technologies as core game mechanics. players have maps of the local spaces that they interact with as well as maps of the entire terrain. Indeed. Destiny also seeks to create a temporal habit of continuous play by offering public Events (“Kill Target. Destiny players do not have to search for side quests for more than a few seconds. Ghost.

As Thomas Malaby puts it. players want to exist in games in effortless or seamless movement (“games are distinctive in their achievement of a generative balance be- tween the open-endedness of contingencies and the reproducibility of conditions for action”) by solving in-game obstacles. the pause button will not stop enemies from advancing. Destiny requires constant negotiation of multiple enemies of differing abilities and weaknesses. players are quickly channeled from affec- tive encounter to affective encounter. Having played all of the main raids from levels 1 to 30.40 Understanding exactly this principle. Destiny’s overarching procedural message is that every second should be spent on improving (leveling) my character in some way. The game mechanics that structure Destiny’s Fireteam raids also re- flect a techne of amplification. unlike other role-playing games. These sorts of multiplayer spaces in FPS games like Destiny are in- creasingly supposed to produce what Ash calls “intense spaces. It is hardly a new claim that videogames in general operate through a balance of a player’s control and a player’s negotiation of contingent in-game obstacles. Affective Design and the Captivation of Memory  117 The point of locating these sorts of affective design elements is not to suggest that other videogames do not offer similar elements or that videogame designers should stop employing these mechanisms. raid. play by myself without the recommended two player team- mates). By design. such as enemies to shoot who impact this effortless state. Destiny seeks to channel all of the player’s efforts into constant progression and interactivity. Perhaps more so than many of the FPS games I have played. Destiny also carefully regulates ammunition and weapon drops by enemies to force players to make split-second decisions about which guns to use on which enemies. offering fast routes to side quests is a smart and well-founded game mechanic to lengthen playing time.. Destiny swiftly earned high praise from “hard core” gamers for its never-ending waves of enemies once a player leaves the open world to complete a dungeon. I can affirm that Destiny is unique in that it never pauses to allow players to breathe or relax. My point is that. it is not a space conducive to lengthy explorations or discoveries. or offer the opportunity to develop specialized skills or earn points/currency to purchase specialized talents or weapons to make the main quests easier. or main quest. Intense spaces are not deterministic but rather are designed to increase the likelihood of producing a heightened affective response between player and game. Even if I solo a zone (i. The goal is not to create spaces for players to explore or think but to expose players to a never-ending stream of physiological stimulation. A designer can no more control all players’ individualized responses than a rhetor an audience’s . Rather.” another manifestation of affective design. Rather than have to recall locations on maps. give players a break from the main quest. Destiny’s goal is to make an affective habit through constant charac- ter leveling and maximizing positive reinforcement.e. Indeed.

the more a play space presents behavioral cues at fast speeds. players do not look at generic spaces or what they represent (farms.8  S creenshot of a live Crucible PvP match in Capture mode in the Shores of Time stage. Nevertheless. urban environments. Figure 3. It is divided up into a labyrinth of walls from broken down or partially standing buildings. and starting to highlight a connection to memory and embodi- ment. because opponents can bounce grenades off walls and into an attic section where players usu- ally like to hide.118  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently actions following a speech. Rather. Consider one Crucible Match in the “Shores of Time” (Maat Mons.41 The game offers sixteen different multiplayer maps. and the more our desire to form habits to ease the burden placed upon our conscious attention is used against us. In the map “Over- grown. The buildings have many tunnels where the bright light of the outside shifts to near pitch black (Figure 3. the more it requires a player’s conscious attention to perform well. players have to cultivate a habit of learning maps in relationship to the ability to perform certain in-game activities. Venus) zone. The walls of “Overgrown” are designed to create very intense spaces of interaction.8). Ash offers an example in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. . In any given multiplayer space. villages. The space is small and designed to maximize player encounters. warehouse). rooftops) with different sizes to create unpredictable and complex forms of player interaction. Destiny’s multiplayer mode offers similar forms of amplification to produce intense spaces. all of which can contain a number of architectural structures (stairways. increasing the need to avoid moving in a straight line but forcing players to constantly nego- tiate the terrain.” for example. walls both block players’ abilities to fire upon one another and also allow for random contact. corridors.

” From Affective Design to Procedural Habits Is affective design a Foggian design strategy? Absolutely. Affective Design and the Captivation of Memory  119 One mission is “Capture” and defend with a Fireteam (PvP). players must “capture zones.”44 Fogg offers an example of the software Quicken. despite the speed of the game. which offers users positive reinforcement (direct praise) for balancing their online check registry or other necessary but menial tasks. Besides the fact that it follows his basic design structure—in which a mundane habit-­ shaping element seeks to produce nonconscious forms of positive and negative behavioral reinforcement—Fogg’s single citation in Persuasive Technologies to a twentieth-century rhetoric scholar is to a technical communication essay by Karen Schriver. This connection for affective design might be better theorized through Lanham’s Economics of Attention. While the small space guarantees that players will encoun- ter one another. but they could incorporate smaller persuasive elements to achieve a different overall goal.43 microsuasion refers to a scenario when “Some computing products. the audio commentator keeps offering encouragement (“capture and defend. the player receives numerous visible data points on the screen. Lest a player be tempted to stop and rest after clearing a zone. Overall. such as “Enemy captured zone C. affec- tive design represents a way in which game designers can add more sty- listic features to try to captivate players’ embodied attention in order to form a habit of play.” When a player scrolls over an enemy.” where a company’s ability to be able to call attention to products’ style becomes vastly more important than the products’ substance (logical appeals or use value). Fogg classifies these stylistic embellishments as a form of what he calls “microsuasion. . such as email programs or image manipulation software.”42 While “macrosuasion” is the overall persuasive goal of a product. it seems like affective design is a mundane habit-shaping design element at work beneath the screen in a traditional commercialized genre that does not have habit formation as its narrative or expressive goal. Lanham argued that the digital marked an era in which networked information makes “style” more important than “substance. Intuit’s personal finance program. such as when the videogame HIV Roulette seeks to persuade teenagers to engage in safe sex. the game audio will invariably provide an update from some other area of the map. do not have an overall intent to persuade. including the enemy’s player level and gamertag. font style) in document design is rhetorical. Schriver’s essay describes how the use of style (spatial layout. kill enemy players. In Persuasive Technologies. Guardians”) as well as real-time updates about how a player’s team is performing. such as “Gained the lead” when a player’s team pulls ahead or “Area secure” if all enemies in a zone have been eliminated.45 Similarly.

space. and knowable. it is not enough to just observe that this design technique is attempting to produce a habit. affective de- sign is grounded in affect theory. personal.”48 Working with a similar view of how embodiment and cognition form in relationship to one another (but from a framework grounded in Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Katherine Hayles). For example. Instead.”47 A bit generally stated. Rhetoric and writing scholars from a wide variety of disciplinary areas and research interests have previ- ously engaged affect in rhetoric and writing studies in order to discuss how emotions. the con- nection between affect and habit production in general and.120  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently However. after this connection is established. consider media studies theorist Jason Farman’s discussion of the idea of “implacement. implace- ment describes how our reception of digital meaning depends upon our actively cultivated embodied contexts of use.46 By contrast. Our eyes adjust to the particular screen sizes and resolutions that we habitually use to play videogames or the game mechanics within the genres of videogames that we play. In other words. there are two contexts worth extending: first. affect is “a prepersonal intensity corresponding to the passage from one ex- periential state of the body to another and implying an augmentation or diminution in that body’s capacity to act. While Ash does not unpack this context in great detail. ­Emotions are subjective. we need to highlight what type of habituated body is produced and in turn connect this body type as a lens for thinking through broader political implications of procedural habits for FPS games. I have always found the philosopher Brian Massumi’s differentia- tion of emotion and affect via Deleuze and Guattari to be instructive. affects are forces that work at nonconscious (“prepersonal”) levels of habituation. Affect may lead us to vote for or against a particular political candidate in the same stroke that we may adjust our habitual manner of sitting to the particular configurations of the type of chair at the lecture podium in our classrooms. while Fogg’s work offers a descriptive lens and an exi- gency to pay attention to these types of design elements. As an embodied intensity. Here. As a way to quickly introduce the theoretical concept of af- fect. Habits are not positive or negative (good or bad) in them- selves. affect structures procedural habits of all kinds—and not just those that a game designer attempts to produce. my theoretical framework for procedural habits requires us to connect the presence of a habit-shaping design element toward a non-mechanistic view of habit production. from the ambient lighting in our living rooms or offices to the type of game controller or computer keyboards that subtly configure our bodily positions and gestures. between affect and the canon of memory. and place are interconnected with how we think and write. If we play the same FPS game on a mobile device in a crowded public space like the DC Metro . To play a videogame is to be constantly conditioned through affect.

With affec- tive design in Destiny as a case in point. If an emergent behavioral cue in a videogame causes frequent skillful responses. swimming down). and attacking (fire primary weapon. Thrift is well-known for his development of . Over time. rhetori- cal invention). in relationship to experienced players’ patterns and routines.” the framework he draws upon is grounded in the space/ place theorist Nigel Thrift’s work on affect and creativity (i. however. more importantly. complex movements (strafing. “habit” shares a key role in helping us adapt to new affects. procedural habits diminish or mute the inten- sity with which humans experience external impulses to action. A new player unfamiliar with FPS games will initially feel as if an FPS game like Destiny or Counter-Strike: GO is chaotic. While affect theorists do not always mention the term. We may be more aware of certain forms of affectivity when we are first learning a new videog- ame. For context. swimming up. for example. including basic movements (left. The player is initially overwhelmed by the inability to productively order all of these sensory and cognitive affects. reload. right. the Counter-Strike: GO Wikia lists over 100 keyboard combination commands that a brand new player must learn to play Counter-Strike: GO.. a new player will start to develop a basic rhythm for how to use these commands in relationship to various procedural oper- ations. players also have to learn how to use these commands within rhythms of the game mechanics and. chat messages). Regardless of whether we call these forces rhetoric per se or simply con- ditions of possibility for rhetoric. the embodied context is different. even if in-game tutorials are useful and instructive. in which a player simply aims the plastic gun at the screen and clicks a single button to shoot at a duck. communication (group radio messages. drop current weapon). He or she has yet to contract habits to help modulate these heightened forms of affect. up.49 Furthermore. then the force of habit is what lessens the strength that a new behavioral cue tends to have in order to enable successful maneu- vering in the space of play. Affective Design and the Captivation of Memory  121 versus playing the same FPS videogame on our home PC in a silent of- fice at home as a habitual practice. standard radio messages. affects and implacements are neverthe- less important agentive forces in shaping how we create and respond to rhetorical meaning in videogames through the body. contemporary FPS games have come a long way since Duck Hunt on the NES.e. down). To revisit the double-law of habit that I discuss via Ravaisson in Chapter 2. affective design signals that videogame designers have also realized the extent to which habit plays a role in how we make various media practices into daily habits. first secondary weapon. Unsurprisingly. While Ash coins the term “af- fective design. weapons switch. For example. Any first-time players of a contemporary FPS game will feel overwhelmed at first. This feeling of basic competency is habit kicking in to modulate which affects we consciously allow or passively internalize to become a habit.

However. Thrift confirms that it is not just rhetorical theorists and me- dia studies scholars who are interested in claims.e. We live primarily within “systems and environments and sites that extend awareness.”50 A growing number of the discourses of the managerial class have realized that consciousness is fragmentary and that a great deal of our thinking is produced by the non-cognitive relays with our environments. writing. such as those by Andy Clark. our habits).. Thrift’s essay examines how business classes try to utilize these cognitive extensions to tap into employees’ nonconscious creative potential in order to extract more intellectual work (and surplus value) from them.”51 This line of thinking confirms that the majority of our affective attachments and even modes of reasoning are habitual and trained. we find a link to non-mechanistic ap- proaches to habit. His starting place is the idea “forethought” or “rather the possibilities of plumbing the non-cognitive realm and ‘fast’ thinking in general. In part. if consumers’ desires are produced through .” in which he urges his primary audience of geographers and space/place theorists not just to study cultural and semiotic representations of spaces but the actual embodied practices that occur within them. Even skills such as reading. To offer a point of contrast. product design- ers now understand that human attention is fragmented and distributed into the semi-durable patterns within which the environments around us are held in place. “we can achieve great things intellectually. or sitting in a university lecture hall are “second nature” in Aristotle’s sense. Business discourses and marketers have picked up on these ideas as well. that we have always been “natural born cyborgs” who exter- nalize our thinking processes in the environments around us. Thrift is primarily interested in a shift in how capitalism’s managerial class has sought to start lever- aging the mind’s nonconscious forms of creativity. Within this set of concerns. a search typified by a book like Malcolm Gladwell’s recent business bestseller. In other words.”52 In turn. Blink. In relying on what cognitive researcher Merlin Donald calls our “deep automaticities” (i.”53 Amazingly. In this particular essay. systems and environments and sites that are increasingly artificial and increasingly made up of commodities. older Mad Men-era paradigms of marketing (according to Thrift) tried to fo- cus on bringing consumers’ desires into alignment with the brand iden- tity of the product. the relevant part of his essay for affective design lies in his insights for how our daily habits of forming nonconscious affective ties relate to product design. However. Thrift describes basic acquired and not innate skills: “The system of reading and writing trains people to apply a highly detailed set of eye and other corporeal movements to a set of systematic practices that allow the environment to act as a prosthetic for thinking (and allow resultant ideas to hold still long enough to be worked on and developed).122  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently “nonrepresentational theory. our technologies of play and tools provide an ambient back- ground setting within which we can find meaning in experience.

more engaging products . Bennett’s new mate- rialist philosophy is thinking about how the objects around us produce affects and agencies that structure our ability to move and interact with a space or a simulated space within a videogame (Thrift. the aim is to produce a certain an- ticipatory readiness about the world. In both scenarios. Both ideas hinge on this idea of thing power from Bennett’s Vibrant Matter. as Ash argues. In turn. in the case of videogame players. can be seen in contemporary FPS games. In other words. Thrift quickly shifts back toward concluding about the implications for how business managers are seeking to utilize these forces to produce an “anticipatory readiness about the world” in their employees’ habits of creativity. Consumption is itself a series of affective fields and more and more of the industry that investigates consumer wants and desires is given over to iden- tifying possible emotional pressure points. a rapid perceptual style which can move easily between interchangeable opportunities. The first part of this describes affective design as a generalized capitalist commodification strategy. determine) but to harness these prepersonal forces to produce deeper habits of consumption. affective design emerges out of a concern with attempting to appeal to registers of the sense that have been formerly neglected. and so generally producing more affective grip for those things. then a far easier way to sell products is not to change these desires but to design products in a way that heightens and mul- tiplies the reception of these affective cues.. 54 This passage is a bit confusing taken out of context as it begins by dis- cussing how products can be designed to intervene in the ways in which ­humans—by (second) nature—form habits with our environments of play. As I briefly mention in Chapter 1. thereby not so much taming as harnessing chanciness to produce ‘small miracles’. however. as well as the associated construction of circumstances rich enough in calculative prostheses to allow the neuro-aesthetic to function more forcefully. thus adding to the sum total of intellect that can be drawn on.”55 Simply put. affective design constitutes an attempt—in Thrift’s words—not to tame (i. which. or creation. It has also led them to consider the design composition of things in more detail to see if it is possible to provide more in the way of momentary ‘thing power’. is using thing power in a slightly different sense from Bennett). Affective Design and the Captivation of Memory  123 their daily habits. “thus stimulat- ing the emotions connected with things. Here.e. it is useful to quote Thrift at length: It has become clear that affectively binding consumers through their own passions and enthusiasms sells more goods. via the construction of a disposition that can produce a spatial appropriateness in the moment regularly and reproducibly. However. as I will note later on. by the end of the passage. in the case of employee creativity.

once used. Rather. circulation and distribution. have given birth to radically new ways of manufacturing and articulating lived experience. I think the analogy to habit would be. In other words. Habits do not constrain players’ abilities to think in the world. We can see this tension within how affective design links up to the canon of memory. one of Shaviro’s related no- tions of “post-cinematic affect” offers a more complete illustration of where theoretical ideas such as affective design are headed. Ash and Thrift. and for capitalizing upon and extracting value from. mundane FPS interface design mechanisms at- tempt to produce habits of play to interact with players’ physiological states. the more that the use has a chance to become a habit (so that thinking goes). For example. Shaviro ex- amines how Michael Bay’s Transformers series represents a trend (“neu- rocinema”) in which some commercial films are manufactured in order to maximize an audience’s biological pleasure and pain cycles to the . together with neoliberal economic relations. habits shape players’ thought and. in turn. As such they are not ideologi- cal structures. Ash in his discussion of affective design at one point references Steven Shaviro’s comment that “[d]igital technologies. as an older sort of Marxist criticism would have it. it is not clear if this turn to procedural habits avoids the expressive/mundane boundary of critique. The Politics of Memory in Affective Design Thrift helps me to link any discussion of procedural habits through af- fective design to non-mechanistic orientations. they lie at the very heart of social production. 57 While Ash does not make the connection. this affect. However. affective design does indeed avoid a strict Kan- tian mechanism. if a product. The relationship between modes of capitalist subject-formation and affective design is more clearly seen not in Thrift but in other contem- porary theorists who have explored the relationship between technology and the capitation of attention through memory. describe how procedural habits of affect form productive subjects.”56 Shaviro would incline us to view FPS games as: …machines for generating affect. say. Rather. can start this habit-forming (affectively intense) ex- perience to work as an “internalized regime” on as many physiological registers as possible. respectively. one sense to the detriment of others.124  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently produce more opportunities to cultivate player-consumer commitments. The more environmental behavioral cues a product can get a consumer or user to respond to. then the theory is that users/consumers will create a deeper habit of use than if they were to purchase a product that only appealed to.

but players also report that they have difficulty in remembering specific sequences or actions that they engaged in to defeat the endless wave of enemies.”60 Players might not be physically exhausted. these affective procedural markers become part of what stimulates players to keep playing. for instance. Ash offers a qualitative research study about play subjects in multiplayer FPS games. and narrative coherency. being captivated and immersed in this sense nevertheless clearly shifts memory of the encounter from general recol- lection to habit memory. I agree that Destiny’s mechanics seek to produce a frenetic play state where completing the final boss stage in a given zone can often leave a player physiologically drained from a fifteen. Videogames are part of what Stielger calls a “vast process of cognitive and affec- tive proletarianization—and a vast process of the loss of knowledge(s): . In the same vein as Shaviro (and Golumbia). Whereas commercial film editing historically functions in the “interpretive mode” (i. playing an FPS game under conditions of affective design does not engage cardiovascular action on par with training for a marathon by running each day. These spaces are intense enough that players might not even notice time pass- ing because so much attention is commanded due to the pace of play. However. plot. Anecdotally. Counter-Strike: GO matches on Competitive mode. FPS games similarly use affective design to produce a related form of embodied stimulation. Bernard Stielger argues that contem- porary capitalism employs a variety of “psycho-techniques” to mone- tize audiences by blurring the lines between work and play. Perhaps a particular memory of a particularly spectacular shot or in-game accomplishment stands out. can last anywhere from twenty-five to ninety minutes with only short breaks in between each round. until one group wins sixteen matches. Speed is certainly a part of creating affectively intense experiences beyond just Destiny. viewers leave the theater in a state of affective exhaustion. Other players report that their play experiences were “like a blur.e. Affective Design and the Captivation of Memory  125 detriment of editorial ingenuity. Regardless of the lack of enjoyment of the plot or acting.. If pleasurable. montage requires the viewer to compare two distinct series of an image). post-cinematics are marked by an “executive mode” where de- mographic research and data collection through fMRI monitoring in viewing audiences is used to inform cuts that pace the film. which harnesses immanent images during play. 58 Cuts in ac- tion sequences within films such as the Bourne Identity or Transformers films do not relate to each other or to the action but simply operate in a way to suggest a sort of disorienting speed of disparate visual perspec- tives. but the play experience never- theless leaves them affectively drained. These attitudes about affect and technology functioning as a capitalist memory-altering strategy can be found elsewhere as well. 59 Players simply re- member a sensation of bodily affect. To be twenty-minute play session. in which players often report having little conscious memory of the experience.

”63 Many of our scholarly and commonsense conceptions of memory retain a classical view of memory as a distinct or fixed space to deposit and withdraw memories. In keeping with Socrates’s gentle chastisement of Phaedrus. In other words. a database. who popularized the “treasure-house” view of memory as accumulated thought.”65 Here.”64 Memory for many rhetoricians in Greco-Roman tradi- tion was. rhetorical conceptions of memory all too of- ten function as a form of storage (artificial) and remain external from rhetorical invention. Indeed. Here.”61 Seminal affect theorist Lawrence L. the route from presumption that affective design modulates bodies in certain ways to shape procedural habits toward reducing these habits to an object of critical demystification is a short one. savoir-vivre. which served as “the guard- ian of all parts of rhetoric. A bit of historical comparison to the canon of memory is useful as a point of comparison. this view is solidified by the unknown au- thor of Rhetorica Ad Herenium. Collin Gifford Brooke summarizes. “where static topoi are housed in their corresponding loci. in the absence of which all savor is lost.126  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently savoir-faire. theoretical knowledge. leaving the rational Cartesian subject unaltered. In assessing the rhetorical tradition’s typical approaches to memory. I will not attempt a comprehensive review of the history of mem- ory in the rhetorical tradition as several excellent summaries already . as Trevor Hoag states. for whom the memo- rization of writing impoverished the inherent capacities of the human mind (natural) for reason. Grossberg sim- ilarly argues that “affective relations can be disempowering … rending ideological and material realities behind a screen of passion. the specter of memory “loss” in the face of an emergent technology should give rhetoric and writing scholars pause with respect to our field’s long history of responding to Plato. I address the limitations of the structure of critique. procedural habits through affective design emerge as rhetorically salient in as far as they can be linked toward a prior totalizing construct like “neoliberalism. in which procedural habits like affective design only emerge if they cor- respond to some hidden political relation for the critic to demystify. My more limited goal is to suggest that through the lens of procedural ­habits—that habits have constituted who we are since hexis—there does not necessarily have to be anything suspicious about the mere attempt to forge a relationship between habit and memory in itself.” Conclusion In Chapter 4. games studies researcher Patrick Crogan fears that military games that encourage embodied actions of play without much critical thinking brackets players from self-reflection upon the ideological affects that their efforts play. “Informa- tion is either located here in one’s head or there in a book. For exam- ple.”62 Along the lines of Golumbia. someone else.

Jeffrey Pruchnic and Kim Lacey maintain that the use of involutionary memory to learn rhetorical patterns actually “had the ef- fect of restructuring interior thought as a whole.68 Ong-ian approaches to mem- ory move us firmly outside the Platonic attitude toward memory and writing. wants . Affective Design and the Captivation of Memory  127 exist. Mundane activities such as memorizing tropes or figures were designed to mimic conventional logical or rhetor- ical patterns of reason and communication. informs thinking and reasoning through not a primordial but constitutive relation.” Brooke similarly artic- ulates that new media rhetoric does not externalize or spatialize memory but rather actively and yet contingently constructs a pattern that en- ables thought.66 Far from an exter- nalized storage. ­I ntriguingly.69 Echoing Ash’s idea of amplification. affective design) actually extends the latter. however. Destiny. Rhetoric was key to this process because it required a strong memory and metalinguistic skill in comparison with the simpler linear myths of earlier oral Greek societies. Memory and habit became akin to what Ong describes as “involution”: the way in which memory and cognition externalization in turn become “internalized” as parts of thought through our repeated practices of literacy. and memory more broadly construed. in which memory served as an interface between cultural exterior and human interior to influence how knowl- edge and rhetoric could be brought about. the Greeks were among the first civilizations to store memory by placing complex ideas in an external medium (the agora) to undergo debate and deliberation. Pruchnic and Lacey affirm that habit is a central way in which memorization. starting with Brooke’s chapter on memory in Lingua Fracta. The historical comparison is useful because it demonstrates that there has always been a link between habit and memory (which scholars inter- ested in chora have also been attuned to). the Greeks actually offered a more complicated view of rhetoric and memory.”70 Pruchnic and Lacey’s critical contribution lies in observing that rather than breaking with the early Greek treatments. P ­ ruchnic and Lacey conclude that the rise of new media and ubiquitous internet in- formation has shifted memory from its store house—the “content” of a given m­ emory—to the “program” of memory: “the broad systems in which past experiences and associations are captured and/or strategi- cally leveraged for persuasive effects. I would add. When individuals as- sociate certain concepts or objects in memory—increasingly embodied actions and reactions in response to nonconscious forms of positive and negative reinforcement during play—these actually impact our modes of bodily comportment through affective tags. what has changed in FPS games is simply what is modulated. Ong (via Havelock). Citing Hayles’s “semiotics of virtuality. for example. the present use of memory programs (and. For example. as habituated practices of memory training and association became second if not “first” nature for practitioners.”67 In connecting Ong to the ancient Greeks. Echoing previous work on memory and literacy by Walter J.

while rec- ollection is “entirely spontaneous. Its images cannot be fully represented: “it no longer represents our past to us. The reason this connection to ancient memory and technology is rel- evant is because it helps us to see that the observation that memory is produced differently through affect does not necessarily allow us to dis- miss these forms of affect production as only a capitalist effect. while applying this active having toward future action in the immediate or near-term future.”72 Like Aristotle’s hexis. Unlike recollective memory which. which will respond positively or negatively to players’ affective tags. in Bergson’s notion of “habit memory.74 The fact that Thrift and Ash both mention Bennett is not a coincidence. Along similar lines. suffice to say that there need not be anything inher- ently positive or negative in the attempt to condition memory through technologies of behavioral repetition in itself. and de- signers can never be sure about how the game will be taken up and played by the public. in a closed system of automatic movements which succeed each other in the same order.”73 While I do not have the space to go into Bergson’s entire philo- sophical worldview.e.. habit memory exists in action. we have to look at whatever behaviors are actually produced before concluding what to make of them. “[Vid- eogames]. players’ actions are not directly controlled by the designers. Instead.” which he discusses in Matter and Memory. is fixed permanently in the mind (i. there is nothing inherently good or bad about the pres- ence of a habit-shaping memory technology.71 Indeed. Similarly.” habit memory requires continuous effort. while Ash cites scholars like Shaviro’s efforts to link the production of habit memory through affect to neoliberalism. Simply put. when achieved.” he states at one point: …have what Bennett terms a ‘thing power’ insofar as they contain a dynamic which exceeds both the players’ and designers’ intentions. The post-Aristotelian lineage of non-mechanistic approaches to habit have a precedent for this approach as well. he nevertheless offers a fairly honest assessment of affective design. thing power by . habit memory is an active having which contains its past in immanent form. While Thrift seems to take thing power as a site through which capitalist forces now seek to extract profit and sell commodities. and repetition eventually leads toward forming a second nature that is “stored up in a mechanism which is set in motion as a whole by an initial impulse.128  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently to tie a pleasurable form of affective habit formation across multiple senses. which is the move that many scholars interested in the politics of videogames have made. rendering repetition pointless). repetition is central to how habit memory forms through cumulative and repeated actions (“[it is] acquired through repetition of the same effort”). it acts.

” (Bellueve. as I hope to demonstrate in the next chapter.. 3 Gerald Voorhees. Gerald Voorhees. Advanced ­Geometries and Digital Technologies. 1993). 2007). Doom (Richardson. 2017. 341. and Grunts: First-Person Shooter Games. 2017. 7 James Ash. The realm of affective design in FPS games means that ideological mechanisms function more like attractors within complex systems. as Ash concedes. 2012). “Anatomy of the FPS.. And. 2017. 2 Jason O’Connell. and Grunts: First-Person Shooter Games. 6 (2012): “Invigorating Play: The Role of Affect in Online First Person Shooters. 92–93. Grenades. and Katie Whitlock.” Journal of Game Studies 2. TX: iD Software. (New York: Bloomsbury Academic. Affective Design and the Captivation of Memory  129 definition. even employ elements such as affective design to cultivate eudaimonic forms of ha- bituation through play. affective design seen through the lens of procedural habits points toward a different view of how reality is composed than just an object of critique. 4 Tim Cross. no. Nieborg. This shift in emphasis does not lose sight of political forces of mundane habit-shaping design elements in FPS games.. 2012). 2. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.php?s=counter-strike 6 James Paul Gee.” in Guns. as the next Chapter demonstrates. Notes 1 Christopher Moore.” The Economist. “First Person Paradoxes–the Logic of War in Computer Games. ed. www. Dec. Mark P. One of the points of attributing agency to these actors for FPS games—looking at how technologies of memory socialize human rhetorical actions—is to remain open to the possibil- ity that new affects emerge that do not correspond to narrow neolib- eral agendas. Wolf. ed. Josh Call. procedural habits seeks to offer an alternative understanding of the operation of ideol- ogy differently and. “Attention. 9 David B. et al. (New York: Bloomsbury Academic. Videogames. WA: Valve). ac- cessed May 15.” in Guns. and the Rentitional Economies of Af- fective Amplification. accessed May 15. “Introduction: Things that Go Boom!” in Guns. 25–40. (New York: Bloomsbury Academic. 10. 12 Ibid. Kas Oosterhuis and Lukas F­ eireiss. et al. accessed May 15. Culture & Society 29. These mechanisms channel. Rotterdam: Episode Publishers. 1. no. and Grunts: First-Person Shooter Games. 12. “Introduction. Rather. Gerald Voorhees et al. Grenades. . 5 Steamspy. 2012). What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy (2nd ed. “Battlezone and the Origins of First-Person Shooters. videogame. www.economist. 10 Ibid. 107–115. “All the World a Game. 11 Voorhees et al. also means that agencies are distributed in ways that do not correspond entirely to a totalizing explanatory context like neoliberalism. 8 See Aki Jarvinen.” in Game Set and Match II: On Computer Games. (July 2002).” 1–15. http://steamspy. Grenades. and players’ habits push back. 2011. ed. Gerald Voorhees. “Counter-Strike.” Theory.gamestudies.

2016. Kris Rutten. 22 David Blakesley.” 30. BioShock (” in Computer Games and Technical Communication: Critical Methods and Applications at the Intersection. MA: MIT. 23 Jeroen Bourgonjon. 34 Halo 3 (Bellueve. 2007). 189–207. Jul. accessed May 17. 2007). 35 Ash. and Katie Whitlock.” Digital Creativity 22. 25 Gerald Voorhees. http://pediatrics. 2015). . and Grunts: First-Person Shooter Games. 19 James W. ed. 21 Wisecrak. Guns. Ronald Soetaert and Martin Valcke. 36 Call of Duty 5: World At War (Infinity Ward.130  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently 13 “Virtual Violence. “Invigorating Play. Gerald Voorhees. 113. no. McAllister. 2008). July 18.” 186. 186.” Youtube.” Kotaku. 16 Grand Theft Auto San Andreas (New York: Rockstar Games. “Captivation. 27 Moore. another-day-another-alarmist-warning-against-violent-g-1783873959. 2017. Creel. 17 Ian Bogost. videogame. 2007). no.” 20 Gary Schyman. “Another Day. 15 Andrew K. editors. Another Alarmist Warning Against Violent Videog- ames. http://kotaku. and Transformation in Technical Communication. 2012). and Katie Whitlock (New York: Blooms- bury Academic. VT: Ashgate. accessed May 16. 30 Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman. videogame. 316. 2002). 100.” 342. Ce- cillia. videogame. 12. Jason C. 33 Kevin Moberly and Ryan M. 86–92. WA: Bungie. Rev- elation. 2014). videogame. 2017. CA: Take 2 Interactive Games. 342. 2015. “Games. org/content/early/2016/07/14/peds. 32 Ibid. “Games without Play. Creel analyzed Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway through Burke’s “frames of acceptance. “The Philosophy of BioShock. 319–340. 41. Josh Call. videogame. and Aaron Duncan. 175–187. July 2016. Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames (Cam- bridge. 2 (2011): 95. Moeller. Grenades. “Taking Aim at Sexual Harassment: Femi- nized Performances of Hegemonic Masculinity in the First-Person Shooter Hey Baby. “From Counter-Strike to Counter-Statement: Using Burke’s Pentad as a Tool for Analyzing Video Games. 14 Ibid. 29 David Golumbia. MA: MIT.” in The Game Culture Reader. and the War on Terror. Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamen- tals (Cambridge. 2013). “Working at Play: Modding. 2012).” in Guns. Thompson and Marc Ouellette (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars. “Electronic Gaming and Psychosocial Adjustment.” Pediatrics 61 (2014): 1–7. The Elements of Dramatism (New York: Longman.. and Grunts: First-Person Shooter Games (New York: Bloomsbury Aca- demic.” policy statement by the American Association of Pedat- rics. 18 Call of Duty 3 (Santa Monica. 31 Golumbia. CA: Activi- sion. 13:52. “Failure is Not an Option: WWII. 37 These could also be akin to what McAllister via Brummett calls “implicative forces” in Game Work. 2006). (Burlington. Santa Monica. 79–80. 24 Ibid. 2003). Grenades. 1 (Winter 2009): 185. Game Work. 26 Jessy Ohl.. Video Games. 28 Ibid.” New Literary History 40. Josh Call. Przybylski. CA: Activision.2016-1298 quoted in D’Anastasio.

6 (2012): 4. Lingua Fracta: Toward a Rhetoric of New Media (New York: Hampton. Brian Massumi. http://destinypublicevents. 43 Ibid. 50 Nigel Thrift. 42 B. the conventional. For a New Critique of Political Economy (Cambridge: Polity. 2010). “The Autonomy of Affect.” Destiny Public Events. accessed May 15. into function and meaning. 2009). 2017. 47 Brian Massumi.html. ed. videogame. 53 Ibid. 2017. accessed May 15.J Fogg.. Affective Design and the Captivation of Memory  131 38 Destiny (Bellueve. John Hunt. 285. trans. Post-Cinematic Affect (New York: O Books.. 2017. 2 quoted in James Ash.wikia. Culture & Society 29. 48 Jason Farman. 46 “Emotion is qualified intensity. xvii. 5. WA: Bungie and Activision. 41 Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Infinity Ward. CA: Activ- ision. 49 “Counter-Strike: Global Offense. quoted in Ash.” recalling-memento-on-the-production-of-memory-becoming-a-rhetorical-­ problem-i/ . 51 Merlin Donald. A Mind So Rare: The Evoluation of Human Consciousness (New York: Norton. “Notes on the Translation. 56 Steven Shaviro. “Introduction: Control and Contingency Online.” First Monday 7 (2006). http://counterstrike. 45 Richard A. 3. 1997).. and the Rentitional Economies of Affective Amplification. Ibid. 59 Ash. 2012).. 58 Shavio. Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do (Amsterdam: Morgan Kaufmann. 1988). 2015. Videogames. consensual point of in- tensity into semantically and semiotically formed progressions. Lanham. 55 17.” Economy and Society 35. Santa Monica. 52 Thrift. 25. Apr. 40 Thomas Malaby. 2017. 17. 2010).” Cul- tural Critique 31 (Autumn 1995): 100. 60 Ibid. ac- cessed May 15. “Attention. 1954)... 63 Rhetorica Ad Herenium. 4 4 Ibid. 118. It is intensity owned and recognized”. 2014).” Occupying Memory. Mobile Interface Theory: Embodied Space and Locative Me- dia (New York: 17. 61 Bernard Stiegler.” in A Thousand Plateaus by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari (London: Athlone Press. Lisa A. 205.” Counter-Strike Wiki. “Is There a Fan in the House: The Affective Sensibility of Fandom. Harry Caplan (Cambridge. Ibid. “Re-inventing Invention: New Tendencies in Capitalist Com- modification. videogame. http://firstmonday.. The Economics of Attention: Style and Substance in the Age of Information (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 39 /u/lax20attack. 54 Ibid. 57 Shaviro. https://occupyingmemory.” 285. into narra- tivizable action-reaction circuits. “Destiny Public Events.” Theory. 2006). 2001).org/issues/spe- cial11_9/intro/index. 288. “Re-inventing. Lewis (New York: Routledge. accessed May 15. 287. no. MA: Harvard University Press.” in The Adoring Audience: Fan Culture and Popular Media. 64 Collin Gifford Brooke. Ibid.. 30. 4. 149. 2003). 39–45. no. “Recalling Momento: On the Production of Memory Be- coming a Rhetorical Problem (I). 2007). 2 (2006): 282.. “Captivation. 43.wordpress. 65 Trevor Hoag. 87. 62 Lawrence Grossberg.

Durham. no. 1988. Stronger. Translated by NM Paul and WS Palmer. Matter and Memory. 2008. edited by Jason C. “The Future. 2002. and Katie Whitlock. Jeff and Kim Lacey.” In The Game Culture Reader. “The Future of Forgetting: Rhetoric. 69 Brook. Bibliography Ash. Call of Duty 5: World At War. MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. Justine. From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: Gender and Computer Games. Lingua Fracta: Toward a Rhetoric of New Media.” 10.” In Guns. The Elements of Dramatism. Video Games. 2007. Collin Gifford. 67 Pruchnic. Grenades. trans. Infinity Ward. no. Joshua. 68 This view of the relationship between rhetoric and memory also finds points of overlap with the idea of chora from Derrida’s reading of Plato’s “Ti- maeus. Videogame. ———. 74 Ash. Culture & Society 29. 2013. Jeroen. 2 (2011): 91–102. Call of Duty 3. 2006. Ronald Soetaert and Martin Valcke. no. edited by Gerald Voorhees. Henri. 70 Pruchnic and Lacey.” See Gregory Ulmer. 71 Henri Bergson. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars. Bogost. Cambridge. Brooke. Santa Monica. New York: Longman. Videogame. Affect. 68. NM Paul and WS Palmer (New York: Zone Books. 133–152. “Attention. 2000. “Technologies of Captivation: Videogames and the Attunement of ­A ffect. 5 (2011): 477. Call. Videogame. Videogame. New York: Zone Books. Call of Duty: BlackOps.” Digital Creativity 22. 70. “From Counter-Strike to Counter-Statement: Using Burke’s Pentad as a Tool for An- alyzing Video Games. James. 1 (2013): 27–51. Videogames. Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word (London and New York: 885 Methuen. Bourgonjon. 72 Ibid. Josh Call. and Grunts: First-Person Shooter Games. and the Rentitional Economies of Affec- tive Amplification. no.132  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently 66 Walter Ong.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 41. David. Kris Rutten. Santa Monica. 6 (2012): 3–26. MA: MIT. Cassell. 2009. “Bigger. Faster: Disposable Bodies and Cyborg Constructions. New York: Hampton. Mem- ory. Matter and Memory. 88. MA: MIT Press.” Theory. NC: Duke University Press. 2010. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. CA: Activision. Infinity Ward. 1982). Jane. Blakesley. and Henry Jenkins. Santa Monica. 81. 73 Ibid. and the War on Terror. Bennett.” Body & Society 19.. . Ian. 2013.. 1988).” 475. “Attention. Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames. 1994). Santa Monica. James W. CA: Activision. 144. Cam- bridge. Better. Lingua. Creel. Thompson and Marc Ouellette. Heuretics: The Logic of Invention (Baltimore. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars. “Failure Is Not an Option: WWII. Bergson. 2010. CA: Activision. CA: Treyarch and Activision. Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things. 175–187. 2007.

” Cultural Critique 31 (Autumn 1995): 83–109. Belleuve. 2016. “Anatomy of the FPS.” In The Video Game Theory Reader. “Recalling Momento: On the Production of Memory Becoming a Rhetorical Problem (I). “Games without Play. 2003. 2007. Videogame. New York: Norton. “Zarya from Overwatch has Become a Gay Icon. www. Mobile App. Malaby. New York: Routledge. Tim. Galloway. com/another-day-another-alarmist-warning-against-violent-g-1783873959 ———. Lewis.html Massumi. Alexander R.” The Economist. New York: Routledge. 2014. 2017. New York: Palgrave MacMillan. Donald. 10. 2012. Hoag. Affective Design and the Captivation of Memory  133 Cross. 2015. Videogame. Trevor.” In The Adoring Audience: Fan Culture and Popular Media.” Occupying Memory. Narrative and Temporality in Combat Flight Simulator 2. 2007 (2003). Gee. 2017.” First Monday 7 (2006). WA: Bungie. 2017. Grossberg. Fogg. B. DestinyPublicEvents. D’Anastasio. WA: Bungie and Activision. 2012. edited by Lisa A. Mobile Interface Theory: Embodied Space and Locative Media. NY: Rockstar Games. “Destiny Public Events. Public Events Timers for Destiny.P. 1997. http://destinypublicevents. “The Autonomy of Affect. Accessed May 15. Christopher. “Gametime: History. James Paul. What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy. https://occupyingmemory. Accessed May 17. Accessed May 15. Wolf and Bernard Perron. 2001. The Economics of Attention: Style and Substance in the Age of Information. Grand Theft Auto San­ memento-on-the-production-of-memory-becoming-a-rhetorical-problem-i/ Jarvinen. “Is There a Fan in the House: The Affective Sensibility of Fandom. com. no.” Destiny Public Events. 2017. July 18. www. Thomas. New York. icon-ironically-1782833947 Destiny. 1 (Win- ter 2009): 179–204. 5.wordpress. Lawrence. “Introduction: Control and Contingency Online. Cecillia. 2017.” New Literary History 40. 2006. 2nd ed.” Kotaku. Halo 3. Patrick. A Mind So Rare: The Evolution of Human Consciousness. Accessed May 15.” Gaming: Essays on algorithmic Culture (2006): 39–69. http://kotaku.” Kotaku. New York: Routledge. 2017. Lanham. Amsterdam: Morgan Kaufmann. Jun. cial11_9/intro/index. Ironically. 2003. Brian. Apr. Videogame. Another Alarmist Warning Against Violent Videogames. /u/lax20attack. edited by Mark J. Jason. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Bellueve. David.economist. 2015. 275–302. 50–67. 2016. http://kotaku. Richard A. Dec. “All the World a Game. 2016. Fremgen. . Accessed May 15. Farman. 2011.gamestudies.J. 29.” Journal of Game Studies Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. WA: Valve Corporation. “Origins of the first-person shooter. “Another Day. (July 2002). Golumbia. Aki. Accessed May 15. Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do. no. http://firstmonday.

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7 an online space where users can outsource errands such as grocery shopping to other users by naming a price. Habitica). In general. Notable exam- ples include TaskRabbit. behavioral psychology. missions) in non-game contexts. When users check in frequently with their smartphones at participating restaurants. 2 well-being (Super­ Better). GPTs are commercial and free apps that employ a Foggian combination of gamification. As a result.4 domestic behavior (Chore Wars). that are not entirely reducible to this game mechanistic’s influ- ence. takes behavioral reinforcement as its exclusive object of interest. 5 female fertility (Glow). such as narrative. Delta airline’s Frequent Flyer rewards program is an example of gamification. points. this chapter’s case study explores an entire genre of commercial videogames that are constituted entirely by a designer’s ef- forts to shape habits: gamified habit-shaping apps. gamification. While many serious and persuasive game designers seek to use game mechanics as a means to explore a political or cultural problem in a new way. By comparison. I examine the use of affective design through new Fog- gian techne. the now offline app Foursquare rewards users with the status of “mayor” and discounts on food purchases.8 Gabe Zichermann has been a leading industry presence . Traditional signifiers of videogames motivate its contributors’ partici- pation through progress bars and leaderboards. I examine a particular digital subset of gamification that I define as “gamified per- suasive technologies” (GPTs).1 lifestyle (HabitRPG. such as health (Fitbit).4 Gamification and Suggestion Technologies (Kairos) Beyond Critique In Chapter 3. such as amplification in a traditional videogame genre of FPS games. and algorithmic monitoring to produce specific habits in users. Chore Wars similarly allows players to role-play as superheroes and collect points for com- pleting undesirable household chores. Yet. gam- ification typically grafts game elements onto existing and well-defined real-world problems to try to motivate and reward activity.6 and countless others. Since my focus in Procedural Habits is on videogames. 3 beverage consumption (Vessyl). more so than any other gaming genre. levels. as I note in examples such as BioShock and Destiny. gamifica- tion refers to the use of digital or non-digital traditional game signifiers (badges. many FPS games still retain many other conventional features.

Here. Zombies. the avatar of Zombies. Run! provides a basic gamified system of positive and negative reinforcement to enable a user to develop a new exercise habit. Run! is the human user (i. First. enables researchers to ex- amine how gamification functions as an organizing technique of power/ knowledge topoi across a heterogeneous cultural milieu. as do (implicitly) both defenders and critics of gamification among professional game designers. Like many GPTs. is simply the activity of running. the work and repetition necessary to cultivate a habit easily can become disguised as play. Our field typically offers two prevailing approaches to gamification. Secondly. In this scenario. like Six to Start’s app Zombies. Other traditional game designers and industry commentators are equally as hostile. I demonstrate that GPTs offer an im- portant case study for procedural habits because of this “barely games” attribution. Bogost.” and “bullshit” in comparison to the richer argumentative and expressive forms of meaning that vid- eogames are capable of. as with the case of affective design and memory production in Chapter 3. GPTs are an ideal Foggian videogame genre that is routinely dismissed as an inauthentic videogame for its superficial use of game mechanics as well as its narrow for-profit agenda. ­Foucault’s archaeology.”10 because GPTs do not typically offer the sorts of im- mersive or imaginative interactions for play that allow players to escape from real life.9 GPTs represent yet another case study through which clear divisions are drawn between expressive and mundane forms of rhetorics. the individual who downloads. these connections enable us to address procedural habits in GPTs as rhetorically expres- sive. the other typical approach—seen particularly among games studies scholars—is to reject the neutral techne view by drawing on Foucaultian or related theoretical frameworks to ground gamification as an object of bio- power. for example. by examining the relationship between GPTs and broader societal control techniques. and uses the app) who acts in response to gamified prompts. In the first section of this chapter. routinely dismisses gamifi- cation as “exploitationware. proce- dural habits are not negative but productive. GPTs constitute what the well-known industry writer Russell Davies calls “barely games. The play- er’s action in Zombies. Running in GPTs. such as “algorithmic regulation” or state-sponsored “nudges.11 In effect. Gamification and Suggestion Technologies  137 in arguing for gamification in business contexts.. Run!. who is never afraid to criticize elements of the mainstream gaming industry. Run! does not produce any comparatively mean- ingful interaction with a complex game world mechanic or narrative. As a result. In turn. We treat gamification as a neutral techne to produce student behavior modification.” “snake oil. we graft game mechanics onto individual writing assignments or entire classroom syllabi. such as frequent flyer programs or M&M’s gamified campaign for its pretzel-flavored version of its popular candy.e. installs.” which attempt to change citizens’ collective habits through .

I acknowledge that this analysis may initially seem like an overly de- tailed detour into some complex theoretical thickets. in the second section. I argue that the Foucaultian language of bio-power—pervasive among games studies scholars and theoretically inclined rhetoric and composition scholarship on videogames—and the focus on how power makes productive bodies actually contain yet another manifestation of the expressive/mundane divide that it critical to understand. Marxists and Freudians who locate hidden forces by digging into the hidden mechanisms of text) for a hermeneutics of trac- ing surface effects of power. Felski turns to Latour’s ANT to define her own idea of postcriticism to suggest that one way to avoid critique is to “compose” (Latour’s term) and trace localized and particu- lar networks of human and nonhuman agencies for a given text that we seek to interpret. GPTs gain rhetorical salience only in so far as they can be connected to a previous totalizing view of power/knowledge. becomes rhetorically expressive only insofar as it corresponds to an object of bio-power. our object of interpretation in a text. the rel- evance lies in my exigency in Procedural Habits. this section offers my most sustained demonstration that Foggian design elements can and should be read as part of a more complex way in which procedural habits are shaped beyond a designer’s instrumental aims. or a videogame. even if readers are still not tempted to treat him as a legitimate videogame rhetoric scholar. In the end. In doing so. In the third section. Yet. in turn. By contrast. rhetoric and composition scholars are entirely used to using critical theory paradigms to demystify covert or hidden political log- ics. I turn to literary theorist Rita Felski’s idea of “post-critical reading. That is. However. .138  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently nonconscious prompts without passing laws. Here. she convincingly demonstrates that Foucaultians trade an older hermeneu- tics of depth (i. neoliberalism) while distracting us from considering if GPTs may actually create new and even positive rhetorical habits that do not correspond to these constructs in the first place.”12 While Foucaultians often claim that their work is anti-hermeneutic. This first section in many ways tells a familiar approach to videog- ame rhetoric in a new context. my goal is to demonstrate that our preference for traditional texts as well as vari- ous manifestations of the expressive/mundane divide is best revealed by understanding why critique continues to bracket the forms of material affect—the forms necessary for procedural habits to function as actual embodied and material forces in rhetoric. and.. Our field is well-acquainted with ar- guments about how discourse shapes rhetorical selves and bodies. These theoretical frameworks require us to connect each GPT to a prior hunt for an invisible quarry (bio-power. ANT in particular allows each object—each GPT—to be read as an active mediator rather than a passive intermediary for a totalizing or previous theoretical explanation. we potentially miss the broader networks of actors—human and nonhuman—that a text/ videogame can produce. On this last point.e.

In part. “Obesity and Satisfaction. Mol argues that if indeed our desire for food is distributed into our habits of interaction in our localized environments.”13 Following these conversa- tions.). The idea of using game semiotics for education predates computer games. After describing Time to Eat. Instead. whether or not we use a game as a carrier of these principles.” she challenges the reliance of national dietary topoi on logical appeals (nutritional con- tent. and environment. also drawing on Gee. In many of these cases. For example. Gee employs videogame literacies to improve educational experiences by “applying the fruitful principles of learning that good game designers have hit on. like ­Justin Hodgson. to tease out how ANT can enable us to locate some new and unexpected uses of GPTs to intervene in eating and dieting choices. we can and should use the ability of GPTs to powerfully structure individuals’ dispositions as an occasion to inquire more deeply into the rhetorical nature of the human who is capable not necessarily of being persuaded to form a habit through a GPT but instead structured and affected by the increasing incorporation of gamified elements in society. Annemarie Mol. My larger point is simply that we have actually been slower as a . place. a number of rhetoric and composition studies scholars. these examples confirm once more a bias in our field toward traditional texts. gamification is a mere means to another expressive or traditional end: the production of a print-based artifact. Mol helps to demon- strate that our only goal for approaching GPTs cannot merely be (es- pecially human-centered) political critique. etc. food pyramids. then we need to explore rather than reject mundane habit-­shaping genres and productive forms of behavioral reinforcement to shape dispositions through space.14 have proposed to gamify individual writing assignments or an entire syllabus for a writing class. Alexander suggests that writing students can benefit from playing videogames or games in general and writing literacy narratives about how their experiences with multimodal literacies differ from their ex- periences with print literacies. In her essay. produced by a health science design team at Cornell University. Time to Eat. I will take up the designers’ particular attempt to employ Fogg’s idea of “kairos” as a suggestion technology in this context. The Gamification and Critique of Procedural Habits One of the pragmatic reasons why our methods of describing gamifica- tion matters is because gamification is arguably a primary way in which pedagogically inclined rhetoric and composition researchers have ap- proached videogames. I draw an immediate point of compar- ison between its assumptions and a discussion by the ANT theorist. Gamification and Suggestion Technologies  139 I offer a close reading of a GPT. with some of the first work in our field in Selfe and Selfe’s collection. In an observation that I do not mean as critical. Selfe and Selfe specifically cite Gee as the animat- ing force for their edited collection.

enhancing the learning of a novel. gamification in the sense that our field uses it is akin to what our field would call a neutral form—or an instrumental techne—used by a rhetor or teacher for a particular aim without con- necting this means of production to social-political contexts. in turn. If a user fails to shape appropriate individual habits of self-restraint (quitting coffee. To be sure. planning for a dream vacation). curiosity.1). gamification is a basic design technique that asks players to interact with a voluntary obstacle as a means of exploring a real-world problem by using game mechanics.” while Go Fucking Do It offers a more extreme axiom of “If you fail. By contrast. An office manager needs to increase employee productivity without raising salaries or offering more vacation time? Solution: provide badges and levels to incentivize his subordinates. gamification takes game elements or features and applies them to non-game contexts for any number of purposes. he or she must donate money to a char- ity.17 and Ascent 18 are relatively recent habit-specific examples that confirm the validity of Bogost’s criticism. while McGonigal is frequently cited as a proponent of gam- ification. Searching for “gamification” on Amazon. for example) and. In its most distilled form. HabitRPG is more open-ended (Figure 4. or encouraging patients to take their medicine each morning. and industry workshops. what it means to shape writing habits through rhetoric. webtexts. Go Fucking Do It is actually the ideal GPT for individuals who live in free market economies. Go Fucking Do It. .” In many ways. The game’s message is that behavior’s best motivator is monetary ex- change value. HabitRPG’s motto is “Gamify your life. Nevertheless. as I will discuss later on this chapter. including increasing workplace productivity. or optimism in social and political issues. For these and other reveals countless book titles that instruct businesses how to use gamification to sell more products or motivate employees.140  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently field to call for use of gamification as a means to re-envision what writ- ing means (as a ludic or procedural multimodal practice.”16 Bogost bristles at the superficial appropriation of the medium’s signifiers while ignoring how game mechanics actually makes a videogame a videogame. We can find less carefully qualified support in the business world in the work of leading proponent Gabe ­Zichermann’s various writ- ings. Bogost calls gamification “bullshit. A growing number of GPTs such as HabitRPG/Habitica.15 McGonigal convincingly argues that better game design offers an excellent resource to stimulate players’ motivation. this superficial use of game mechanics in the service of stimulus response operant conditioning is what draws the ire of game designers and games studies scholars. you pay. As discussed by professional game designers. she has penned a number of criticisms as well. According to McGonigal. including her at- tempt to articulate a “gameful” approach to design. One way to begin addressing how gamification can re-orient rhetoric and composition studies lies in understanding what theoretical assump- tions undergird its use in the composition classroom. interest.

­Peterson even confesses to cheating the system at one point just so she can post an exceptionally high amount of sleep for one night (12 hours) and re- ceive the epideictic satisfaction of praise from her social media chorus. the app employs motion during sleep as the prime evaluator of sleep quality. of course. many GPTs frequently rely on flimsy appeals to empirical research to support their effective- ness. Sleep Cycle becomes a game. The app assigns a sleep quality percentage. she wakes up and checks her sleep states in the app.” “rewards. Unsurprisingly. Media studies researcher Anne Helen Peterson highlights a typical sleight of hand for many commercial behavioral tracking apps through her use of the Sleep Cycle app. The app promises to reveal a user’s negative habits that prevent self-fulfilling sleep and to help the user produce better habits (i. Gamification and Suggestion Technologies  141 Figure 4.1  S creenshot from browser-based version of HabitRPG/Habitica app.e.19 Furthermore. in keeping with Foggian rhetorics’ superficial citations of neuroscience and behavioral relationship. how the application of computational surveillance to a user’s behavior increases the likelihood of desired outcome (which. 20 Each morning.. Its persuasive technology features compare her sleep habits to aggregated norms of other users and keeps prompting her to share her sleep scores through social media posts.” or. the Sleep Cycle app is not even an accurate measure of quality of sleep. reduce . is old news to any readers familiar with F ­ oucault’s Discipline and Punish). Fogg discusses what he calls the “Principle of Sur- veillance. which is an imprecise measure- ment. According to Peterson. HabitRPG offers external computational monitoring to improve any number of life skills through the use of game mechanisms from role-­ playing games (“equipment. At one point. many features of these particular GPTs’ design mechanisms are thoroughly Foggian. In fact. However.” and “leveling”).

in particular. and cultural life increasingly takes in the present … gamification … names a condition of seepage through which game mechanics and objectives come to constitute the work.”22 These types of connections do not accept gami- fication as a neutral design technique or even a narrow for-profit instru- ment. and ­Jeffrey Pruchnic. games have touched practically every aspect of contemporary life. have all increasingly taken on the structure and logic of games.”25 and thus GPTs can constitute a new manifestation of bio-power for our field to examine. Catherine Chaput. crowdsourcing. 24 Other researchers. Rather. “In recent years. how- ever. Jagoda argues that: …a form that economic.142  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently the influence of mechanistic habits) through algorithmic prompts. Habit-shaping apps like these are not much more than “snake oil. 21 Gamification as Bio-Political Object Bogost’s criticisms in part help offer a transition toward the second com- mon way that scholars more involved in games studies than in rhetoric and composition have approached gamification. and social media applications. such . Indeed. These types of ap- proaches are used throughout videogame and rhetoric scholarship. leisure. With respect to the rise of gamification. Sleep Cycle never fulfills this promise in a universal or complete sense. Consumerism. 23 Again. social. including Barbara A. Jagoda suggests. they begin to make connections between the particular historical and economic conditions that surround the emergence of gam- ification as a way to order certain parts of society. A notable example can be found in the writing of games studies designer and re- searcher Patrick Jagoda.” another colorful term employed by Bogost to describe games like ­HabitRPG. While Bogost is suspi- cious of the narrow corporatism as well as the implication that videog- ames can be reduced to stimulus response. other games studies scholars have identified gamification as a product of contemporary capitalism that offers us the typical route toward defining procedural habits of GPTs that we would find in rhetoric and composition studies. thought patterns.000 steps” mantra is argued by some to be a “pseudometric” that lacks any specific or substantial rela- tionship to health and well-being in media research literature. affects. Even Fitbit’s pervasive “10. have already begun to answer Ronald Walter Greene’s call for rhetoricians to explore the “immaterial value of communication” as a way to develop new tactics to map and challenge “the command logics of biopolitical capitalism. Biesecker. and social relations of the overdeveloped world. the Foucaultian-sounding claim that discourse shapes productive subjects is a familiar one in rhetoric and composition studies.

In turn. While Foucault’s previous work on discipline examined how a discrete space such as a hospital or prison surveilled individual bodies.”29 Bio-power takes the form of distinct but interpenetrating technologies that actually habituate our pre-conscious minds. which formulates the reasons for our actions.. Gamification and Suggestion Technologies  143 as Andrew Baerg’s analysis of bio-power in the sport simulation game NBA2K12. Neoliberalism endorses economic rationality to oppose irrational (non-market) state and social institutions. In making freeways. One significant outcome of Foucault’s thinking lies in the idea that bio-power is not just limited to economic success or security laws. bio-power more radically structures our sense of self—what Foucault calls the “entrepreneurship of the self. I want to offer for an illustrative comparison what it means to read GPTs through these sorts of lenses. To offer an impossibly brief summary. gov- ernmentality nevertheless exercises control over entire populations by converting behaviors to calculated risks. Jeremy Parker applies . for example. games. Whereas previ- ous generations of Marxist critics like Frederic Jameson viewed film as “allegories” for late capitalism. this second approach to gamification as a capitalist mode of subject-making is a common way in which our field might seek to examine procedural habits in GPTs. By analogy. Rather. biopower in the neolib- eral age focuses on what he calls “governmentality. credit scores. GPTs are part of a general cultural shift toward relying on external computational algorithms. 28 Even when individuals are not directly surveilled by an institution. [and] claims intentionality after the fact. you don’t enclose people but instead multiply the means of control … people can drive infinitely and ‘freely’ without being at all confined yet while still being perfectly controlled.”30 This line of thinking is a continuation of Foucault’s famous observation that individuals cannot actually possess power and are instead produced by it. It cultivates a “slower linguistic consciousness. 26 In the present moment.g. biopower is a term that Foucault explores in his 1978–1979 lectures in relationship to the dominant neo- liberal order. To offer an example. These risks correspond to secu- rity practices that ensure the proper functioning of economic rationality. 27 Gilles Deleuze’s discussion of the society of control offers a useful description: A control is not a discipline. games studies scholars like Alexander Galloway and McKenzie Wark see a similar “allegorithmic” function for videogames. and game-like elements to shape or correct individual habits. student loan repay- ment histories. Since I am going to complicate the structure of critique in this theoret- ical approach in the following section.” Governmentality relies upon statistical averages (e. driving records) to produce normative numbers for col- lective security. governmentality constitutes a shift to a form of continuous surveillance that is distributed throughout society.

who was briefly (in)famous on social media for hiring an individual to slap him for wasting time at work. Thus. this terrorist subject authorizes certain new behaviors to ensure collective security (e. consider that the emergent Foggian rhetorical paradigm of “prescriptive persuasion” among computer scientists and policy makers has become an increas- ingly popular progressive design strategy along these lines. Unsurprisingly.”31 Aggregated behavioral data and algorithms produce what Parker calls a “terrorist subject. the idea of persuasive technologies extends far beyond its specific system of citation within a group of game and app designers who are interested in mobile media and habit formation. influence. or diet. In a literalization of Fogg’s Skinner-esque definition of rhetoric. each accrues their own homeland subjectivity. questioning by police. Parker summarizes. one extremely important contribution of Fogg’s work lies in explaining how behavior change seen in a single GPT is also connected to this broader bio-political technique. software en- trepreneur Maneesh Sethi. a number of design researchers have sought to em- ploy “persuasion. and coercion” through mobile me- dia apps in the service of forming a variety of habits related to physical activity. GPTs like HabitRPG can be seen to reflect the general rise in behavior tracking and self-­management through mobile media and computational devices. As an example. New Year’s Day 2015 was widely heralded by internet news sites as the birth of the “Track-­Everything Revolution.” as Apple and many other major mobile app developers offered an unprecedented number of game-like habit-­ monitoring apps to aid Americans in the tradition of resolving to form new habits. we can find spe- cific invocations of Fogg’s work within this broader shift toward using algorithmic prompts to produce behaviors. In the field of mobile health.. In fact.”34 the Pavlok wristband administers a mild electri- cal shock when the performed habit occurs. Let me offer a . “This subject is that unity cre- ated by the combination of one’s data-past and its relative difference and similarity to others’ data-past.” In one example. the smart cup Vessyl tracks everything that a user drinks and provides persuasive prompts. Skinner’s operationally conditioned pigeons. Sunstein to describe the general goal of using real-time feedback or empirical data from be- havioral tracking studies to shape collective habits. nudge. additional surveillance).g. F. mental health.35 “Nudge” is a metaphor popularized by behavioral economists Richard Thaler and Cass R.144  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently Foucault’ insights to examine the Automated Targeted Screening (ATS) program. In this way. The ATS uses credit scores and financial history to determine the likelihood of whether a given individual citizen may become a ter- rorist in the future.” In turn. From this theoretical perspective. 33 Erasing Burke’s line between symbolic action and “B.32 This revolution might have been more aptly named the “Foggian Revolution. created the Pavlok wristband (after Pavlovian behaviorist psychology).

To offer one example. removing salt shakers is an ex- ample of what Thaler and Sunstein would dub “hidden persuaders” or “choice architectures” that seek to persuade without making any spe- cific symbolic claims or logical proposals. Gamification and Suggestion Technologies  145 non-digital example. the soda tax efforts are explained by the Fogg Behavior Grid’s B ­ luePath Note. discusses many Western governments’ attempts to procedurally nudge citizens through “irrational” default bias: an emo- tional desire to take the path of least resistance (i.37 A consumer could still purchase and consume as much soda as he or she desired. A recent book authored through a collaboration of United Kingdom sociologists entitled Changing Behaviors: The Rise of the Psychological State. Free choice is ostensibly preserved in these instances. The latter reason is why Thaler and ­Sunstein appeal to libertarians and many in the American political right. ­Unsurprisingly. but the size of containers was capped at a certain number of ounces. If salt shakers are taken off restaurant tables. logical. architectures. document design.” Tim O’Reilly usefully describes algorithmic regulation as the state or cor- porate management of individual and collective behaviors through . Hidden persuaders shape collective habits across environments. Echoing Foggian design heuristics. These systems function as in- teractive enthymemes when the user’s self-consciousness about a given habit (salt) supplies the missing premise (too much salt adversely affects health) through a non-digital procedural stimuli designed to intervene in a nonconscious habit.” It is more difficult to manage and consume six small bottles of soda than one large 64-ounce cup. With “nudge” as a case in point. the goal is to preserve their individual freedom to salt food by adding procedural steps at the sites where habits of diet are nonconscious. immediate connections exist between Thaler and ­Sunstein’s nudge and Fogg’s persuasive technologies. Such influence also extends to the United States as well. or rhetorical presentations of facts to change citizens’ minds as much as liberal democratic deliberative democracy presupposes. practice. Rather. or national elections but without coercion or the use of law.”36 The goal is no longer to make rational.e. or default. Foggian rhetorics participate in a broader biopolitical trend toward “algorithmic regulation. customers in Buenos Aires..38 The goal in reducing soda bottle size is to take an existing habit (ability and desire to buy soda) and reduce the habit of consumption one time through a “de-motivator.” thereby “[m]aking people more conscious of their automatic behavioral responses to situations and resetting social norms. Argentina have to go through the extra step of requesting a salt shaker from the waiter. and the government nevertheless possesses tools of shaping collective behavior. The government then hopes to make diners more con- scious of the fact that “adding salt to a meal is not a normal. The state of New York experimented with a similar effort regarding obesity. to accept pre-set algorithmic choices) because of our bad mechanistic habits of self (viii).

Wark unsurprisingly calls the current manifestation of globalized algorithmic surveillance and governing tech- niques “gamespace.41 Wark’s diagnosis in Gamer Theory remains one of the most significant efforts to think through this cultural shift through the lens of neolib- eralism. and then used to inform policy decisions. Behavior-tracking-as-GPT echoes Fogg’s boast on the Stanford PTL website about the equivalents of habits in humans and dogs by promising to reveal the authentic self’s actual (negative) behavioral patterns in order to offer an appropriate persuasive technology solution to develop a “positive” one. such as ten- nis courts or Monopoly boards. mind. Algorithmic regulation uses real-time measurement to determine whether certain outcomes are being achieved and. O’Reilly discusses algorithmic regulation in positive terms of im- proving the efficiency of legal. Algorithmic regulation—collective and non-voluntary acts of gamification—­offer critical rhetoricians an important exigency to ex- plore the ways in which lived experience resembles a rule-bound game with the activities of unknowing players producing real-time responses to fixed algorithmic pre-sets. Marshall McLuhan claimed decades ago that “the result of living inside of a proscenium arch of satellites is that the young now accept the public spaces of the earth as role-playing areas” (From Cliché. or reason that leads us to determine correct forms of legal practices but decisions made “objectively” through the data col- lection of monitored behaviors. or political systems by using computers to better monitor actually existing behaviors and then to pro- duce proportionate digital or non-digital nudges or prompts. In turn.”39 As a case in point. debate. stored. As I note in Chapter 1. relies on algorithms (rules) to make adjust- ments based upon the received data. Games used to be played in discrete spaces. economic. Evgeney Morozov describes this state as. 10). Our habits are monitored. or decorous conduct in the polis.40 Algorithmic regulation signals the ways in which various institutions’ interest in collective health increas- ingly views the mind and body as economic resources to be maximized through behavioral monitoring and positive and negative reinforcement.” Gamespace refers not only to the space within vid- eogames but also to the cultural spaces in which games (agon) are played and produced. biological. institutions can produce finely tuned gradations of psychological. in turn. but global communications networks have converted all of space and time to gamespace.146  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently behavior tracking and persuasive technologies. The power of gamespace is that . large-scale habits can be quantified through behavioral track- ing and stimulated through persuasive algorithmic feedback loops. or economic affects designed to optimize a citizen worker’s body. It is not dialogue. “Citizens tak[ing] on the role of information machines that feed the techno-bureaucratic complex with our data. like smart parking spaces in San Francisco that adjust the meter price based on the number of available spots. Rather than establish a simple opposition between “good” or “bad” sin- gle habits.

Gamification and Suggestion Technologies  147
it makes the world seem like “a matrix of endlessly varying games …
all reducible to the same principles [of neoliberalism].”42 Reality and
game have become a “seamless space in which gamers test their abilities
within contrived scenarios,” from parking a car in the streets of San
Francisco to applying for a home loan or wearing a Fitbit.43 Elements of
persuasive technologies also extend beyond mobile and wearable media.
As I note in Chapter 1, Amazon monitors the books that its users pur-
chase or browse. Amazon then employs algorithmic prompts to suggest
related books based on other consumers’ aggregated habits. In what is
hardly a coincidence, Amazon’s Recommend feature is one of Fogg’s key
examples of a persuasive technology.
My analysis in this section just scratches the surface. For example, an-
other persuasive behavioral tracking technology, AppleHealth, makes us
recall Sandra Lee Bartkey’s seminal observation that Foucault’s project
needs to be extended to think through how patriarchy functions as dis-
ciplinary and, in turn, governmentality mechanisms.44 Just as the army
attempts to produce docile and obedient bodies, patriarchy produces an
analogous form of docile femininity. By extension, AppleHealth prom-
ises a “comprehensive” approach to health monitoring and behavioral
correction prompted by a vast array of algorithmic nudges. Users can
track microhabits such as electrodermal activity, heart rates, respiratory
rate, calories, and even blood alcohol content.45 In a development that
will not surprise any feminist technology scholars, AppleHealth ex-
cludes menstruation tracking through design omission. This omission is
nothing short of ironic given the extent to which women’s bodies have
been subject to monitoring and regulation throughout history. As cul-
tural studies researcher William Davies has observed in The Happiness
Industry, there is a seeming return in the alignment of “well-being” and
algorithmic regulation—a return to an eighteenth-century utilitarian de-
sire to use quantification to perfectly map human behavior.46 The sub-
title of the book Dataclysm, written by dating site OkCupid co-founder
Christian Rudder,47 comprises a study of user behavior and has an un-
surprising subtitle: how we act when no one is watching. Algorithms
promise to reveal the true self by mapping and tracing (rather than pro-
ducing) our behavioral habits. For these reasons, we find what seems
like a great deal of evidence of Jagoda’s claim that certain features of
gamification, and GPTs in particular, relate to bio-power.
Furthermore, we can read just about any videogame through this
bio-political lens, not just GPTs. Players have started complaining about
paying around $60.00, which is the industry standard cost of many ma-
jor commercial videogames for console systems like the PlayStation 4,
if the game only contains about 10 hours of play through time with a
linear, level-by-level approach. In response, there has been an undeni-
able shift within many commercially successful titles in the past few
years toward sprawling open-world games (either FPS or RPG) like CD

148  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently
Projekt Red’s action role-playing game The Witcher 3, which offers over
100 hours of single-player gameplay. Rather than only following each
sequential step in a main quest, The Witcher 3’s protagonist, Geralt of
Rivia, explores an almost inexhaustible number of side quests in ex-
change for small amounts of coin or gear. If videogames function as
what Wark calls “allegorithms” for algorithmic regulation, we could
easily locate in this shift a bio-political allegorithm for the real-world
“gig economy” characterized by companies like Uber and Lyft. The rise
of the private contractor simply drifts through society from small task
to small task without stable employment or collective bargaining power,
similar to how Geralt completes a never-ending series of tiny gigs in the
game world.

From Power-Knowledge to Habit-Knowledge
Thus far, this narrative about GPTs should seem fairly familiar to read-
ers acquainted with cultural studies and critical theory. It is in keep-
ing with the sorts of expressive theoretical rhetorics that our field has
drawn upon and, indeed, might direct our writing students to employ
in order to analyze the political ideology of videogames in an analytical
essay. However, within this extension of Foggian design elements to bio-­
political habit production, it is possible to locate a fairly novel dimension
of a preference for traditional texts and analytical critique over tracing
the full range of actual behaviors enabled by GPTs. As productive as
the argument via Foucault that GPTs’ rhetoricality is no longer a mat-
ter of “authentic” versus “inauthentic” videogames but one of charting
how bio-power emerges across these heterogeneous cultural milieus,
there remains a certain theoretical privilege at play that does not actu-
ally reach the view of materiality required for the non-mechanistic view
of procedural habits that I am after. Indeed, there is something within
the structure of critique—whether it is bio-power, Marxist dialectics,
or queer and gender topoi—that negates the ability of procedural habits
to form through GPTs as expressive except in so far as they emerge in
relationship to a particular prior human-centered or discursive political
To illustrate this set of concerns, I want to recast the ways in which
we might approach the rhetoric of GPTs and procedural habits through
Felski’s concept of postcritical reading in her book The Limits of Critique.
While her object of interest is literary texts per se, her diagnosis of the
problems of critique can easily apply to videogame rhetorics as well. The
novelty and, I would suggest, interest for many rhetoric and composition
scholars in her work lies in her observation about how critique func-
tions as a rhetorical disposition or style. It is a discourse that performs a
certain attitude toward a text in which the literary (or rhetorical) critic
approaches a text (or a videogame) with the goal of exposing its hidden

Gamification and Suggestion Technologies  149
truths. Our field is well-acquainted with this approach, from Berlin’s
Marxist social-epistemic critique to Cynthia Selfe and Richard Selfe’s
location of Althusser subject interpellation in their canonical “Politics
of the Interface” essay.48 The “desktop” as a visual metaphor for a PC’s
graphic user interface, they argue, “hails” the user into a capitalist work
mentality. Indeed, Felski argues that what constitutes critical reading
across the humanities is what the French literary theorist Paul Ricoeur
called a “hermeneutics of suspicion.” In the work of seminal figures like
Marx, Freud, and Nietzsche, a hermeneutics of suspicion captures many
general characteristics of critique: “[R]adicalism is not just a matter of
action or argument but also one of interpretation. The task of the so-
cial critic is now to expose hidden truths and draw out unflattering and
counterintuitive meanings that others fail to see,” in order to perform an
iconoclastic smashing of idols against the forms of social complicity that
a given text reveals.49
Obviously, critical theorists have engaged a different set of thinkers
beyond Marx, Freud, and Nietzsche in the past few decades. Neverthe-
less, Felski insists that Ricoer’s description still describes the approach
of a great deal of literary and critical theory in the present. With my
analysis in the previous section in mind, think back to the terms that
I mentioned, such as “gamespace,” “allegorithm,” and “bio-power,” or
conversely, revisit the insights of the central texts on the rhetoric of vid-
eogames, like McAllister’s Game Work (dialectics) or Paul’s Wordplay.
Critique has been an inseparable part of how we have imagined how
videogames function as expressive rhetorical actors, by mirroring or
producing differently some established set of social-political relations.
In fact, given how easily Fogg’s work describes a host of interpenetrating
cultural milieus, from commercial GPTs to state algorithmic regulation
practices, it just seems naïve to argue that gamification could be any-
thing other than a link toward a covert project of a capitalist mode of
As the title of her book confirms, Felski is interested in the limita-
tions of critique. One of her concerns is that critique has come to stand
in for all forms of criticism. She is wary of a danger in assuming that
what we seek to interpret is always constituted by a hidden meaning to
tease out. In an earlier book, 50 Felski offers a teaching anecdote: her
undergraduate literature students were so resistant to patriarchy and the
understanding that they needed to impose a correct feminist reading on
a literary text that they missed an otherwise sophisticated engagement
with gender in a novel like Henry James’s The Bostonians. We have
seen similar lines of argument in our field, particularly from scholars we
sometimes group with “postprocess” or “postpedagogy.” Through the
lens of Paul Kameen’s vitalism, for example, Byron Hawk declares that
Berlin’s social-epistemic heuristics “become law in the first-year com-
position classroom,”51 thereby blocking out the consideration of other

150  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently
forms of affect or relationality that do not correspond to the specific
political ideology that we teach. The analogy for examining procedural
habits in GPTs or any videogame is along similar lines. The danger in
assuming that GPTs are an exclusive product of an invisible totalizing
relation—power—is that we may miss other ways in which procedural
habits shape players’ modes of being.
There are two parts of this complex argument that I want to address:
how Foucault fits into critique and, in turn, how Felski desires to remedy
the problems of critique. Felski offers two basic forms of the rhetorical style
of critique used by a great deal of twentieth-century critical theory: depth
and surface. Drawing on telling spatial metaphors, Marxists and Freudians
“dig down” into the text by mistrusting its surface effects. By comparison,
poststructuralists and new historicists “stand back” from the text by mis-
trusting what is naturalized. While these approaches do differ, both retain
the hermeneutics of suspicion. Both encourage the critic to view any texts—
literary or videogame—as more than what it says and, therefore, reading
becomes the act of “drawing out the nonobvious.”52 She elaborates:

[There are] two variants of critique: hermeneutics versus genealogy,
depth versus surface, the pursuit of truth versus the interrogation
of nature. In the first scheme, the critic strives to recover or retrieve
something precious: interpretation pivots on a division between what
is concealed and what is revealed. False gods are cast down in order
to usher in a new regime of truths; critical doubt is deployed in the
service of a final revelation. For a second group of critiques, this
hermeneutics is not yet suspicious enough, thanks to its pesky attach-
ment to final vocabularies and ultimate truths. Their response is to
sweep away the topology of depth, with its distinction between the
truth and the false, reality and its concealment. There are no longer
hidden layers to be peeled back, mysteries to be unveiled, or secrets
to be salvaged. Instead, the object of analysis exists on a flat plane. 53

It is this latter group that Foucault fits into but in a very nuanced way. For
example, notable Foucaultian scholars like Paul Rabinow and ­Hubert
Dreyfus have suggested that Foucault’s work is “anti-­hermeneutic,” be-
cause power is not controlled by a single individual or group. There is
no secret cabal of capitalist overlords who are reading Fogg’s P ­ ersuasive
Technologies in their monthly book club meetings and then imple-
menting these ideas to enslave the world as a unified project. Nor, in
Foucault’s understanding, does power just negate individuals. Power is
productive and manifests through the circulation of discourses and now
videogames and GPTs. These discourses become decentralized, which
is how GPTs can be read as part of algorithmic regulation. These forms
of power do not obscure a hidden reality but rather bring into existence
historically contingent forms of acting and being, such as gamification.

Gamification and Suggestion Technologies  151
For this reason, Felski suggests that Foucault’s version of critique
stresses the metaphor of surface over depth. Here, she echoes the ar-
guments of other Foucaultian commentators such as Jim Merod, who
argues that Foucault is still working through critique and hermeneutics:
“the repeated emphasis on power as an elusive interrelational phenome-
non, something that escapes detection but is prevalent and formative.”54
By extension, what we examine in the rhetorical situation of procedural
habits in GPTs is only ever an endless search for evidence of this single
rhetorical actor. Foucault’s work in this regard takes on what Felski calls
a “second order hermeneutics”—a critic stands back from a text to de-
naturalize its assumptions and position them within larger structures of
power. In this approach, the critic’s “attention shifts from the ‘what’ to
the ‘how’ of meaning, to the discursive conditions that allow a text to
signify. Still, we remain committed to looking at undefined forces. Cri-
tique remains interpretation in structure.”55 Thus, even when Foucault
allows us to talk about how GPTs organize actual embodied procedural
habits, what is rhetorically salient remains wedded to a prior discursive
condition or totalizing theoretical construct.
Felski’s intent in teasing out these two spatial metaphors for critique
lies in the desire to advocate for a third style of reading—postcritical
reading—that allows us to theorize the politics of a literary text (or
videogame) while not proceeding through critique and demystification
alone. It is the figure that Felski turns to in order to avoid these various
spatial metaphors of depth or surface that will help me to ultimately
recast procedural habits in the context of GPTs: Latour’s ANT. As I par-
tially gesture toward in Chapter 1, ANT does not work with a view of
reality composed by a bounded totality governed by a predetermined
set of structures and functions (bio-power, neoliberalism, Marxist dia-
lectics, etc.). As Latour argues throughout Reassembling the Social, the
“social” does not exist. The social is characterized by the agencies and
associations of human and nonhuman actors to compose singular and
unique networks. For Latour, the social only exists through its enact-
ment as people and things temporarily come together and break apart,
sometimes in expected ways. The social is not a static object to read but
an actively emerging process to trace. Social explanations are what need
explanation in the first place, because they do not exist. We do not use
an individual text like a GPT to explain a text or a text to explain the
social forces that produce it. Rather, Latour suggests that since humans
and nonhumans shape these networks, everything is an actor—an ac-
tant. Anything can mediate anything else.
Viewing the social as a space constructed by the agencies of human and
nonhuman actors is what enables us to grasp a picture of how procedural
habits form through GPTs. Nonhuman actors can be microbes, paint-
ings, videogames, manuals, controllers, and electrical circuits. An actor
is not defined by conscious intent but simply as something that makes a

”61 It is for this reason among many others that rhetoric and composition scholars have been increasingly drawn to Latour. the materials used to construct the text. When we do this. determining conditions. If we treat this economic relations as an allegory for habits or dispositions that correspond to upper and lower classes.”60 ANT is what Latour calls at one point a ­“radical empiricism” that requires us to slow down. they are not just channels for conveying predetermined meanings. Latour’s greater concern is simply that if we use a single cause (bio-power) to ex- plain thousands of different effects (GPTs. book publishers. calls forth. We avoid examining the inexhaustible but real differences of shimmer. reflecting on what it unfurls.57 Latour offers the example of the difference between silk and ny- lon as fabrics. a form of making rather than unmak- ing. color. to use one of Latour’s well-known examples. because no single actor controls reality. or feel that motivate attachments to one fabric versus another by various social actors. She states. and try to attend as much as possible to the actual words.). using Latour means viewing a literary text not just as an object of critique or interpretation but also as something that creates affective relations in critics.”59 ­Postcritical reading helps to articulate “reading as a co-production between actors rather than an unrevealing of manifest meaning. etc. makes possible. does not prevent speeding entirely. “Rather than looking behind the text—for its hidden causes. but compose and configure these meanings in specific ways. ­Latour is not advocating behavioral or technological determinism. we only reduce these phenomena to illustrations of a previously established scheme. Detachment gives way to implication and entanglement. readers. procedural habits of actors within our networks without converting these actors to an object of our prior the- oretical interests.”58 Felski’s use of Latour to describe what reading literature means gives us some idea of how we can use ANT to theorize procedural habits differ- ently in GPTs. Digging at that “all-too hasty but teachable version” of Bourdieu’s habitus as cri- tique. and nox- ious motives—we might place ourselves in front of the text.152  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently difference in composing the space of the social. In summarizing this example. “actors only become actors via their relations with other phenomena. and. and so on. then we learn nothing new about the nature of these effects.” thereby “priming the critic to scrutinize the beliefs and attitudes of earlier times with cool-eyed neutral- ity. “Silk and nylon … are not passive intermediaries but active mediators. For Felski. Actors are not self-governing. algorithmic regulation. but it can in fact deter this behavior. Felski counters (via Latour). we endeavor to avoid how Foucaultian criticism imagines the past (or the present) as a series of self-contained epistemes like “discipline” or “bio-power. actor behaviors.”56 A speed bump. To be clear. as mediators and translators linked in extended constellations of cause and effect. To offer an example . Rather. avoid imposing our prior theoretical frame- works in advance. especially.

Rather. Taylor have drawn upon Latour to examine how videogames are not just products of designers’ or players’ aims. and in place of the actors. Rather than assuming that an object like a GPT corresponds to a self-contained bio-political episteme.” Latour admonishes. Latour instead requires us to trace the actors that compose a public rather than assuming its character or nature in advance. a text is an active mediator that creates its own political context.64 instead. ANT importantly re-orients political approaches to texts and GPTs as well.”65 In his later writing. player manuals. it is the process of tracing the interconnections.”62 He instead urges researchers to compose net- works by describing the various empirical and nonconforming items and nonhuman actors that are connected or unconnected to a student’s specific rhetorical effects. “No public.”63 Even a handful of games studies scholars like T. Rice recommends avoiding re-iterating topoi such as “YouTube writers address multiple audiences from friends to accidental readers. technical writers. and even moral reasons. . as I infer from these theoretical ideas is to view a GPT as a potential source of rhetorical knowledge rather than just a reflective object of existing knowledge—“one whose cognitive impact and implications are tied up with its affective reach. and conflicts among actors and medi- ators as they come into view. and commercial online distributors. “it is crucial that enquirers do not in advance. coders. such as Rice’s localized assem- blage at the University of Kentucky. videogames are composed through the different networks of beta testers. “the terms normally associated with writing assessment. will not generate anything new in terms of description but instead produce (or fail to produce) the ef- fects that the explanation presupposes. Juxtapose. Remix. Gamification and Suggestion Technologies  153 more relevant to the teaching of writing. “Extend.” Applying these topoi to a set of actor networks.”66 “For scientific. engineers. no problem. WPA assessment discourses priv- ilege topoi such as “regular.” and “coherent.” as Noortje Meras summarizes Dewey’s position. Account. political. define what sorts of building blocks the social world is made of.” Rice maintains.” “systematic. Latour invokes John Dewey’s idea of the problem of the publics. Jeff Rice employs ANT in the context of WPA assessment to demonstrate the shortcomings of an exclusive reliance on explanation. Trace. The invitation then. These are not. Felski summarizes: “Politics is no longer a matter of gesturing toward the hidden forces that explain everything. A text is not just a reflection of an existing political context—a passive intermediary that we use to transmit the context to us. In analyzing texts such as a student ­YouTube composition. attachments.”67 We know what constitutes a political problem by GPTs once we trace the net- works and see what actual affects and effects and procedural habits are produced. marketing teams.L.

she mentions examining a text’s material af- fordances. newspaper review columns. Gibson’s examination of how animals interact with environments. my suggestion is simply that certain parts of Fogg’s work and. We may continue to look down on figures like Fogg because of his naïve way of stating that persuasive technologies can “change your mind” and because he sim- ply does not describe a richer relationship between habit and rhetoric. What if we follow Fogg’s unabashed enthusiasm and simply allowed GPTs through ANT an equal place in the rhetorical situation? Felski asks a question that I would ask about how procedural habits form in GPTs: “What would it mean. what affordances do they make possible that other videogames that do not have habit-formation as an exclusive end make possible? . book clubs.154  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently Time to Eat ANTs This detailed comparison between Foucault and Latour via Felski is worthwhile because it allows us to examine GPTs with a fresh analytical gaze and therefore discuss the sorts of procedural habits that GPTs cre- ate as actual singular actors in the world. pavement. we can ask about GPTs. as actors?”69 As an illustrative example. Objects in the world have different properties that enable certain ac- tivities (i. in as far as habits—our second nature—are shaped through human and nonhuman agencies.. “Affordances” is a term that comes from psychologist James J. in which edited collec- tions like Paul Lynch and Nathaniel R. Simply put. “disrupting the environmental cues that trigger and maintain habit performance renders habits open to change. Whether a literary text is taken up with depends entirely upon the actual material and affective relations that it produces in critics. But is what he is getting at fundamentally different from Latour’s speed bump example? In our material turn as a field.e. rather than converting GPTs to passive mediators of critique or bio-power alone. does Fogg’s work not take on a renewed sense of importance at least at a descriptive level? For example. then to acknowledge poems and paintings. River’s Thinking With Bruno Latour In Rhetoric and Composition start paying attention to bricks. and countless other actors. marketing professors Bas Verplanken and Wendy Wood declare. and countless other actors. GPTs should not be seen only as passive bio-political intermediaries. Literary works like chairs and videogames “make available” certain options for moving through them. Affordance is not subjective or objec- tive but a relation that exists between things. engender to form certain habits) like a knee-high surface affords us the ability to sit down. Thus. circuits.”68 These ontological properties of the human are why grocery stores often have to change their entire spatial arrangements in order to call our attention to new products (as opposed to simply adding them to new rows on existing shelves). statues. by extension. fictional characters and narrative devices.

Geri Gay. for example. Specifically citing Fogg. Certain behaviors. as I demonstrate in the final section. this analysis. I examine Mol’s analysis of the failures of logical and cognitive forms of persuasion in dietary and nutritional guides. and ownership. and dogs.70 After describing how Fogg reconfigures kairos. staplers. In turn. Gamification and Suggestion Technologies  155 To demonstrate an answer to this question. At the start of the game. including dinosaurs. Emily Wagner.”72 The timing of the messages is specific to the common daily habits of children. Missing breakfast. The designers indicate that their persuasive choices were predicated upon psychological research and behavioral science. causes a user to lose two points and results in push notifications or reminders to eat breakfast. and neither is today’s breakfast of doughnuts.71 Despite relying on conven- tional forms of pathos or emotional identification. Can you try some- thing healthier tomorrow. enables us to better appreciate how GPTs show us disembodied forms of rhetoric. I will use this revelation to pursue a larger point about procedural habits and the ways in which they operate as nonconscious and habitual forms of rhetoric. Imagine that a child uploads a photograph of a doughnut. The game’s real-time response would be “Yesterday’s breakfast wasn’t great. receive points. such as remembering to eat breakfast or eating healthy food. users receive healthy-eating reminders through push notifi- cations or emails. Sahara Byrne. penguins. The designers draw on the popularity of existing virtual-pet care games such as the Tamagotchi and Nintendogs. and Lee Humphreys at Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab to help children eat a healthy breakfast. players can choose to adopt a range of animals and inanimate objects. TTE relies on this habituated practice to inform its rhetorical design. TTE sends reminders before and after school hours. Daniela Retelny. TTE is specifi- cally designed to be easily superimposed upon a user’s existing patterns of behavior. like oatmeal with fruit?”73 The motivation . designed by JP Pollak. TTE’s game-like mechanisms occur in the requirement for the user to take a photo of his or her meal and upload it through the game’s inter- face. I want to use ANT to understand Fogg’s idea of kairos as a “suggestion technology” in the context of a GPT. by drawing directly on Fogg’s work. attachment. Mol actually invites us to look at what I view as Foggian design elements as part of how individuals learn (sec- ond nature) how to like and dislike certain foods. the designers key in on how mobile phones by design have already habituated their users to receiving constant updates. robots. Time to Eat (TTE). trees. Players needed to pick and name their pets in order to allow them to feel a sense of control. with a particular emphasis on breakfast and snack time. To do so. such as “Good morning! Remember to eat breakfast today. TTE persuades children to eat a healthy breakfast by caring for a virtual pet. the selection of the pet is where any conventional approaches to persuasion end. hippos. Upon starting the game.

GPTs indicate that a rhetor should instead locate the most opportunities for positive and negative reinforcement with regard to a target audience’s locally situated daily habits.75 In Pollak et al. Temporal factors also take on a renewed importance with respect to shaping a user’s habits. Here. In a direct nod to Fogg. Rather than seeking to find a good argument to appeal to the mind’s symbolic capacities. the designers envision a rhetorical situation that is not a static or single manifestation of a persuasive activity. offer the anecdote of a participant who emailed the pet “thank u skittles. since the points awarded determine the emotional state of the pet. ANT’s perspective is useful to start to view GPTs as a potential and productive source of mediation into habit change through gamification. Pollak et al. with 52% of app users choosing to eat healthier breakfasts. happy Monday!” after receiving the pet’s positive feedback. It is not just the content on the screen but the embodied and spatialized habits of users that serve as an effective precondition for persuasion. the researchers found that the emotional attachment to the pet proved to be one of the most significant predictors of success in habit change. an ontological belief in moderation that requires man’s rational faculties. Pollack et al. Indeed. such as a televised presidential speech or a single play of a newsgame like September 12. because the location of persuasion occurs in the habituated use of the mobile phone. They cite evidence of children interacting with their pet directly through email. and spatial situatedness with regard to technology as through logic or reason. Through Fogg.76 In fact. of presenting facts to persuade the disembodied cogito). obesity in public health awareness is often dis- cussed through the topoi of “greed” and self-denial. The player picks up the persuasive message like an algorithmic enthymeme: the behaviors that correspond to the procedural prompts and nudges of positive and negative reinforcement rely on the unstated premise that children should eat healthy breakfasts. TTE’s designers specifically take advantage of the fact that mobile phones have become such an ingrained part of the habits of many American chil- dren’s daily lives.’s goal in ­Barter (an example I discuss in Chapter 1.156  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently to eat more healthfully lies in the child’s ability to emotionally identify with the pet. embodiment. the researchers claim: “The fact that the pet ‘lives’ in the kids’ phones is important” with regard to how many millennials have developed the habit of sleeping with their phones.’s Foggian reasoning. assume that habits of diet can be produced as much through nonconscious affect. Similar to Knowles et al. cognition. in comparison to 20% who did not use the app. but is instead a dynamic and evolving activity over a lengthy period of time. declare that mobile phones potentially offer a more effective form of persuasion than a televised pro-health ad at the level of repetition and reinforcement alone. often treating it as a social being.74 Designers reported a great deal of success. Pollak et al. an audience’s habituated use of technologies is the critical element for establishing effective forms of per- suasion. .

80 Volunteers in- variably drank less of the viscous fluid than the more liquid. pudding. The solid pudding fared the best in terms of encouraging the body to self-regulate: “[B]odies may stop eating and drinking. children tasted both raisins and mangos and reported that both tasted equally as good. because diets are embodied as well as cognitive. eating as a rhetorical practice stems from habituated modes of conduct within actual embodied and physical constraints. with pre-war and war years focusing on terms like “enoughness” or “adequacy” and post-war on “abundance” and “excess. Mol counters that it is not the cogito’s fault that it fails to be persuaded to revise a habit in response to logical demonstration. The next day. Gamification and Suggestion Technologies  157 and will to take control as well as a confirmation of neoliberal rational individualism. Mol points to a research study in which participants drink three different textures of chocolate—thickened milk. Mol advocates employing what I would view as a non-digital equivalent of a persuasive technology. She offers the example of young school children (five years old). As a point of comparison. it seeks pleasure. in Kant’s sense. all by themselves.”81 Simply put. As part of the experiment. She describes a situation in which a classroom contains a large bowl with raisins and the other with dried mangos. and milk—that all had the same calories per milliliter. Deny what your body says—“It tricks you. Pleasure was figured as a dangerous excess to be avoided. this definition puts rhetori- cians again in the realm of an expressive/mundane division in the sense that the negative (emotional/female) body “tricks” the masculine (logi- cally or dialogically inclined) mind. Pleasure was purely a bad habit. or textual demonstration. In a tacit argument for rhetoric’s embodied character. Actual properties of actual foods can be more or less con- ducive to good eating habits than any amount of procedural.77 Mol links this phenomenon to the foundations of nutri- tion science in ascetic Christianity’s emphasis on frugality and economy.”79 As I note in Chapter 2. The cogito need a persuasive game and not a persuasive technology. when their senses are satisfied. Like Kant’s fear of habits. Habits are only negative and mech- anistic obstacles to rational eating practices. to be overcome by a rational individual who needed to ex- ercise some individual self-restraint. thereby historically linking obesity to moral failure. visual. our “bad habits” of diet simply need more revelation and accurate information in order for us to overcome our self-incurred forms of mechanistic habits. Furthermore. students could eat mango at their own preference but could eat raisins only when a special . All fruit was subsequently eaten.” moderation in nutrition science remained wedded to a utilitar- ian maintenance of the body’s functional energy. the teacher created a procedural rule for eating fruit: once the break began. although the discourses shift over time.78 Mol claims that reducing dieting and obesity to a cognitive matter of counting calories and moderation frames the body in negative terms while privileging the cogito.

158  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently signal was given later on. she declares: Food is an actant in an agentic assemblage that includes among its members my metabolism. Bennett offers a similar example in Vibrant Matter of French fries that are served at fast food restaurants and contain “omega-3” fatty acids.82 If eaten in wild salmon. Yet. and moral sensibility. Conclusion One clear implication of this analysis is that ANT refuses to view GPTs as inherently good or bad forms of digital rhetoric in advance. Children would wait for the signal and consume all of the raisins. we can also start to differentiate GPTs from one another by virtue of the actual relations that they produce or habits that they shape. then. which is also what we would say of a more conventionally expressive videogame as well. these fatty acids add fat to our bodies. not all forms of gamification follow this particular structure. Habits constitute the space through which affects and environments leave traces within our bodies. she highlights that for persuasion to be effective.83 It is this sort of realization that demonstrates for me the value of ANT in the context of videogame rhetoric. Fundamentally. Human intentionality is surely an important element of the public that is emerging around the idea of diet.” If consumed in French fries. however. Phylo (McGill) and FoldIt (University of Washington) are examples in which academic researchers have gamified pattern recognition sequences for genomic . through more recent thinkers. while mangos were often left in the bowl. Amazingly. and also improve human moods. but it is not the only actor or necessarily the key operator in it. obesity. In a conclusion that sounds eerily like Aristotle’s hexis. a claim from the non-mechanistic tradition of habit from Aristotle and Ravais- son. Echoing Fogg’s use of behavioral economics. which affects humans’ susceptibility to symbolic arguments. Rather. omega-3 fatty acids produce affirmative mental and dietary effects. and food security. stunt our memories. it simply must do more than speak to the disembodied cogito of the videogame player. Rather. framing an eating prac- tice as special increases its attractiveness. the success of GPTs—if you will—depends entirely upon the networks of associations that they are capable of actively participating in. Mol is not advocating a behaviorist form of rhetoric like placing children in one of BF Skinner’s boxes. cognition. For example. children overwhelmingly reported preferring raisins after a few days. while the term “GPT” describes how a habit-shaping app is grafted onto real-world activities. Let me draw a point of comparison back to Mol’s illustration with the pudding.

In effect. Truthfully. We can and should absolutely . If we were to lose the password to our university email accounts. Brown Jr. because it does not require us to accept all forms of gamification as good or bad. since the use of procedures to manipulate an audience would certainly fall within the realm of both rhetoric and ethics. based on how its actors use it within networks. Brown Jr. then “the university server … examines the situation and determines the best course of action is to lock me out” as an ethical practice. Brown Jr. any GPT or habit-shaping design element has the potential to function as an important rhetoric actor by participating in the shaping of what James J.’s thinking. notes a critical point in support of my ar- gument: “While critics of gamification would focus on whether MyBO used game features in meaningful ways.”87 Here.85 Similar to ANT’s orientation. to use Brooke’s phrase from Lingua Fracta—show that it will be a consideration of the entire assemblage that helps us understand how ethical programs and procedural habits form. these forms of repeated em- bodied and cognitive activities through gamification can potentially— albeit not exclusively—cultivate a broader procedural habit (a hexis) of creative and scientific inquiry. Here. users’ ecologies of practice—their actual behaviors beyond our literal reading of the intended use of the interface.” to think through the computational procedures of software and our own procedures in working within these spaces to develop programs of action to deal eth- ically with them: “An ethical program. offers the exam- ple of MyBO.”84 Humans and nonhumans can both enact ethical programs in Brown Jr.” as I discuss in Chapter 5—­nevertheless integrate an unknown real-world problem into the game to be collaboratively solved. calls an “ethical program. Brown Jr. “Discussions of gamification are central to any discussion of ethical programs.”86 The pressing issue. As an example of an ethical program. These latter examples—what games stud- ies researcher Karen Schrier dubs “knowledge games. it seems clear that volunteers were motivated by these features and that the site felt like a game to those atop the leaderboard. Gamification and Suggestion Technologies  159 sequences to provide a source of external motivation to enable crowd- sourced assistance in research. computational or otherwise.’s discussion of an ethical program also views gamification as a legitimate rhetorical actor. the main grassroots organizing website of (then) presi- dential candidate Barack Obama’s election campaign. notes that MyBO uses gamified points and metrics to provide incentives for volunteers. however. Brown Jr. I therefore find ANT’s orientation to be quite valuable. is not the question of coercion versus authentic rhetoric but the types of dispositions that are created. Brown Jr. writes. Computers are constantly filtering out information and procedurally or- ganizing our habits of interaction within digital spaces. is a set of steps taken to address an ethical predicament. while most GPTs simply add game elements to motivation behavior.

accessed May 15. https://newrepublic. ac- cessed May 15. 22 Patrick Jagoda. 2015. 7 TaskRabbit (TaskRabbit.” Computers and Composition 25 (2008): 284–299. Richard Colby. “Big Mother is Watching You. vid- eogame (1. “On Gamification and Other Forms of Play. Jan. 2011. 2017). 13 James Paul Gee.1. ac- cessed May 15. 16 Ian Bogost. “Learning by Design: Good Videogames as Learning ­Machines. 3 Jane McGonigal. 2013). and the Absence of Writing. Inc. Mobile app. S. 2017). 2003). Run! London. Ulmer (along with other rhetoricians like Jeff Rice) has already explored a related idea. “Playful. 15 Jane McGonigal. “Composition. 2014). no. 9.” gamification-is-bullshit/243338/ 17 Go Fucking Do It! (Levels.J. Foursquare Labs. Computer Games.html 11 Zombies. videogame.” Gamification Corporation. 2009. Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World (New York: Penguin. www. SuperBetter (Berkeley. As I make clear in Chap- ter 6 on heuretics. 14 Justin parental-surveillance-creepy-new-ways-spy-your-kids 21 Eric Topol (health care industry expert) in discussion with Anne Helen ­Peterson.. CA: SuperBetter. UK. 18 Ascent (Montebello  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently strive to support GPTs that work to shape good dispositions.” E-Learning 2. Vessyl (Mark Notes 1 Fitbit Tracker.. Fogg. Inc. mobile app. 2007). http://russelldavies. UK: Six to Start. software. 256. 8 Foursquare. 19 B. 12 It is surprising that Felski does not reference Gregory Ulmer’s essay. Aug. 20 Anne Helen 10 Russell Davies. no. ed. Chore Wars (Kevan. and as I discuss in Chapter 6. Inc. 311. See Gabe Zichermann. 2014).” Boundary 2 40. mobile app. “Developing and Extending Gaming Pedagogy: Designing a Course as Game. 2015. 2011). mobile app. mobile app. Wearable device. LLC. 1. Jul. London. Matthew S. 2 Habitica: Gamify Your Life (Santa Monica. 2015. quoted in Ibid. and Rebekah Schultz Colby (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 1 (2005): 5.typepad. Johnson.” in Rhetoric/Composition/Play Through Video Games: Reshaping Theory and Practice of Writing. 28. 2017. Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do (Amsterdam: Morgan Kaufmann.gamification.5. 5 Kevin Davis. 2017. Ver.2). 2017). app. 2009.” The Atlantic. 6 Glow (San Francisco. 4 Mark One.. 2017. 23 Ibid. 116. 3. . 24 See Kevin Moberly.theatlantic. 2015). “Gamification. “The Object of Postcriticism” at any point in her book. CA: HabitRPG. 9 I direct interested readers to the Gamification Corporation’s website (pro- duced by Zimmerman) for a comprehensive introduction to this rise. ­October 31. “Gamification is Bullshit. 2014). 46. FitBit Incorporated. procedural habits offers us some additional tools through which to make these sorts of distinctions. CA: Glow Inc. 2 (2013): 113–114. www. mobile app. 45–62. 2014.” presentation at This is Playful.

https://newrepublic. Neoliberalism. 28 Gilles Deleuze. Gamification and Suggestion Technologies  161 25 Ronald Walter Greene.html. 18 (translation modified by the author). 31 Jeremy Parker. Daniela Retelny. accessed May 15. 17. G ­ alloway.technologyreview. 2 (2007): 213. tran. 2007). 4 (1978): 809. 480.html. www. and Mark Whitehead. www. Gay. (Minneapolis: University of ­M innesota. no. Freeman. and the Modernization of Pa- triarchal Power. 40 Tim O’Reilly. 2017. 2017. 2015. 2014. http://sfpark. no. 2013. 35 Eric P. 43 Ibid. 2004). Christine M. com.” Philosophy and Rhetoric 37. 25. Gonzales. Feb. 146. 38 “BlueDot Behaviors. Michel Senellart (New York: Palgrave. Jan.” in Feminism and Foucault: Reflections on Resistance. “Rhetoric and Capitalism: Rhetorical Agency as Communicative Labor. Oct. 2007). 2015. 2017. 2013). 32 Anne Helen Peterson. 37 Michael J. 4 4 Sandra Lee Bartkey. 87–88. quoted in Alexander R. “Big Mother is Watching You. Jeff Niederdeppe. and Geri K. Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture. “Can Pavlok’s Wristband Zap You Into Better Shape?” how-it-works/. “The Real Privacy Problem. 2017. 2017. Jessica Pykett. 1998). 2017.” SF Park. Brett Goldstein and Lauren Dyson (New York: Code for America Press. Oct. Phil Adams. 33 Scott Kirsner. Femininity. Security. 41 “How It Works. Graham Burchell.S. www. accessed on May 15. Gamer Theory ( 29 Michel Foucault.” symploke 17. “(Nonsymbolic) Motion/ (Symbolic) Action. com/s/520426/the-real-privacy-problem/. trans. Sherri Jean Katz. 2008).” NY Times. ed. Baumer. Graham Burchell. Philosophy and Culture. 2006). The Transmission of Affect (Ithaca. “Having an Idea in Cinema. behaviors-preview/. 1. 2013). 36 Rhys Jones. Territory. 118–121. The Birth of nology/innoeco/2014/02/can_pavloks_wristband_zap_you.” MIT Technology Re- view.” in Proceedings of the ACM 2012 Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (ACM. 39 Evgeny Morozov. com/2013/10/18/nyregion/new-york-soda-ban-to-go-before-states-top- court. 201.” Critical Inquiry 4. “Open Data and Algorithmic Regulation. NY: Cornell University Press. 2013. Changing Behaviours: On the Rise of the Psychological State (Cheltenham: Elgar. “Prescriptive Persuasion and Open-Ended Social Awareness: Expanding the Design Space of Mobile Health. “Homeland Subjectivity: The Algorithmic Identity of Secu- rity. Population. 20. ed. “New York Soda Ban to Go Before State’s Top Court. accessed May 15. Amy L. ed. and the Digital Game. 42 McKenzie Wark.behaviorwizard. accessed May parental-surveillance-creepy-new-ways-spy-your-kids. Eleanor Kaufman and Kevin Jon Heller (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.” Buzzfeed. 27 Michel Foucault. 1–2 (2009): 115–127. . 7. “Governmentality. 289–302.nytimes. 15. Olson. 22. John Pollak. Michel Senellart (New York: Palgrave. 2012). MA: Harvard University Press. 34 Kenneth Burke. 30 Teresa Brennan. www.” Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies 4. Jill E. ed. 26 Andrew Baerg. 4 (2004): 203.” in Beyond Trans- parency: Data and the Future of Civic Innovation. accessed May 15. accessed May 15. no. “Foucault. no.” Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab.” in Deleuze and Guattari: New Mappings in Politics.

. 68 Bas Verplanken and Wendy Wood. no. 76 Ibid. Jr. 48 Cynthia L. Taylor. Reassembling the Social (New York: Oxford University Press.. 2003). Mobile app.. 1. 22. Dataclysm: Who We Are When We Think No One’s Looking (New York: Crown. 2015). 6. Pollak. 81. 55 Felski. 173. 2015). 63 Ibid.. 25. and Lee Humphreys.. 1 (2006): 101. 78 Ibid. “The Politics of the Interface: Power and Its Exercise in Electronic Contact Zones. 46 William Davies..” Games and Culture 4. 228. Sahara Byrne. Selfe and Richard J. 2014).. (Leuvin: Acco Academic Publishers). Geri Gay.. “It’s Time to Eat. 171. Daniela Retelny. 57 Ibid.L. no. 53 Ibid. eds. 67 Bruno Latour. 125. 60 Ibid. 69 Felski. 164. 2 (Winter 2004): 164. “Moderation or Satisfaction? Food Ethics and Food Factsm” in Whose Weight Is It Anyway? Essays on Ethics and Eating. 26. 23. 125. The Limits. 70 J. Emily Wagner. 56 Bruno Latour. 51 Byron Hawk. 1994): 480–504. 81. The Political Responsibility of the Critic (Ithaca. 71 Ibid.. 174. 54 Jim Merod. 4 (2009): 331–339. 66 Ibid. no. “Networked Assessment. A Counter-History of Composition: Toward Methodologies of Complexity (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh.” Computers and Composition 23.. The Limits. Selfe. 45 Health (Cupertino.. The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold Us Well-Being (London: Verso. 1987). MA: Northeastern University Press. no. 61 Ibid. Irene Diamond and Lee Quinby (Boston. 159.162  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently ed. 79 Ibid. 74 Ibid.. 25. 25–45. 174.” Pervasive Computing. CA: Apple. 3 (2010): 21–27. 5 6 Felski. 23. 75 Ibid. 62 Jeff Rice. The Limits. The Limits of Critique (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. “Why Has Critique Run out of Steam? From Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern. 49 Rita Felski. 1988). 121.P. 4 (Dec. Sofie Vandamme et al. “The Assemblage of Play. 47 Christian Rudder. 2017).. 73 Ibid.” Journal of Public Policy & Marketing 25. . 2007). no.. 174. 84. 52 Felski. 58 Felski. NY: Cornell University Press. 77 Annemarie Mol. “Interventions to Break and Create Con- sumer Habits. The Limits. 2005).” Critical Inquiry 30. 50 Rita Felski. Literature After Feminism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press.” College Composition and Communication 45. IEEE 9.. 83.. 59 Ibid. no. 1 (2011): 6. 41. 72 Ibid. 64 T. The Limits..

Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things (Durham. 9.. Christine M. “Funemployed Playborers. James J.” College Composition and Communication 61. 57. “Prescriptive Persuasion and Open-Ended Social Aware- ness: Expanding the Design Space of Mobile Health. 57. de Wijk. Bartkey. Aug. “Rethinking the Rhetorical Situation from within the Thematic of ‘Différance’” Philosophy & Rhetoric 22. 81 Ibid. Femininity. Gay. 4 (1978): 809–838. Freeman. 85 Ibid. no. Jonathan.” sym- ploke 17. Brown. NY: Cornell University Press. and Lee Quinby. NC: Duke University /disillusioned /discussion-disillusioned /70440/ ian-bogost-funemployed-playborers/ ———. CA: Montebello Software. 2011. Gon- zales. 87 Ibid. Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things. 2 (1989): 110–130. 4 (Dec.” In Proceedings of the ACM 2012 Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work. “(Nonsymbolic) Motion/(Symbolic) Action. Baerg. 2014.behaviorwizard. Phil Adams. Seattle. 1 (Sept. Ian.. is-bullshit/243338/ “BlueDot Behaviors. 25–45. M. February 11 . Bibliography Ascent. Westerterp-Plantenga.” Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab.. Teresa. 125. WA. 1–2 (2009): 115–127. MA: Northeastern Univer- sity Press. Software. ACM. Burke. 2007): 1–8. Alexander. Ethical Programs: Hospitality and the Rhetorics of Soft- ware (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 2015. 2017. http://dismagazine. 1988. 5. Amy L.. edited by Irene Diamond. Jeff Niederdeppe. 2015).” International Journal of Obesity 32. R.” In Feminism and Foucault: Reflections on Resistance. 83 Ibid. Ethical Programs: Hospitality and the Rhetorics of Software.theatlantic. Olson. NC: Duke University Press. Daniela Retelny. Kenneth. 2012. Zijlstra. Brown. “Foucault. no. Accessed May 15. Gamification and Suggestion Technologies  163 80 N. Accessed May 15. Barbara A. de Graaf. 51. 2017. “Governmentality. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Biesecker. 2004. The Transmission of Affect. 2015. 2009): 35–63. Mars. “The Effect of Viscosity on Ad Libitum Food Intake.” The Atlantic. Durham. and the Modernization of Patriar- chal Power. Boston. 86 Ibid.. Bennett. Jill E. 2010). Bogost. 52. Accessed May 15. www. Sandra Lee. no. Andrew. Los Gatos. no. Eric P. 2012  475–484. no. and Geri behaviors-preview/ Brennan.S.15. John Pollak. 2017. and the Composition Class- room: Some Possibilities for Transformation. N. 2010. “Gamification is Bullshit.” Critical Inquiry 4. . and the Digital Game. 82 Jane Bennett. 84 James J. Neoliberalism. Jane. “Gaming.” DIS. 2015. and C. Sherri Jean Katz. www. Student Literacies.. 9. Baumer.

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5 Achieving Eudaimonia
in Free-to-Play Social
Media Games

In Chapter 4, I explore affective design as one way in which more tra-
ditional FPS games employ a select number of Foggian design elements
among other more conventional videogame components. In Chapter 5,
I examine an entire genre, gamified persuasive technologies (GPTs), as
consisting entirely of Foggian design elements and only the most superfi-
cial use of conventional videogame elements. By comparison, ­Chapter 6
features a case study of a videogame genre that exists somewhere in
between these two extremes on the Foggian design spectrum: social
media games for casual gamers. While the traditional consumer audi-
ence for videogames could once be described as a mostly young male
audience who desired complex game mechanics that required a con-
siderable degree of time and skill to master, games studies researcher
Jesper Juul chronicles the rising popularity between 2000 and 2010 of
“casual games.”1 As the name indicates, casual games require only low-
skill gaming ability to enable individuals with no previous experience in
traditional videogames to play. One afternoon during a social gathering
in 2008, I watched a friend’s 90-year old grandmother successfully win
a series of matches on the Nintendo Wii’s Sports Tennis videogame. 2
Afterward, I asked her when she had last played a videogame, and she
commented that she was not sure that she had ever played one in the
past—not even the older prototypes of casual games, such as Tetris or
Solitaire. Released in 2006, the Wii console was a reflection of the rising
interest in casual gaming. The Wii not only incorporated a handheld
remote controller with a motion sensor to allow in-game motions to be
intuitive to casual players (i.e., to hit a tennis ball, a player swings the
controller like she’s holding a racket), but part of its marketing plan and
types of videogames offered were designed for a much broader audience
than the traditional gamer.
By extension, many social media games can be accurately described as
a genre of casual multiplayer videogames that are played synchronously
or asynchronously through social media networks like Facebook. These
games require low skill to play in comparison to the demanding game
mechanics of the sorts of videogames privileged by a traditional gaming
audience, and they are social in the sense that players are procedurally

168  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently
encouraged to post their in-game achievements on their newsfeeds as
well as to solicit in-game aid from other players in their social networks.
Arguably, a central part of the growing overall number of gamers world-
wide is due to social media gaming (alongside other factors such as
competitive esports and online play streaming platforms like Twitch).
In 2015, for example, Facebook estimated that over 250 million world-
wide players each month play social media games, such as Farmville,
CityVille, Happy Street, and Words with Friends.3 As a point of com-
parison, Dota 2, one of the top played videogames on Steam, averaged
a mere 500,000 to 600,000 monthly players during the same calendar
The reason that many social media games exist in between tradi-
tional videogames and GPTs is that social media games do in fact have
more conventional features of videogames than GPTs. As an example,
consider one of the most popular social media games: King Digital
­Entertainment’s Candy Crush Saga (CCS).5 Modeled after Bejeweled,
CCS is a tile-matching videogame that requires players to spend count-
less hours trying to crush different types of candy in a mostly timed
environment with obstacles. A typical level requires combining candies
of the same type in order to eliminate them for points or to remove ob-
stacles with increasing difficulty for each subsequent level. While it is by
no means rich or expansive, CCS does in fact create a narrative world in
a way that a gamified Fitbit does not. The player’s efforts are designed
to support cartoon characters named Tiffi and Mr. Toffee, who seek to
attempt to end the plague of woes faced by the inhabitants of the Candy
­K ingdom. Yet, still closer to GPTs than to traditional videogame genres,
CCS and many other social media games’ expressive components have
little if anything to do with the gameplay. While CCS does require play-
ers to solve in-game puzzles in real-time, players’ interactivity with many
other social media games like Zynga’s Farmville 2 is typically limited to
logging in at predetermined intervals only to perform a series of clicks in
order to set some in-game cycle into motion and, in turn, to receive some
small reward (Figure 5.1).
Farmville 2 is a farming simulator in which the player takes on the role
of a farmer who has to oversee various farm-related tasks such as plant-
ing, harvesting, and growing livestock. A player does not have to solve
puzzles or overcome complex in-game obstacles in order to plant crops.
She simply clicks a button when the in-game timer allows her to plant a
crop, and the crop becomes planted. It is for this reason that many so-
cial media games are popularly known as “clicker” games. The popular
webcomic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal satirized clicker games
(or “incremental rewards” games) through a comparison to the myth of
Sisyphus, commenting “Attendum: each time the rock rolls back down,
a meaningless counter will say you’ve increased one level.”6 (Weiner).
It is the popular association of social media games with mind-
less repetition that makes this genre another important case study for

or simply chat with friends using Facebook messenger while they harvest their crops in Farmville. as Procedural Habits has demonstrated repeatedly.9 Yet.7 A good number in digital rheto- ric have already enjoined us to connect our writing classroom practices to the forms of writing in social media that students are already en- gaged in. this emphasis poten- tially makes social media games all the more attractive to the writing classroom. Social media games are undeniably spaces where writing and persuasion occur as players attempt to solicit in-game aid for players.1  S creenshot from Farmville 2 on Facebook.8 Scholars like John Alberti productively suggest that we can use social media games that students play outside the classroom to direct student writers’ efforts toward more formalized academic means of writ- ing. Achieving Eudaimonia in Free-to-Play Social Media Games  169 Figure 5. examining how digital rhetoricians need to continually balance the pres- ence of Foggian design elements and genres alongside procedural habits. ­Furthermore. these questions are also important to rhetoric and writing teachers as we make decisions about how best to incorporate social me- dia games into our classrooms (or to avoid this heavily commercialized genre entirely). While independent game designers who are interested in more artistic or expressive videogames frequently complain that social media games make the videogame seem like a mere means to the more central activity of social media communication. join guilds. to argue for the incorporation of any videogame genre into the writing classroom .

” and other forms of behavioral psychology to create frustrating barri- ers to in-game progression (after a habit of continuous play has been carefully cultivated) in an effort to encourage players to spend money to receive in-game help.” “layering. I suggest that procedural habits call our attention to theorize the rhetoric of social media games beyond mere mindless click- ing. Echoing my discussion in Chapter 2 of the idea of the “craftsman. If social media games can involve positive procedural habits like ac- tive refinement. I feature numerous examples of how a player in a social media game does more than “just click” the mouse. by examining critical reactions to social media games by various game designers and industry bloggers in the wake of the 2010 Game Design Conference (GDC). I want to inquire how rhetoricians might come to understand or locate new . just as a player does more than “just shoot enemies” in an FPS game. procedural habits direct us toward the cultivation of non-mechanistic dispositions that are hardly reducible by the metaphor of mindless clicking.10 which is grounded in the fantasy universe of the popular HBO television series. Simply put. the largest annual gathering of game design professionals. Despite the fact that the game play’s mechanics are reducible to mindless clicking.” These skills can help individuals develop good behavioral dispositions but without neces- sarily being interpersonal in nature. I offer a very brief examination of some of the creative proce- dural habits of actual expert players in The House of the Black Goat. M ­ embers of The House of the Black Goat have reported other players (or. Here.170  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently also means exploring the procedural habits it supports beyond just the types of traditional texts that student writers might produce. In the second section. Alongside this reduction. In the first section of this chapter. I must point out that many free-to-play social media games use intricate Foggian design elements as part of their play experience. I foreground some ways in which these expert players cultivate what the contemporary virtue ethicist Shannon Vallor calls (by way of Aristotle) “non-moral virtues” or “skills.” for whom repetition through habit is a form of active refinement rather than mindless repetition. one of the strongest and most active guilds in the Facebook social media game Game of Thrones: Ascent. The year 2010 was when independent designers began to criticize the ascendance of Zynga’s Farmville through a se- ries of familiar binaries: expressive/artistic/independent (good rhetoric) and mundane/commercial/embodied (bad rhetoric) to separate authentic from inauthentic videogames. then rather than condemn this genre entirely. I offer a detailed examination of how CCS utilizes “coercive monetization techniques. such as the development of technical competence or learning how to coordinate group actions against enemy factions to take advantage of time management algorithms. have their own players banned) for illegally “scripting” in order to automate (and cheat) its “mindless clicking” game mechanics. I trace one primary way to define so- cial media games.

I use Cow Clicker as a lens to highlight how mun- dane design elements can be incorporated to channel mindless clicking game mechanics toward more eudaimonic ends. I begin to think through an answer to this question by examining the unexpected success of Bogost’s social media satire videogame Cow Clicker. a non-utilitarian ethics grounded in individual happiness or flourishing. especially.13 and the “upcycling” social media game Trash Tycoon. even players who initially played ironically reported continuing to play the game somewhat seriously be- cause they enjoyed it so much. the “joke” ended up being on Bogost and his supporters.” or the use of avant garde art—or avant garde videogames like Cow Clicker in my example—as a guide for rhetorical invention beyond critique. one of Bogost’s out- standing responses to the rise of social media games was to create Cow Clicker.” so to speak. more ethical ends. I draw on electracy theorist Gregory Ulmer’s concept of “heuretics. Early Cow Clicker players. Ulmer’s thinking can be combined with a specific ethical end for procedural hab- its that Cow Clicker can be seen to support: Aristotle’s eudaimonia. be- cause Cow Clicker went viral.12 Amazingly. To make this claim. such as ac- tivist clicker games like Freerice. Alongside giving numerous public interviews critical of social media games. I also feature two alternative . employed Cow Clicker as Bogost intended: to mock their friends’ public posts from Zynga’s social media games by posting their achievements from Cow Clicker on Facebook. In the third part of this chapter. social media game critics. While undoubtedly.11 Cow Clicker is not a persuasive game that modeled the logics of a social media game in order to persuade players to stop playing this genre. Many players who did not understand the satire took Cow Clicker quite seriously. I examine several re- lated heuretical models that involve similar artistic or novel efforts to redirect rather than avoid play habits of mindless clicking. bio-media artist Eduardo Kac’s Teleportation in an Unknown State. Rather. there are many conclusions that can be derived from the unexpected success of Cow Clicker. In the final section. my suggestion is that we can understand Cow Clicker’s apparent failure as satire as an accidental confirmation of an important rhetorical model for intervening in social media players’ procedural habits through their procedural habits. and indie gaming enthusiasts who were “in on the joke. Cow Clicker is an actual social media game that allowed players to play a social media game on Facebook one lesson that Cow Clicker offers rhetoric and composition scholars is not to avoid examining or playing videogames that involve mindless clicking as a central game mechanic but to learn instead how to direct this habituated game mechanic toward different creative and. However. Achieving Eudaimonia in Free-to-Play Social Media Games  171 spaces for rhetorical invention and—if desired—intervention within these spaces. As I suggest in this section. even posting comparative reviews between Bogost’s game and other non-satirical social media games like Mafia Wars.14 Along these lines.

Traditional industry pow- erhouses like Activision/Blizzard and Electronic Arts had also wit- nessed significant stock price collapses. the 2010 gathering was a particularly “tense af- fair. As a result. In Farmville 2. ­Farmville had over 100 million total subscribers and 31 million daily players. seemed to represent the sum of all fears for many traditional game designers. Instead. and technology bloggers.e. The title of a summary article on the proceedings of GDC . he was booed and catcalled by many independent devel- opers in the audience. According to multiple media descriptions by industry reporters. expressive) potential of videogames.” as one journalist from Wired magazine described it. players are en- couraged to purchase “farm bucks” as well as to prod their social media friends to participate in the game by sending players resources. console videogame sales had dropped 9%. The culprits were the growing numbers of casual gamers who were not interested in traditional vid- eogames consumers’ demands for complex game mechanics. When Zynga studio vice president Bill Mooney bragged on stage about the triumph of the new game design revolution while accepting the award at GDC. While creative videogame designers were more interested in how to produce better graphics or game engines.172  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently approaches to gamification that attempt to similarly use behavioral repe- tition through play in order to cultivate what I read as eudaimonic hexeis of scientific inquiry (Karen Schrier’s discussion of “knowledge games”) and resiliency (Jane McGonigal’s GPT SuperBetter) to cultivate a hexis of resiliency..18 for instance.16 In 2009. many game designers beyond even the immediate context of the 2010 conference undeniably interpreted Zynga’s market domination and ascendance as a direct attack on the artistic (i.17 Zynga. game designers. casual gamers liked to incorporate games with low skill thresholds as part of their overall social media experience. It unsurprisingly took home the Best Social/­ Online Game award.15 What unites these disparate examples is the sustained attempt to work within existing players’ habituated forms of mindless clicking game mechanics and to channel them toward non-utilitarian ends by working within rather than apart from procedural habits. At the time of the 2010 conference. Zynga presented an industry model of gaming as a means of producing more social interac- tions online for a mass player audience with little interest in traditional videogames. Most—if not all—free-to-play games have what are called ­“microtransactions” built in to encourage players to spend real-life money to purchase in- game resources or aid. a company that specialized in social me- dia games. Foggian Design Elements in Social Media Games My entry point for this case study lies in game designers’ critical re- actions to the 2010 Game Designer Conference (GDC). while being able to profit from it simultaneously.

One pro- motional infographic for WoW’s 2015 expansion. said it all: “Fear and Loathing in FarmVille. which some of its critics have unaffectionately described as a “fuck the user” strategy due to its inten- tionally poor interface design. serious. if popularity and minimalist for-profit game mechanics were to become the new model of what professional game designers strive for. in as far as rhetoric and com- position researchers might be drawn to this debate to learn something about rhetoric of social media games. whose artistic and economic livelihoods are at stake. “which is the equivalent of twelve copies of the Lord of the Rings. my comments in this section (and. My goal is not to make recommenda- tions about what type of videogames designers should and should not make. what piques my interest is that the criticism of social media games seems to turn once more upon a series of familiar binary oppositions.. 22 However.”19 For context. Nor is my aim to uncritically celebrate Zynga’s at times unfair and narrow design model. Furthermore. social media games’ game mechanics begin and end with clicking and seemingly outsource the more meaningful forms of expres- sion to a player’s social media communication network. including work on behalf of marginalized groups and communities. cognitive (meaningful interaction) versus repetitive embodiment (mindless clicking). artis- tic versus commercial (for-profit). I also enthusiastically support the need for indepen- dent game designers to pursue political issues and forms of expression that might not be profitable. Achieving Eudaimonia in Free-to-Play Social Media Games  173 penned by veteran designer of Civilization IV and Spore. Bogost quickly emerged as a notable public critic of Zynga and gave voice to the attitude of many independent game designers in complaining about the reduction of videogames to mindless clicking. 20 While Zynga and social media games were the main targets in 2010. Mysts of Pandaria. then it is understandable why game designers. Soren Johnson. observed in his write-up of the 2010 conference that there has long been tension between independent/artistic and commercially successful game design- ers. a blogger at Gamastura. While I do not . or meaningful medium.e. especially. at least WoW possessed a rich narrative universe in comparison to social media games. However. boasted that the entire game now contained over 6 million words. indeed. A bit simply stated. many of whom had fought (and continue to fight) for the relevance of videogames as an artistic.”21 By comparison. including expressive versus mundane. Gordon Hayward. To be clear. would be so hostile. throughout this entire book) should not be taken as an attempt to intervene in—let alone represent in its entirety—what is undoubtedly a complex and mul- tifaceted debate among professional game designers. and. repetitive in-game activities such as mining for gold or other resources). he points toward similar criticisms hurled at Activison/Blizzard in previous years when independent game designers such as Jon Blow and Chris Hecker respectively complained about the treadmill or grind- ing game mechanics of WoW (i.

Bogost compared Zynga’s games to “behaviorist experi- ments with rats”—precisely the same complaint that I locate in Chap- ter 2 in his distinction between persuasive games and Fogg’s persuasive technologies. In one interview with CNET. an in-game expansion (Figure 5. .174  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently know if Bogost had his previous discussion of Fogg’s work in mind. 25 As of June 2015. 24 From these critical perspectives. Innovate. Entertain (DICE) Summit. Let me return to CCS to identify a few of these behavior-shaping game mechanics through Fogg’s thinking. there is one comment that Bogost made about Zynga that offers an illustration of the Foggian mechanisms behind social media games. Bogost’s comments about social media games do re- flect some of the ways in which the appearance of mindless clicking is supported by Foggian design elements. 23 Bogost was far from alone in possessing the Skinner box complaints. such as Soda Saga (May 2014) and Dream World (Nov. including new expansion worlds. which were also articulated by others. social media games such as Farmville 2 are essentially GPTs and not authentic videogames with meaningful forms of player interactivity. CCS has expanded to over 510 levels. with over 9 million daily players. Figure 5. 2013). Jesse Schell in his presentation to the 2010 Design. Similar to his trenchant criticisms of Fogg and gamification. In 2013. including Carnegie Mellon Professor and game designer.2).2  S creenshot from Candy Crush Saga on Facebook. CCS passed FarmVille 2 as the most popular game on Facebook. Communicate.

Children and teenagers are more susceptible to these forms of in- game manipulation because of the unique ways in which their thinking bodies and pre-frontal cortexes develop and relate to their digital envi- ronments. Naturally. Relative to Alberti’s desire to use social media games to teach stu- dents something about rhetoric and writing.27 This is exactly the sort of stimulus-response loop that Foggian design elements hope to produce. difficult levels can be more easily overcome by purchasing in-game aid. 28 Simply stated. we see mundane habit-shaping elements such as coercive monetization techniques.” CCS’s designers place a virtual intermediary (a game gem) between . it would seem as though we also need to add a discussion about these sorts of habit-shaping fea- tures. Consider a description from games studies re- searcher Ramin Shokrizade: A coercive monetization model depends on the ability to ‘trick’ a person into making a purchase with incomplete information. the graphics in CCS are cartoonish because the true audience is not just adults. consider the design technique called “layer- ing. However.pag) CCS allows for rapid progress and positive reinforcement to create a sus- tained play habit. the brain of the consumer does not access that information. Highlighting once again the need to examine the rhetorical work that these functional mechanisms produce. CCS’s designers are adept at creating cognitively stressful moments that prompt players to purchase in-game aid in order to release the stress. is only fully developed by the age of 25.” our brains tend to dislike losing things we have earned or have invested time in achieving. 26 (n. current rating systems fail to account for attempts to intervene in children’s embodied play habits. consider the fact that CCS is rated “Ages 4+” by iTunes. As an example. an element that rheto- ricians would miss entirely if we only examined social media games for their discursive implications or content on the screen. Similar to ways in which I highlighted how affective design tried to keep players playing the game. The pre-frontal cortex. players peri- odically reach intentionally difficult levels by design. As behavioral psychologists have described through the idea of “loss aversion. This element is Foggian because we have ever again his general equation for persuasion: behavioral psychology coupled with computer-monitored reinforcement. CCS employs more than one Foggian de- sign element. Achieving Eudaimonia in Free-to-Play Social Media Games  175 Within CCS. Despite the fact that many adults play CCS. which weighs long-term opportunity cost versus short-term pain relief. or by hiding that information such that while it is technically available. The game is designed for fast cycles of epiphany and catharsis to produce immediate positive reinforcement through audio and visual feedback for each successful action as levels are designed to be played (and replayed) in two to three minutes. which can require hours or days of constantly replaying before achieving success.

3). she receives a loot box. as cognitively sophisticated as they may seem. Here.3  S creenshot of Hero customization gallery in Overwatch. Nevertheless. The Procedural Habits of Social Media Games Given these mundane habit-shaping elements. despite the presence of these mechanisms. King Dig- ital Entertainment’s 2015 global earnings from in-app purchases totaled some $1. voice lines) and the occasional highly desirable rare item (“Legendary skins”) (Figure 5. In a great deal of irony in compari- son to “mindless clicking”—the metaphor used to dismiss social media games as inauthentic—it would seem as if the mind and cognition are what many social media game designers intend to intervene in. each time a player earns enough in-game points to increase her avatar’s level in Blizzard’s popular MMO FPS Overwatch. In industry language. Even social media games that are not quite as stressful as CCS. . what then should rhetoric and writing teachers who are interested in videogames conclude about social media games? To start to answer this question.176  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently a player and the act of spending actual money. 29 However. like Farmville 2. the evidence is mixed.33 billion. King Digital Entertainment also con- firms that 70% of players never spend any money at all on in-app pur- chases. emotes. are even effective.30 Figure 5. we might as well inquire as to whether these mechanisms. are often designed to spend players’ daily allotment of in-game energy unless they are willing to pay money to immediately continue. which randomly grants the player customizable avatar ele- ments (sprays. this intermediary is aimed to lessen players’ ability to connect the purchase in the game to its real-world cost. the mere presence of microtransactions is becoming less sufficient as a means to distinguish between the different types of commercial videogames. For example.

and parties—all things that society uses to “tell girls that their interests are stupid. Kim Kardashian has become a pop- ular outlet for online commentators to reinforce patriarchal assertions that teen girls are silly and being easily mislead by an equally mindless fashion icon. we can find gender-specific figurations of habit’s mechanistic character as it re- lates to the mindless clicking topoi. and instead think of them more like mindless. In the Introduction chapter in Procedural Habits. and not worthy of . as having good or rare skins is a clear rhetorical signal that separates experienced from inexperienced players. you get this warped perception of the game’s audience. vapid. what our field would identify as a social media game’s rhetorical content comes equally from what players add to the game as opposed to their experience of play against the game mechanic32 . Achieving Eudaimonia in Free-to-Play Social Media Games  177 A player’s skin is the way in which he or she is able to customize his or her avatar.” As a result. including social media games. in a process that several game industry bloggers have claimed amounts to a covert form of legalized in-game gambling akin to a slot machine. easily seduced zombies who don’t know any better. we do not (only) find zombies. In fact. It is form of ethos construction for many videogame play- ers. for example. the more damaging criticism would seem to be the re- duction of videogames to mindless clicking. not all procedural habits formed in these for- profit and coercive spaces are necessarily negative. meanings are “socially embeddable. asserting their right to enjoy a game devoted to photoshoots. Teen girls actively promote Kim Kardashian online. By contrast. Yet. Juul confirms that for any casual games. I note how the social media game Kim Kardashian: Hollywood functions as a time management game to habituate players’ daily lives to the game mechanics. If we examine the actual dispositions that form surrounding the rhetorical use of Kim Kardashian. Gaming blogger Patricia Hernandez at Kotaku observes: The way [male gamers] talk about these games online. As a case in point. in which perhaps the social media interactions become more important than the videogame. we have to be careful as rhetorical analysts of social media games not to confuse one important motive—independent game designers’ need to argue that videogames can encompass a diverse array of serious and rhetorical topics—with a rejection of the need to exam- ine social media gamers’ actual procedural habits and forms of rhetoric within the assemblage as a whole. You stop considering them as people.34 In other words.33 In this particular example. Players also earn in-game coins to purchase better skins for their avatars. “skin betting” websites now exist to enable players to gamble their rare or legendary skins on the outcomes of competitive esport matches. 31 In Overwatch. dress up. players can purchase additional loot boxes with real money (24 loot boxes for $20).

37 Let me offer an example from the so- cial media game Game of Thrones: Ascent (owned by Disruptor Beam. Similarly. However. is inherently mindless. To analyze GoTA. Vallor. GoTA). helpfully describes how social media networks shape positive disposition. we have to follow Latour’s lead and carefully trace specific networks so that we do not risk missing how positive dis- positions may also form from within these spaces. Paul’s wordplay. Melanie became so good at the game that she joined . For Sennett. like Portal 2 or The Witness. Melanie has no interest in conventional videogames beyond the Lego Harry Potter fran- chise (designed for children) and the occasional puzzle game. one way to respond to the accusation of mindless clicking is to use social-epistemic approaches. Once again. craftmanship’s repetition in the service of improving a skill is simultaneously a process of active—which is not to say rational or always conscious—refinement.178  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently respect. The advantage of epistemic approaches to the rhetoric of videogames is that they do not restrict rhetoric to a designers’ aims. Clearly. The concept of procedural habits is all about balance. Like the Wii-playing grandmother from the introduction. allows us to view these sorts of surrounding rhetorical activities as part of rhetoric. Here.4).” which I feature in Chapter 2. procedural habits is less interested in the ques- tion about what videogames should be but rather in the types of overall dispositions that a given videogame cultivates.S. for example. male free-to-play gamers as mindless zombies—regardless of whether researchers like the videogame or its negative coercive mon- etization techniques—researchers may miss detecting the performance of critical rhetorical activities. Social networks sites in general have been demonstrated to produce positive dispositions in youth by causing them to reflect upon how they form and negotiate their online and offline identities. such as clicking a single but- ton to set in-game processes into motion. Matthew S. non-moral virtues can refer to the achievement of technical competencies within social media play as part of individual flourishing. a contemporary philosopher of virtue ethics and social media.”35 The fairly simple point is that by figuring female or. However. she has become a habit- ual player of GoTA. over the past two years. I observed “Melanie. as is of- ten the case.” a casual gamer and PhD in the humanities (Figure 5. I am interested in a form of procedural habits that stems from Aristot- le’s non-mechanistic hexis.”36 who uses writing about play in online player wikis as a form of public writing. similar to the ways in which young teen girls promote Kim Kardashian. Johnson similarly discusses the idea of the “gamer author. Vallor’s attention to “non-moral” virtues is instructive here because it comes from the same mold as the philosopher Richard Sennett’s atten- tion to the theoretical concept of “craft. Where we find Foggian design elements. another way to respond to the suggestion of mindless clicking is to ask if even repetitive mindless habits.

However. Her alliance makes col- lective decisions about various forms of in-game relation for players who break perceived decorum rules and social activities. The members of the alliance utilize their in-game persona as satanic black “goats” to lead the divided GoTA landscape as “darksiders” (a more difficult approach to war and therefore preferred by “hard core” alliances) in contrast to “lightsiders” who prefer to “farm” (or hit empty camps over and over to earn XP) (Figure 5. in observing Melanie’s experience. the largest and most powerful alliance in the game (out of thousands of alliances). For example. they contact customer service for investigation of players who they believe are using illegal coding elements or programs to cheat. I tend to identify more as a traditional or hard core gamer: I personally enjoy complex fighting games like Dark Souls 3 or indie games like Firewatch and the Stanley Parables.5). I actually tried to play GoTA and quit almost immediately. The House of the Black Goat. they report players for “scripting”. What forms of dispositional and non-mechanistic competencies emerge from GoTA? Here is a sampling of the various activities that I have heard reported through a series of informal interviews with Melanie and other alliance members during the month of May 2016. it is difficult to argue that social media games are only limited to mindless clicking. . Using games as a means to socialize online is not one of my primary dispositional motives for play.4  S creenshot of main play interface in Game of Thrones: Ascent. Achieving Eudaimonia in Free-to-Play Social Media Games  179 Figure 5. that is.

for example. Juul comments that casual . GoTA can serve as a space through which players’ positive and. neither better nor worse than any other medium. each alliance has their own unique game play strategy). planning online games of Cards Against Humanity with their own modded decks with inside humor. especially. it is simply not advisable for our field—again. Kongregate. I think our field in partic- ular is better suited turning to an overlooked contribution to this debate found in the scholarship of the individual who coined the term “casual games” in the first place. procedural habits demonstrates that social media games can be explored as simply a different genre of rhetorical actor. DisruptorBeam. I am not making recommen- dations to professional game designers here—to use a dismissal of the rhetoric of social media games that is largely predicated upon an ideal of what videogames should be. and Armor Games). The Goats. Similar to Nardi’s analysis in My Life as a Night Elf Priestess about how WoW functions as an important space of rhetorical interaction. in turn. Even if we have cause (espe- cially in the case of children and for-profit coercive monetization tech- niques) to be critical of certain manifestations of social media games. along with many other alliances.5  S creenshot of multiple platforms in use in Game of Thrones: Ascent. creative dispositions emerge.180  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently Figure 5. Although the game takes place on four possible platforms (Facebook. serious players utilize Facebook chat for social and war-game coordination. have an active social membership that helps keep the alliance together when it is not war time (and. In Casual Games. Along these lines. To sum up.

You can click on it. In six hours. offer game designers (and digital rhetoricians) an opportunity to redefine exactly what it is that defines a videogame or a gamer. In turn. such as presumption of an unconscious able-bodied bias in YouTube as a video content platform that does not require screen captioning. Indeed. has highlighted the need for digital rhetoricians to pay attention to the availability and accuracy of screen captioning in online video content. I want to update another dimension of the parallel that I have drawn throughout the book to the expressive bias that marked our field’s first engagements with hypertext and.6). is a satire of all the worst design elements of a social media game (Figure 5. To unpack this claim. You can buy custom “premium” cows through micropayments (the Cow Clicker currency is called “mooney”). I would add. By analogy.39 Here. you can click it again. my contention is that pro- cedural habits refuses to dismiss the rhetorical validity of a videogame genre simply because it uses a different combination of game mechanics and social media networks. Clicking earns you clicks. rather than taking a primary orientation of trying to di- rect gamers or our students to play more expressive serious. To offer more recent examples beyond hypertext. my belief is that the realm of procedural habits in videogames is not different in kind. as Zdenek maintains. the presence or absence of mundane elements might not seem like it carries great rhetorical weight in comparison to the content of the video that we might analyze. which Bogost states is inspired in part by the 2010 GDC. Sean Zdenek. we can also work within these popular social media game spaces to channel procedural habits differently.38 Achieving Eudaimonia by Clicking Cows By analogy. Achieving Eudaimonia in Free-to-Play Social Media Games  181 gamers. these mundane elements offer clear rhetor- ical implications. and you can buy your way out of the time delay by . One reason that Johnson-Eilola in Nostalgic Angels offered for examining non-literary commercial hypertexts like WordPerfect’s online Help menu is that we can find within them an untapped dimension for social change. or persuasive games. there is nevertheless a great deal that our field can stand to learn from Bogost’s novel and original criticism of the latter: Cow Clicker. political. While I believe that digital rhetoricians have good cause to push on his assumption that social media games are only mindless clicking. the mechanistic specter of players as mindless zombies threatens to re-inscribe habits to Kantian strictures once more. in turn. constitutes our emerging interests in videogames. We can and should evaluate how mundane design elements and genres in videogames constrain and en- able social change. How- ever. His description of Cow Clicker is worth repeating in full: You get a cow. social media games. and.

Players could flood their friends’ Facebook newsfeeds with posts such as “I’m clicking a cow” as a form of ironic protest aimed at Farmville players or Zynga’s monopoly on social media games. helped spread it well beyond its initial . You can publish feed stories about clicking your cow. and you can click friends’ cow clicks in their feed stories. Cow Clicker is Facebook games distilled to their essence. combined with the publicity. Cow Clicker swiftly became popular with other social media gamer audiences. Wired reported: The inherent virality of the game mechanics Bogost had mimicked.182  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently Figure 5.40 Bogost launched Cow Clicker on Facebook in July 2010. In an interview with Bogost. much to Bogost and his supporters’ surprise (and truly a testament to Bennett’s thing theory universe of aleatory effects). Indie-game enthusiasts as well as social media game critics quickly lauded the game.6  S creenshot of Cow Clicker play interface on Facebook. However. spending it.

Cow Clicker signals the complex ways in which our procedural habits and Foggian design elements in game mechanics habituate us to expect certain affects and modes of repetition from social media games. Some players even posted earnest one-star re- views of Cow Clicker. this distinction is important for understanding the potential role of procedural habits to rhetorically intervene in social media games. a satirical persuasive technology that perhaps too effectively mimicked the social media gaming structures that millions of Farmville players had become accustomed to.” but it does not model an argument about social media games in the same sense that a persuasive game might model a real-life system. For exam- ple. In adopting the structures of a social media game and distilling the game mechanics to their essence (i. Thus.e. timing mechanisms. In many ways. The player might have to try to make decisions for the avatar about how to waste the hours in between each mindless clicking activity or be presented with dialogue options about how best to persuade a given social media net- work friend to send in-game aid. it is tempting—indeed. For me. However.000 a few weeks later and then to 50. all the while being able to chat online with our friends or alliance members in the case of The House of the Black Goat. Cow Clicker does not just seem like a social media game. Achieving Eudaimonia in Free-to-Play Social Media Games  183 audience of game-industry insiders. Bogost calls Cow Clicker a “playable theory of social games. A persuasive game about social media games would not actually let the player play—even i­ronically—an actual social media game in an actual social media network. Bogost was not creating a persuasive game but. modeling a social media game in a persuasive videogame might pres- ent a player with an avatar of a social media player to control. almost too tempting—to view social media gamers’ ability to miss the satire element as evidence of traditional game designers’ complaints about social media games. I have an alternative point to raise. We could in fact point to the ostensible failure of Cow Clicker as a satire to persuade audiences who were not already in agreement with Bogost’s criticism of social media games. Bogost watched in surprise and with a bit of alarm as the number of players grew consistently. but it is in fact a social me- dia game. and so on. Cow Clicker was simply too close to its target of satire. which includes mindless clicking and negotiating for-profit structures. from 5.41 Many of these new audiences of players were not aware that they were playing satirical games. In this situation. I wonder if rhetoric and composition scholars can draw an- other lesson from Cow Clicker.. Perhaps we need to take Cow Clicker’s ­failure—if we even call it that—at satire with new social media gamer audiences seriously as an invitation to consider how we can channel . because they thought it was inferior in compari- son to other social media games like Mafia Wars or CCS. mindless clicking).000 by early September.000 soon after launch to 20.

after all. In Heuretics. heuretics explores how we shift from analysis and in- terpretation in compositions that might actually move audiences to . Arroyo. Ulmer states: …we have been aware for some time.42 This is more or less the process in miniature that we ask our digital rhetoric students to go through when we assign videogames to play in the classroom and. Cow Clicker is related to a technique of rhetorical invention that some in our field have previously explored called “heuretics” by electracy theorist Gregory Ulmer (and here.” it is clear that he is describing a rhetorical university through which thinking and ideology formation occur through embodied and networked affects. and many others). By extension. While this term is quite complex. heuretics is related to the issues of critique that I point to in Chapter 3 and earlier in this chapter. when the enlightened rose to power.”44 While Ulmer does not mention the term “habit. Cow Clicker as Heuretic Method One way to help understand the point that I am attempting to make is to place Bogost’s Cow Clicker in the context of the history of rhetorical invention. and of empirical in the nature sciences—to the point that critique has become cynical. I echo games studies re- searcher Jan Rune Holmevik’s previous claims that Ulmer’s thinking is useful as a lens for examining videogames alongside previous work on Ulmer by rhetoric and composition scholars outside the context of vid- eogames. Byron Hawk. is Bogost’s Cow Clicker not inadvertently sug- gesting that perhaps one way to reach 250 million social media gamers might be through creating more ethical types of clicker games? It is the ease with which players click into Cow Clicker that actually signals an altogether different mode of being together during play. of the limitations of the finest institutional instantiations of logical and conceptual reasoning—of critique and hermeneutics in the human sciences. a quick gloss of Ulmer’s argument is that we should study literary texts or avant garde art not merely with the goal of analysis and the composition of an analytical text that mimics a philosopher’s linear chain of cause-effect reasoning. ask them to compose analytic essays about them—the structure of critique I take issue with in Chapter 4. that ‘people stick to their positions for any- thing but ‘rational’ reasons. Rather than trying to change hearts and minds by directing them to more expressive genres. In part.184  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently habits differently through social media games and mindless clicking. the problem became that “knowing may leave people unaffected. by Sarah J.43 Citing the philosopher Peter Sloterdijk’s critique of cynical reason. in turn.

we can turn to Bogost’s discussion of Cow Clicker. but we ignore the environmental consequences of these activities. We see coal in the ground and we extract it with our tools for the instrumental goal of powering our energy plants and other tools (computers. However. we might wish to qualify Bogost’s fairly pessimistic account. etc..e.). what ethical ends should we criticize and promote in social media games? Ulmer recommends using an artist’s like Breton’s “mani- festo” (i. stripping them of enjoyment. which is quite useful if we treat it similarly as a manifesto for intervening in procedural habits through social media games design.45 As a brief description. with my example of The House of the Black Goat alliance above or the ability of social media games to produce positive non-moral dispositions as a case in point. Bogost combines some theoretical ideas with a persuasive sort of game structure grounded in habit production. a description of his method of composition) as a model. friends aren’t really friends. they are mere resources. and imbuing them once more with the spirit of potential use. by forcing everything into a template-y or formulaic business relation. enframing is one of Heidegger’s criticisms of an instru- mental view of modern technology in that it encourages us to approach technology and nature as only a means to an end. Bogost draws a point of comparison to how the social media network LinkedIn strips a social media interface of any forms of true personal expression. mobile phones. However. lesson one of Cow Clicker is that an important method of intervening in procedural habits of social media lies in producing structures that interact with them differently. Friends on LinkedIn are not friends but professional business connections. However. Bogost draws upon Heidegger’s term “enframing” (Gestell) as a way to describe how Zynga’s social media games reduce online friendship to a mere means to an end in as far as the game play in involved.46 Obviously. he adds: But there’s something particularly insidious about enframing in games—taking even the contexts of interaction that don’t have to do with work. Ulmer argues that we should study the work of artists like the surrealist Andre Breton not merely to appreciate his critical reactions to previous art movements or his own arguments of social criticism but also to actually learn how to produce our own argu- ments through re-purposing and re-fashioning his composing techniques. Rather than merely writing or critiquing social media games alone. In social games. Sim- ilarly. Thus. what interests me is this exploring of a non-utilitarian justification as the object of Cow Clicker’s heuretic practice. My simple suggestion is that Cow Clicker offers a clear manifestation of a heuretic practice specific to social media games’ procedural hab- its. As part of his explanation. Achieving Eudaimonia in Free-to-Play Social Media Games  185 reconsider their points of view. .

prosperity. even if ­A ristotle does not view a hidden historical dialectic as the secret telos that motivates human . and consequently all other means should be directed toward these ends. because their desire for more and more (pleonexia) only leaves them unhappy with their lack. If individuals desire plea- sure or wealth. happiness). which can come from a wide variety of environment. and all other goods are desirable for its sake. however. social. For example. what we might ask more generally about the type of heuretic response that we privilege or even seek to design ourselves within social media games lies in whether the resulting forms of procedural habits are or are not conducive to flourishing. the problem of social media games is not necessarily mindless clicking as a game mechanic in and of itself.51 Intriguingly. The heuretical question for social media games would be: Can we use the types of procedural habits common to these spaces to compose some- thing in a way that promotes non-utilitarian ends? From this vantage point.”48 Aristotle starts from the presumption that health. money) must work to support the achievement of flourishing. the philosopher Richard W. there is a related non-utilitarian ethic within the his- tory of non-mechanistic approaches to habit in Aristotle’s eudaimonia (flourishing. Echoing this line of thinking. the ethical problem would lie in whether a resultant disposition that it contributes to does not work toward flourishing. Valuing a mean that does not work toward eudaimonia leaves individuals divided. and happi- ness are a telos that are desirable for their own sake. such as individuals who are driven by a desire for luxury or domination of others. phaulos) individuals as those who confuse a mean to an end with eudaimonia. virtue ethics does not seek to develop a comprehensive taxonomy of practices or cus- toms or habits that we would identify as good. embodied.186  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently As it turns out.e. and discursive forces (i.. Eu- daimonia translates to “living as if a god has approved this conduct. the overall strength of Aristotle’s virtue ethics lies in the fact that he offers an evaluative framework for contingent ethical practices. it is not de- sirable for the sake of some other good. Rather. 50 Thus. Briefly stated. Aristotle warns that acting virtuously does not mean that pleasure or wealth will find us. then they are welcome do so. his question is how an individual can live well. Miller has argued that eudaimonia can make Aristotle sound a bit like Karl Marx. this commitment to dispositions that contribute to more ethical forms of interaction carry a semblance of a non-universal.47 As I observe in Chapter 3. Virtue does not obtain from having good results but only from the desire to do good. but— dare I say it—normative commitment to flourishing. hexeis). Aristotle is also not a de- ontologist like Kant who seeks out universal ethical principles grounded in rationality. Eudaimonia has three non-utilitarian characteristics: “it is desirable for itself. Rather. Aristotle defines evil (kakos.”49 Ethics can only function as the highest end and any other characteristics of good living (health.

Achieving Eudaimonia in Free-to-Play Social Media Games  187
rhetorical behavior. Consider Marx’s thesis that avoidable labor alien-
ation is morally wrong (“The activity of the worker is not his sponta-
neous activity. It is another’s activity, and a loss of his own spontaneity”)
and that actions that remedy various forms of alienation are morally
good. 52 Alienated labor does not help individuals realize Marx’s dream
of “an association in which the free development of each is the condition
for the free development of all.”53 Intriguingly, both Marx and Aristotle
emphasize the moral importance of exercising the most creative human
faculties, especially those involving purpose and intelligence. Aristotle is
quite emphatic that it would be a waste of time for slaves to spend their
time cultivating hexeis that are their own end, because their lives and
ethos are subject to the whims and ends of others’ directives. 54 Even if
Aristotle is in favor of slavery, his own analysis of eudaimonia offers a
strong argument against slavery. Thus, reading against the grain, Miller
concludes, “an amazing similarity emerges, uniting the great opponent
of exploitation with the most celebrated defender of slavery.”55 As a re-
sult, eudaimonia gives us an ethical language through which to think
about which habits are more desirable to cultivate in social media games
than others. 56

Alternative Heuretic Models for Procedural Habits
Thus, rather than abandon social media games entirely or avoid pro-
cedural habits, the thesis I entertain here, through a combination of
heuretics (with Cow Clicker as a model) and eudaimonia, is not to
view social media games only as sources to satirize or critique, but as
spaces in which we can direct players’ procedural habits toward more
eudaimonic outcomes. In this section, I will sketch a few illustrations of
different mundane habit-shaping genres that take habit formation and
mindless clicking as their object of intervention as alternative models to
explore heuretic strategies. Building from this framework, I also suggest
in Chapter 7 how our writing classrooms can incorporate some of these
techniques not necessarily by designing entire videogames but by inter-
acting with the material and physical inputs of videogames.
One of the best examples of how a habit of mindless clicking through
social media games can lend itself to support non-utilitarian aims lies in
the free web-based vocabulary testing game FreeRice, hosted by the non-
profit humanitarian organization World Food Programme (Figure 5.7).57
Each correct answer to a multiple choice question donates ten grains
of rice to the United Nations World Food Program. FreeRice aims to
­cultivate—in the language of Procedural Habits—a hexis of charity. Like
Fogg, FreeRice’s designers start by taking advantage of our collective ha-
bituation for mindless clicking through “refresh” on Facebook. Another
corollary lies in our neoliberal penchant for “lifehacking”: locating and
overcoming mechanistic habits with reductive and simplistic quick fixes

188  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently

Figure 5.7  S creenshot of FreeRice’s trivia interface in web browser.

in the rise of brain improvement apps like Lumosity, which recent stud-
ies have confirmed offers little more than a placebo effect (Futurism).
Simply put, a great deal of our digital habitus—to borrow Bourdieu’s
term—are structured by these sorts of prompts. Thus, FreeRice is an at-
tempt to channel these procedural habits toward more eudaimonic ends.
Has it been successful? In November 2007, The BBC quoted a United
Nations official who said that in its first month of operation (thanks in
part to a great social media marketing campaign), FreeRice had gener-
ated enough rice to feed 50,000 people for a single day. 58 is not an isolated example, even if it is the most well-
known version of this type of online game. Different versions include
Freekibbles (for pets), Answer for Earth (planting trees), The RainForest
Site, and FreePoverty. Arguably, many of these are bare bones games
cobbled together by non-profit organizations with small game develop-
ment budgets. They could probably enjoy even more success if they ac-
tually start utilizing better social media game mechanisms. Not all of
these types of games work from the same principles. In another example,
Chariti allows players to solve puzzles and then choose which causes to
support. Will playing these games produce eudaimonia in the player?
Over time, perhaps they will eventually lend themselves toward forming
a hexis of charitable giving beyond this game. Nevertheless, it is the
operating structure of these types of games that I am interested in. They
do not start with an ideal, an implicit rhetorical one, that the effective
way to motivate individuals to change their minds and to participate in
feeding individuals in impoverished nations is to present them with a
single expressive artifact that make this claim. Instead, these games start

Achieving Eudaimonia in Free-to-Play Social Media Games  189
by looking at the actual procedural habits that 250 million ­Facebook
players each month employ (and internet users’ procedural habits more
broadly) and, in turn, try to direct these habits of clicking to more eu-
daimonic ends. These online games accept—without criticizing—the
fact that some players simply like casual clicking games for multiple rea-
sons. These same audiences may also (for a wide variety of reasons) not
wish to participate in direct activism or community service. In turn,
the operating assumption for these types of trivia games is not “How
I can make social media players into the activists that I desire to see?”
and instead, “How can I intervene within the leisure habits of play that
individuals are engaged in to support different ends?”59
There are also more complex forms of artistic experimentation along
the lines of Cow Clicker that work within the realm of mindless clicking
and eudaimonia. Media artist Eduardo Kac’s discussion of his installa-
tion Teleportation in an Unknown State offers another heuretic man-
ifesto statement for procedural habits: “More than making visible the
invisible, art needs to raise our awareness of what firmly remains beyond
our visual [and sensory] reach but, nonetheless, affects us directly.”60
Audiences directly participated in this installation through a website
that “combined biological growth with (remote) Internet activity.”61
The website featured a grid with nine remote videoscreens. Users were
responsible for clicking on a given image and activating a remote light
on a video projector for five minute intervals to ensure that a given plant
seedling would survive. If no users participated, then the plant seedlings
would die in the total darkness. Kac viewed his work as a “metaphor of
the Internet as a life-supporting system.”62
Importantly, Kac does not place his audience inside a collective Skin-
ner box that forces them to form new behaviors. Rather, what he offers
is a persuasive technology-like opportunity to cultivate a hexis of care.
Similarly, individuals who lack access to goods like friends, Aristotle
maintains, will never find happiness (eudaimonia) simply because they
will have fewer opportunities to engage in virtuous practices of friend-
ship to form a hexis.63 Indeed, contemporary virtue ethicists interested
in the environment similarly interpreted eudaimonia as that which
“presupposes a harmonious integration with the rest of nature, and rep-
resents an objective condition of doing well in one’s environment, rather
than subjective satisfaction with one’s condition.”64 Kac channels our
procedural habits toward environmental entanglement as a heuretical
model for invention.
These habit-forming digital genres can also be combined with more
expressive forms as well. Guerillapps’s Trash Tycoon (2011–2013) of-
fered a fascinating and short-lived hybrid example of a persuasive game
combined with a persuasive technology structure in a social media game.
Trash Tycoon is the first “upcycling” or creative reuse game (transform-
ing waste into new materials with better environmental value) to exist

190  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently
on Facebook. Players function as recycling entrepreneurs who simulate
these roles by collecting trash within a virtual city. It is in part a persua-
sive game in Bogost’s sense. Similar to Sim City, players earn in-game
money and points by creating new products from in-game waste. Yet,
the novelty of the game is that it ties the cultivation of players’ out-of-
game upcycling habits into in-game rewards. It partners with real-world
sites like TerraCycle’s recycling programs, and players can earn points
(in-game money, exclusive badges) for recycling work they perform out-
side the game. At one point, Trash Tycoon also partnered with Treehu- and donated 10% of its revenues from virtual currency and
advertising to

Gamification as Eudaimonic Practice
To revisit eudaimonia in the context of other habit-forming genres that I
consider in other chapters in Procedural Habits, gamification is another
area in which rhetoricians can turn to models. To clarify my argument,
I fully acknowledge that rhetoric and composition scholars productively
employ videogames in the writing classroom in ways that are not reduc-
ible to gamification in the sense criticized by Bogost in “Gamification
as Bullshit” (a polemic that was actually occasioned by his lone presen-
tation at the Conference on College Composition and Communication
in 2011). Nevertheless, I want to be sure that when we do approach and
theorize gamification per se, we avoid an unproductive division between
expressive and mundane rhetorical forms. For example, we can follow
the lead of other games studies researchers, such as Karen Schrier, and
seek to understand gamification as more than a monolithic game design
strategy. As I mention in Chapter 1 through the context of procedural
rhetoric, the weak defense of rhetoric will tend to privilege persuasive
games that model the interactive arguments to the cogito. These are part
of, broadly, a larger rhetorical genre of what the games design indus-
try and games studies scholars call “games for change” or “social im-
pact games,” such as Peacemaker, The World Peace Game, or Darfur
is Dying, which are created to help spur knowledge, understanding, or
even real-world action related to these issues. Social impact games are
designed to stir outrage and pathos. They might even lead individuals
toward taking action in various causes (and they might not as well). As a
second genre, gamification applies game elements to nongame contexts,
as I demonstrate in Chapter 4. Gamification adds game elements to ex-
isting and defined real-world problems to motivate and reward activity.
By comparison, Schrier usefully defines a hybrid genre of gamification
called “knowledge games,”65 in which problems to be solved are fully
integrated into the games, and the game play experience is part of help-
ing solve a problem. As an example, Schrier mentions EyeWire, a game
created by MIT Neuroscientist Sebastien Seung’s lab in 2012.66

Achieving Eudaimonia in Free-to-Play Social Media Games  191
EyeWire is a 3D puzzler game that challenges players to map neurons
in the eye’s retina. Basically, it is a variation of gamified crowdsourc-
ing and citizen science. Since there are trillions of neurons in the eye,
­EyeWire attempts to receive non-expert help to further a non-utilitarian
cause (perhaps) of expanding general scientific knowledge. The differ-
ence between gamification and knowledge games is subtle and yet criti-
cally important for procedural habits. Eyewire, Schrier writes:

…does not take game mechanics and apply them to studying neu-
rons or neurological subjects, nor does it take these elements and
take them onto science research. Rather, in EyeWire, neurons and
process of investigating them are transformed into a game environ-
ment, and we can use this to directly produce new knowledge with
real-world applications.67

As it now has over 200,000 players from over 100 countries, one might
suggest that Eyewire as a way for individuals to produce new knowledge
may indeed be successful in cultivating some range of Vallor’s non-moral
skills (creative inquiry, scientific empathy).
Even within gamification proper, we can find different heuretic mod-
els that attempt to cultivate a eudaimonic hexis.68 While McGonigal
is often lumped in with utopian supporters of gamification, in truth
she has criticized narrow appropriations of the videogame genre and
actually coined one subspecies “gameful design.” With gameful design,
­McGonigal challenges gamification enthusiasts to avoid merely using
the signifiers of games (levels, points, etc.) and thinking, “How can
I make something look like a game,” and actually create “something
[that] feel[s] like a game” in a way similar to Schrier’s foregrounding of
knowledge games.69 One of McGonigal’s answers lies in the creation
of the habit-­shaping app SuperBetter. SuperBetter is commendably
It allows a player to determine his or her own health habits to im-
prove as well as thoroughly customize the types of gamified inputs and
prompts that he or she uses. Consider the game’s description on the
download portal:

SuperBetter is a free game, and once you sign up, you can choose
a goal you want to work towards, and add “quests” to your ac-
count that you can complete to work your way there. As you com-
plete quests and inspire other people with your progress, you’ll earn
points in different character areas, like mental, emotional, social,
and physical resilience. Once you select your goal, you can add
quests and create your own adventure, or you can choose a “power
pack” that’s a bundle of quests, activities, and “bad guys,” (or things
that stand in your way) that will help you get started.70

For example. beer). SuperBetter’s website in- structs a player to devote time to de-bugging her own software—“fix your own code. as I describe in Chapter 4. ideally..192  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently SuperBetter impels players to “make an enemy out of a symptom. taken together. “Got a Block? Walk Around it!” I confess that my earliest inclination was to lump Super Better in with the bad side of Foggian rhetoric—Bogost’s for-profit snake oil in examples like Go Fucking Do It!—rather than the non-mechanistic camp of pro- cedural habits. while one could argue that Go Fucking Do It! is after a positive habit—saving—its primary means of doing so are simply pun- ishing the bad habit. resiliency in Super Better is a dispositional goal while stimulus-response saving through negative behavioral reinforcement in Go Fucking Do It! is unlikely to extend to any other aspects of players’ lives (although. players can “Chug a glass of water” for a PowerUp. Yet. while open-ended. Furthermore. gamification helps create a meta-habit of “resil- iency” that can give players support for various life tasks. and motivated even in the face of difficult obstacles. Rather. To fight a generic “bad guy” such as Liquid Calories (i. There is little complexity given to producing more complex forms of gamified interaction that might have a better result for some players in shaping positive hexeis that enable actions beyond a narrow goal of saving for a vacation.” Mc- Gonigal’s welcome video on the SuperBetter website mirrors popular gaming trailers (“take down bosses!”). Sample steps include asking play- ers to raise their arms fifty times and record the behavior to receive points. optimistic. These forms of positive and negative reinforcement are after an end that is not just a stimulus-response effect. As I read this design effort.e. resiliency is not reducible to any specific form of repetition that it asks players to do. the various steps cultivate a hexis—an orientation toward staying “strong. As the webpage for SuperBetter describes. Habit thus interferes with an other- wise “properly” functioning individual who possesses an innate sense of resiliency (and therefore who does not require the intervention of a GPT). again. McGonigal knows that resiliency is going to be produced through the spaces and modes of repetition within individuals’ daily habits. procedural habits can always form in unexpected ways). Similar to actor-­network theorist Annemarie Mol’s discussion of how obesity is not just a cognitive response. Conclusion I offer these heuretic models as simply models to encourage our field to explore more habit-shaping genres as part of videogame rhetoric as well .” This metaphor figures a habit as a mechanistic obstacle that is produced by a machine-like body. it is Aristotle’s hexis that is closer to what McGonigal’s Super Better is actually after in terms of habit formation. to stop drinking soda. McGonigal’s description of habit formation as “error correction” accurately captures the nature of habit that Foggian rhetoric in GPTs presupposes.”71 By comparison.

com. 2017.” CNetNews. 2017. Jeffrey T. I turn toward a similar procedural habit—a hexis of enchantment—that helps rheto- ric and composition scholars respect the independent agency of another mundane habit-shaping element: a videogame’s software code. 2009. These examples are fairly explicit: the use of mundane habit-shaping genres to channel habits differently. 3259. CA: Zynga). it is important to un- derstand their unique advantages and disadvantages as compared to other knowledge-seeking experiences and methods. and likely. 2017. I echo a comment made by Schrier in her discussion of knowledge games: I am not calling for everything to be more gamelike … Knowledge games may be another viable way we produce new knowledge. However. Videogame. accessed May 15. I also make no claims here about whether exploring these forms will be better or worse at shaping procedural habits. Mar. particularly. MA: MIT. to diagnose when habits are not necessarily conducive to flourishing. it also means respecting the agencies of the technologies themselves to move us in unpredictable ways even when we are trying to work on habits.cnet. Here. if it is within procedural habits of social media games where our dispositions are increasingly shaped. since habits do form in these news/facebook-game-developers-generated-2-8-billion-in-2012/ 4 “Dota 7 Farmville (San Francisco. Danielle Nicole Devoss and James Porter.” . Thus. but they are not necessarily a better way. 2006). Along these lines. Videogame. 2012). Grabill. Indeed. Videogame. neither are more hard core vid- eogame players like myself. “Sisyphus. they are hardly exhaustive. Juul. Achieving Eudaimonia in Free-to-Play Social Media Games  193 as to investigate the sorts of mundane commercialized genres as spaces to work within rather than to avoid or merely critique. 3 Donna Tam. Videogame. in Chapter 6. accessed May 15. Japan: Nintendo. www.smbc-comics.8 Billion in 2012. no. www. my single largest belief in examining procedural habits as a heuretic strategy is simply to call at- tention to the possibility that.72 My friend’s grandmother is not going to form habits of charity in social media games anytime soon. 2013. accessed May 15. Bill Hart-Davidson. 2 Wii Sports (Kyoto. 26. 8 See. A Casual Revolution: Reinventing Video Games and Their Players (Cambridge. 2010). 6 Zach Weiner. con- cerns about social justice—following Johson-Eilola’s comments about mundane hypertexts—might provide cause to learn how to work within these spaces. Feb. Notes 1 Jesper. 2014.” SMBC cartoon. “Facebook Game Developers Generated $2. then it is by channeling these procedural habits differently where we have an opportunity to locate forms of intervention 5 Candy Crush Saga (London: King Digital Entertainment. 2017. http:// steamcharts. Echoing Schrier.” Steamcharts. Ellen Cushman. “Why Teach Digital Writing. for example. As such.

com/talks/ jesse_schell_when_games_invade_real_life 25 Brandy Shaul. 2017. 2010. 2017. 2017. Ibid. Dec. 16 Jason Tanz.ttu. 2009). Jan. www.194  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently Kairos 10. accessed May 15. Mark Pincus himself is on record saying ‘I did every horrible thing in the book to. accessed May 15.’” 23 Daniel Terdiman. 2017. 2017. 2017. TED. “Candy Crush Saga Players Spent Over $1. 14. 2008).cnet. wired. Jun. 13. accessed May 15. Or Just a Bit of It?” Gamasutra.1/binder2.1 (2005). www.macrumors.gamasutra. 2010.” Wired.” Gamasutra. 2011). and Rebekah Schultz Colby (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 26. 10 Game of Thrones: Ascent (Framingham. Mar. Johnson. 13 Eduardo Kac. accessed May 15.gamasutra. 2013.html?coverweb/wide/index.” MacRumors. www. www. Videogame. 9–24. Feb. 15. accessed May 15. 2005). “Zynga have a ‘fuck the users’ approach to game development. 29 Joe Rossignol. LLC.html 22 See Hayward. “The Curse of Cow Clicker: How a Cheeky Satire Became a Videogame Hit. SuperBetter (Berkeley. 17 Soren Johnson. 2017. 2017. CA: Zynga. Richard Colby. 2011. 2010. “Candy Crush Saga crushes Zynga. just to get revenues right away. 12 Mafia Wars (San Francisco.” iGamify. 11 Ian Bogost. 19 Johnson. accessed May 15. May 15. December. 15 Jane McGonigal. 2017. 20. Cow Clicker (2010).com. 2010). Apr. accessed May why-zynga-ticks-off-the-games-industry/ 24 Jesse Schell. “The Top F2P Monetization Tricks. Feb. Video.1. Matthew S.php 27 “Game Mechanics: Loss Aversion. “Opinion: Fear and Loathing in Shokrizade/20130626/ 194933/The_Top_F2P_Monetization_Tricks. becomes top Facebook game by DAU. MA: Disruptor Beam. accessed May 15.” Blizzard Entertainment. 20. “Fear and Loathing. 26 Ramin Shokrizade.3 Billion on In- App Purchases in . http:// blog. 118697/Opinion_Fear_and_Loathing_in_Farmville. “Zynga: The Future. 2015. http://english.html 9 John Alberti.gamasutra.php 18 Farmville 2 (San Francisco.ted. Social Media Videogame. Telepresence & Bio Art: Networking Humans. CA: SuperBetter. 2010.” in Rhetoric/Composition/Play Through Video Games: Reshaping Theory and Practice of Writing.” Heyward writes. NY: Guerilla Apps. accessed May ros/ aversion-design-game-mechanics 28 Hayward/20100315/4670/ Zynga_The_Future_Or_Just_A_Bit_Of_It. S. accessed May 15.” 20 David Hayward. 2013). “Why Zynga Ticks off the Games Industry.igamify. Social Media Game. http://media. 2013. Their games extract revenue and multiply users in every way possible. www. 14 Trash Tycoon (Manhattan. “The Game of Facebook and the End(s) of Writing Pedagogy. 2017. www.php 21 “Blizzard Infographic. “Zynga: The Future. 2013.” Games. 2014).” Cnet. Videogame. “When Games Invade Real Life.2). 2017. Social Media Videogame.” Gamasutra. https:// cowclicker. accessed May 15. Videogame (1. CA: Zynga. 2017.” Dice Summitt. Rabbits & Robots (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan.

40 Ian Bogost. 2016. accessed May 15. 2017. 4 4 Ibid. Johnson. 1994). 1–40. 32 Juul. https://plato. or.” Kotaku. 2015. designers are also not blind to these elements. Heuretics: The logic of invention (Baltimore. accessed May 15.” in Computer Games and Technical Communication: Critical Methods and Applications at the Intersection. http:// kotaku. 332–352. 19. Shawn Apostel and Moe Folk (Hershey. ed. 45 Bogost. for if it were it might belong to some one who was asleep throughout his life. consider this passage from Aristotle: “We said. no. 18.. “Teen Girls Don’t Care What We Think of Kim Kardashian. see Eugene Garver. 48 Richard Kraut. to some one who was suffering the greatest .com/writing/blog/ cow_clicker_1/ 41 Tanz. then. 37 Shannon Vallor. fixed characteristic). 2017. 47 To read a full treatment of eudaimonia. PA: IGI Publishing. Doug.3.0). iOS Videogame. Stephanie Vie. living the life of a plant. that eudaimonia is not a disposition (i. ed. CA: Glu Mobile. Moeller (Burlington. accessed May 15.­overwatch- microtransaction-decisions-1657224/ 31 Wendi Sierra and Eyman. “Public Writing in Gaming Spaces. 2008).’ Demonstrating Context-Dependent Credibility in ­Virtual Worlds. MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.: University of Chicago Press. “Overwatch is Becoming Blizzard’s Subtle.” Computers and Composition 25. Design- ers of social media games may not make a ton of money through in-game purchases. 36 Matthew S. 173. 2013).” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. for example raises the question of how “players’ data is elicited to create a user-friendly gaming space on the surface and to segment and categorize players behind the scenes” through behavior tracking and affect. 2014. http://bogost. Jennifer deWinter and Ryan M. 3 (2008): 270–283.. 2017.” Geek. 2017.” in Online Credibility and Digital Ethos: Evaluating ­C omputer-Mediated Communication. “Social Networking Technology and the Virtues. Reading Sounds: Closed-Captioned Media and Popular Culture (Chicago. accessed May 15. Confronting Aristotle’s Ethics: Ancient and Modern Morality (Chicago: University of Chicago Press.” 46 Ibid. 15. 20. See Stephanie Vie. Achieving Eudaimonia in Free-to-Play Social Media Games  195 30 Will Greenwald.” Bogost. Jun 3. 3. VT: /teen-girls-dont-care-what-we-think-of-kim-kardashian- 1611225640 35 Ibid. but the data that they are able to collect about users’ habits of mobility and patterns of clicking from cookies or other monitoring software is invaluable.stanford. “Aristotle’s Jul. Sept. “You Are How You Play. “The Curse. geek. San Francisco. 34 Patricia Hernandez. 38 Indeed. Sinister Gam- bling Simulator. 33 Kim Kardashian: Hollywood (2014. www.” 42 Gregory Ulmer. 43 Ibid.e. A Casual. April 21. “Cow Clicker. “Cow Clicker: The Making of an aristotle-ethics/ 49 Ibid. As an illustration. 2010.” Ethics Information Technology 12 (2010): 157–170. 39 Sean Zdenek. “‘I Rolled the Dice with Trade Chat and This is What I Got. 2015). 2014). 21..S.

Confronting. 2017.. Videogame. Dan Dixon. November 10. 64 O. Vaz. 50 To invoke a well-known idea from Aristotle. http://news. Indeed. 2007. Technology. and if some activities are necessary. 2002). for eudaimonia does not lack” ­C anadian Journal of Philosophy 7 (1981): 330. evidently happiness must be placed among those desirable in themselves. 57 Free Rice (United Nations World Food Programme. ac- cessed May 67 Schrier. 236. Miller. 2016). “Marx and Aristotle: A Kind of Consequentialism.30-1175b. The soul is comprised of numerous lower capacities. “Marx.196  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently misfortunes.1176a. 2017. 112. 223. 66 EyeWire (Cambridge. other supporters of slacktivism counter. 2017.” Ecological Economics 72 (2011): 173. Telepresence. http://freerice. Knowledge.” 178. Nicomachean. and Economies: From Vi- cious Relationships to Virtuous Responsibility. and Lennart Nacke have ar- gued that such heated debates should not discredit the study of gamification but that scholars might require a new term for the phenomenon. 53 Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. and higher ones. Reason has to be a distinctly human process for Aristotle to distinguish it from the ways in which plants will nourish themselves through biological activity.. ac- cessed May 15. 56 There is a much larger argument to be made here about virtue ethics and digital rhetoric that is the subject of my second book project (with Jared S. such as the use of reason over the course of an individual’s life. “Humans. as we have said before. 4. 52 Richard W. Colton. MA: Wired Differently. Create Insight. and desirable for the sake of something else. and Make Change (Baltimoder. at question is not whether these sorts of games are better or worse forms of activism than other mediums. 10. 51 Ibid. Inc.” BBC. but is self-sufficient. ac- cessed May 15. 2007).com 58 “Web Game Provides Rice for the Hungry. while internet “slacktivism” such as clicking on online petitions rather than marching in the streets—pace Malcolm Gladwell’s famous criticism—has been criticized on similar grounds. 63 Aristotle. However. Nicomachean Ethics. 55 Miller. If these implications are unacceptable. Environment. 65 Karen Schrier.1120b17-20.” See Aristotle. 1153b17–19. The Communist Manifesto (New York: Penguin.. See Ibid. 61 Ibid. Videogame. such as a locomotive soul for motion and a perceptive soul for perception. 221.1. Rilla Khaled. .co.5. not among those desirable for the sake of something else. being human involves utilizing the soul’s rational elements to sustain “activity in accordance with virtue. Knowledge Games: How Playing Games Can Solve Prob- lems. and we must rather class eudaimonia as an activity. 1097b22–1098a20. 62 Ibid. and the Virtues). while others are so in themselves. MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.G. 2012).” It is our function (ergon). 1–10.stm 59 (To anticipate one obvious counter-argument. Bina and S. I am not suggesting that Free Rice is a replacement for other forms of activism. 11. http://eyewire. Rhetoric. “Isn’t raising awareness one of the goals of activism?”) 60 Kac. 68 Sebastian Deterding. 54 Garver.

2013.” SuperBetterBlog. Cow Clicker. and Economies: From Vicious Relationships to Virtuous Responsibility. 2013. and Rebekah Schultz Colby. Greenwald.” In Rhetoric/Composition/Play through Video Games: Reshaping Theory and Practice of Writing. “Game Mechanics: Loss Aversion. Inc. Colby. http://bogost. S. 2010. 2010. John. “Gameful Design. Achieving Eudaimonia in Free-to-Play Social Media Games  197 69 Chealsea. Translated by Joe Sachs. Videogame. accessed May 15.” Bogost. 7. 2017. MA: Wired . United Nations World Food Programme. 72 Schrier. Accessed May 15. 2016. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 2017. edited by Richard Colby. Videogame. EyeWire. “Gameful Design.html. “Overwatch is Becoming Blizzard’s Subtle. www. Game of Thrones: Ascent. editors.” Steamcharts. Rhetoric/Composition/Play Through Video Games: Reshaping Theory and Practice of Writing. Nicomachean Ethics. Accessed May 15. 2013. 9–24. Vaz. http://eyewire. Accessed May 15.geek. 2017. CA: Zynga. http://blog. http://blog. CA: Zynga. 1994. http://media. 2009. 2013. Bibliography Alberti. “Dota design-game-mechanics. 2007. Jul. MA: Disruptor Beam. Jun 13. http://freerice. Accessed May 15. San Francisco. 2017. Environment. 2017. Johnson. “Humans. London: King Digital Entertainment. “Blizzard Infographic.” iGamify. December.superbetter. “The Game of Facebook and the End(s) of Writing Pedagogy. Knowledge. Accessed May infographic. 2017. Will. Videogame. O. 2017. Videogame. Jun 13.. Ian. Accessed May 15. “Cow Clicker: The Making of an Obsession. ———.” SuperBetterBlog. 70 Welcome to Super Better. 2017. Johnson.igamify. New York: Focus Phil- osophical Library. 2017. 2017. Cambridge. Social Media” 71 McGonigal. 2010. Garver. Richard. Matthew S. Matthew S. SuperBetter. S. 2010. Accessed May Jun 3. 2012. Sinister Gambling Sim- app/570. Videogame. San Francisco. accessed May 15.” Ecological Economics 72 (2011): 170–178. Accessed May 15. iOS Videogame. Chealsea. 2002. 2009.” Blizzard Entertainment. http://steamcharts. 2017. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.superbetter. Aristotle’s Rhetoric: An Art of Character. 21. 2012. https:// cowclicker. and S. Chicago: University of Chicago. SuperBetter. Candy Crush Saga. Farmville. 2010.G. Farmville 2. www. and Rebekah Schultz Colby. Free Rice. Accessed May 15. Video. Framingham. 2017.

html?cover web/wide/index.1/binder2. “Why Teach Digital Telepresence & Bio Art: Networking Humans.” Gamasutra. “When Games Invade Real Life. http://english. 2017.198  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently blizzards-slow-trudging-parade-of-disgusting-overwatch-microtransaction-­ decisions-1657224/. Cambridge. 15. Kraut. 2014. Accessed May 15. 2017. and James Porter. 2017. aristotle-ethics/. Or Just a Bit of It?” Gamasutra Mar. 26. “Aristotle’s Ethics. Rossignol.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Hernandez. Johnson. CA: SuperBetter. Jeffrey T. Jun.macrumors. www. “Opinion: Fear and Loathing in Farmville. no. Jesper. MA: MIT. 2010. Accessed May 15. Jane. . 1 (2005). https://plato. Bill. 13. The Communist Manifesto. Accessed May 15. My Life as a Night Elf Priest: An Anthropological Account of World of Warcraft. Shokrizade/20130626/194933/The_Top_F2P_Monetization_Tricks. iOS Videogame. Ramin.2). McGonigal.” Canadian Journal of Philosophy 7 (1981): 323–352. San Francisco.” Gamasutra. com/teen-girls-dont-care-what-we-think-of-kim-kardashian-1611225640. 2005. CA: Zynga. 3 (2008): 270–283. 2008. no. Accessed May 15. “Marx and Aristotle: A Kind of Consequentialism. Ac- cessed May 15.gamasutra.php. 2013.1. Sept. Ellen Cushman.stanford.ttu. 2017. “The Top F2P Monetization Tricks. Feb. 2014. CA: Glu Mobile.” Computers and Composition 25. 2010. Videogame (1. Marx. Hart-Davidson. 2015 (3. Berkeley. New York: Penguin. April 21. Bonnie A. Juul. Patricia.S. 15.” MacRumors. 2015. Hayward. SuperBetter.” Polygon Jan. Matthew S.ted.html. 2010. Nardi. 2017. “Public Writing in Gaming Spaces.gamasutra.” Kairos 10.” Dice Summitt. “Candy Crush Saga Players Spent Over $1. Johnson. Opinion_Fear_and_Loathing_in_Farmville. 2010. www.gamasutra. Joe. “Zynga: The Future. Schell. Accessed May 15. www.” Kotaku. 2017. “Farmville 2 Has 40 Million Monthly Active Users. Amid Other Staggering Numbers. David. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan. 2002. 2017. Grabill. 2010. games_invade_real_life.3 Billion on In-App Purchases in 2014. 2017. www. “Teen Girls Don’t Care What We Think of Kim Kar- dashian. A Casual Revolution: Reinventing Video Games and Their Players. Accessed May 15. polygon. Karl and Friedrich Engels. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan. San Francisco. 2017. Richard. Sarkar. 20100315/4670/Zynga_The_Future_Or_Just_A_Bit_Of_It. Social Media Videogame. Rabbits & Robots. Danielle Nicole Devoss. Eduardo.php.0). http://kotaku. Richard W. Accessed May 15. Samit. Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. LLC.3. Shokrizade. Mafia Accessed May 15. TED. 2013. Jesse. Feb. Soren. www. Miller. 4.

Donna. 2016. “The Curse of Cow Clicker: How a Cheeky Satire Became a Vid- eogame Hit. becomes top Facebook game by DAU. 2013. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2014. com/2011/12/ff_cowclicker/. Sean.stm. November 10. Kyoto. games. Burlington.smbc-comics.’ Demonstrating context-dependent credibility in virtual worlds. “You Are How You Play. Accessed May 15. Accessed May 15. NY: Guerilla Apps. 2003. “Facebook Game Developers Generated $2. Cambridge. Video. Moeller. Tam. 2013. 2015. 25 Aug. Japan: Nintendo.cnet. Karen. 20. Create Insight. Doug. Accessed May 15. http://blog. Reading Sounds: Closed-Captioned Media and Popular Internet Invention: From Literacy to Electracy.” Games. ed- ited by Jennifer deWinter and Ryan M. Terdiman. “Social Networking Technology and the Virtues. 2011. 2017. http://news. and Eyman. Social Media Videogame. Gregory. “Web Game Provides Rice for the Hungry. Mar. Jan. Shannon. 14. MA: Yale University Press. MD: Johns Hop- kins University Press. Shaul. www. www. Sierra. Zach. “Candy Crush Saga crushes Zynga. Tanz. Welcome to Super Better. 2017. Sennett. Feb. Trash Tycoon. .wired. Wendi. Dec. and Make Change. ———. Accessed May 15. Vie. “Sisyphus. SuperBetter.cnet. 3259. PA: IGI Publishing. 171– Baltimore.” Knowledge Games: How Playing Games Can Solve Problems. Accessed May 15. superbetter. 2017.” SMBC cartoon.” Ethics In- formation Technology 12 (2010): 157– 2013. “‘I Rolled the Dice with Trade Chat and This is What I Got. Hershey. 2017. VT: Ashgate. news/facebook-game-developers-generated-2-8-billion-in-2012/. 20. 26. New York: Longman.” In Computer Games and Technical Communication: Critical Methods and Applications at the Intersection. why-zynga-ticks-off-the-games-industry/. MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. Manhattan. A ­ ccessed May 15. www.” CNetNews. www. edited by Shawn Apostel & Moe Folk. Ulmer. 2015. Achieving Eudaimonia in Free-to-Play Social Media Games  199 Schrier.” Cnet Apr. Daniel. www. Vallor. 2017. 2006. 2011. “Why Zynga Ticks off the Games Industry. Heuretics: The logic of invention. 332–352. Brandy. 2014. 2017. Accessed May 15. 2017.” In Online Credibility and Digital Ethos: Evaluating Computer-­ Mediated Communication. Richard. Zdenek. 2008. 1994.” BBC.8 Billion in 2012. No. The Craftsman. Baltimore. Wii Sports.

uses the Deleuzian term “assem- blage. I have yet to directly engage some of Bennett’s most relevant implications for thinking about the forms of nonhuman agency that undergird. I have suggested that procedural habits emerge as a result of the—at times—emergent or aleatory effects of videogames beyond a designer’s or player’s conscious intents. as I note in Chapter 1. I closed by discussing how ethical or eu­ daimonic responses to some of the utilitarian procedural habits in social media games should not avoid Foggian design elements or the more gen- eralized forms of habituation that occur during videogame play. I have pointed to examples that answer this question affirmatively. I argue that Bogost’s work directs us toward concepts like Aristotle’s eudaimonia and other related forms of heuretic (Ulmer) invention. In so doing.6 The Habits of Highly Unsuccessful Nonhuman Computational Actors At the end of Chapter 6. I use ­Bennett’s work pri- marily in Chapters 1 and 2 as a brief point of comparison for the forms of rhetorical materialism and embodiment that ­Procedural Habits seeks to expand upon. “Can a videogame produce effects that were not intended by its designer?”1 In previous chapters. Yet. instead. Cow Clicker did not actually avoid the effort to make players click. I suggested that Bogost’s Cow Clicker offers one way to call social media games players’ attention to the ways that their play habits can convert their online relations to Heidegger’s notion of enframing—a standing reserve or a means to an end. rather. so far in Procedural Habits. such as Tetris curbing the craving to smoke cigarettes.” which characterizes how agencies are distributed into loose . I pick up the question of ethical responses to procedural habits and our field’s expressive/mundane bias from a different perspec- tive. Bennett. in a list of hypo- thetical research inquiries that considerations of nonhuman agency can provoke. support. the game channeled players’ habits differently beyond the attempt to cre- ate an argument that satirizes the lack of expressive interactive features. these responses should channel habits using similar structures toward non-utilitarian ends. In Chapter 6. In fact. Throughout the book. alongside “Can a hurricane bring down a president?” Bennett asks. and even erode human habits of play as part of her—and my own—justification for wanting to avoid “human-centered demystification” in relationship to critique.

Instead. It is necessary at times. Rivers invokes Bennett to declare.” When Deleuze writes at one point. One term from Deleuze that Bennett does not do much with is the term “habit. there are political and ethical stakes attached to matters of nonhuman agency.” which enables her “to em- pirically discover how an image becomes rhetorical in divergent ways as it circulates with time. I am not advocat- ing (as some philosophers do) a panpsychipist or polypsychipist theory in which I claim that inanimate objects are conscious. Rather. In responding to the collapse of the electrical grid. and generates a multiplicity of consequences” in the context of the imagery mutations of the Obama Hope campaign. “If [writing] students decide ahead of time that publics are the mundane and monumental work of humans. my concern in this chapter shifts from my efforts in Chapter 5 to foreground videogames that shape habits. like Laurie Gries in Still Life With Rhetoric. 2 Beyond just a matter of descriptive accuracy. Nathaniel R. . this ques- tion is along the lines of Bennett’s political aims for a world of ­vibrant matter. to even overemphasize the contributions of nonhuman actors in order to avoid anthropocentric accounts of reality. I discuss how we need to cultivate a broader method of discernment. she argues. or if you will. “We are nothing but habits of saying ‘I. her goal is an unspoken commitment to cultivate a particular dispositional aware- ness that is actually a hexis that I will call “enchantment. This is ethically and practically suspect. As a result. Rivers is advocating for a particular ­disposition—the inclusion of nonhuman actors as part of rhetoric— and it is one that I believe Bennett’s work and procedural habits can help to more explicitly unpack in the context of videogame rhetoric and mundane texts. I can ask questions such as “Do nonhuman actors form their own procedural habits?” In posing this question. enters into new associations. whose energies—at times—can cause the entire assemblage to behave in unexpected ways. an ethical habit that characterizes this search for the autonomous habits of nonhuman actors. Here.”5 A hexis of enchantment characterizes a particular dispositional attitude toward the agency of things and their “slight surprise of action” that she hopes the reader will develop as an ethical orientation to the world of non- human agency.”3 Without mentioning the term.’” he signals an extension of habit to include the ma- terial operations of the world’s material nature even beyond human con- trol. we must have the patience to trace a network of how human and nonhu- man ­actors—­including mundane habit-shaping elements and texts—­ participate in how rhetoric emerges. they risk rendering invisi- ble the work of nonhumans. to build new terms like “rhetorical transformation. Habits of Unsuccessful Nonhumans  201 associations of human and nonhuman actors. It is because of this orientation that Bennett’s work allows some schol- ars in our field.4 When Bennett locates electricity’s unexpected or aleatory agency within the 2003 North American Blackout. transforms.

we also need to pay attention to any and all forms of conven- tionally mundane elements—even those that players might not directly perceive—that contribute to the formation of procedural habits in vid- eogames. With a few exceptions. considerations of code’s procedural habits. and it certainly cannot be described by procedural habits except as an object of critique. Galloway treat code as logos: code conceals nothing in its functional enactment. After noting the weak and strong defenses. such as Galloway’s link between software code and neoliberal control strat- egies. As a conventionally mundane design element. I feature an insight made by Wendy Chun’s Programmed Visions and her response to the “code- as-logos” view. I argue that the rhetorical reclamation of code—a mundane text that interests computer scientists and digital humanities scholars most—and. especially in the existence of a sort of implicit weak defense of rhetoric (and habit). because it overwhelmingly remains the disci- plinary object of computer scientists for the majority of rhetoric and composition scholars: the code of videogames. at least. our understanding of code in a videogame.202  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently There is one particularly mundane text that helps to highlight this need for enchantment. Building from these efforts. Thus. I want to move away from the Foggian design element versus procedural habits comparison and instead more directly highlight the need to pay attention to any and all forms of functional or pragmatic elements that contribute to the formation of procedural habits. Code does what it says it will do.’s Ethical Programs. Chun argues that code does not actually “do what it says . which I discuss below. is sure to acknowledge the types of material and embodied agencies that produce procedural habits. Fortunately. in turn. I high- light a new manifestation of the expressive/mundane division. the analysis of videogames may still feel more comfortable as expressive features on the screen or. code poses several prob- lems for digital rhetoricians. The reason this view is important is because it helps to highlight the ways in which digital rhetoricians have largely approached code in terms of the strong defense. I hope to highlight the need to consider the mundane in rela- tionship to the habitual through procedural habits rather than avoiding habit’s role in code entirely. While for many digital rhetoricians. like those that Ben- nett gestures toward. In the first section of this chapter. Rather. Still bracketed are embodied and material sorts of agencies and. a small but growing number of digital rhetoricians have successfully argued that code exceeds its lit- eral functionality and instead is shot through with social and epistemic forces. code is not the lo­ gos. Part of my reason for wanting to focus on code is to demonstrate that it is not just discrete behavior-shaping Foggian design elements that explicitly seek to shape bodies and minds that digital rhetoricians need to pay attention to. in which critical code theorists like Alexander R. such as Brown Jr. the social and political contexts of how videogames and their forms of habituation function. Code cannot be rhetorical. in turn.

Here. because it helps us to develop this hexis of enchantment.” she says. it never does what is says it does) to make a larger point about politics within the neoliberal order of things.7 Figure 6. I want to take her basic insights in a different direction more re- lated to my own arguments in this book. However. We can indeed talk of code’s autonomous procedural habits.6 the opensource equivalent of Sid Meier’s videogame Civilization II (Figure 6. Chun argues that code “conceals” part of its enactment in its use. code does not exhaust its reality in its literal execution. even when we attend to the rhetoric of its functional or Foggian design elements alongside its expressive and social constructed essence. . I extend Bennett’s discussion briefly through Deleuze’s non-mechanistic discus- sion of habit as a property of the material contraction of the world. to offer an illustration of how an assemblage of code relates to procedural habits.e. the general idea that code’s agency is not fully revealed in its literal description or its instrumental use helps to illustrate how we might read code as part of Bennett’s new materialist assemblages. Code is inherently “devious. Chun’s admittedly complex aims are to use a deconstructive reading of code’s perpetually lost presence (i. Taylor (via Latour’s ANT) to describe videogames. that is. In the third section.1  S creenshot from FreeCiv’s main play interface.1). including the agencies of human users.0. I analyze FreeCiv 2. As I argue in the second section of this chapter. we do not know what code is or can be. In a tantalizingly brief discussion of Paul Ricouer’s techne. Habits of Unsuccessful Nonhumans  203 it does”.L. More importantly. While the term “assemblage” has been employed by games studies scholars like T.. the lesson for rhetoricians is that we might never fully know what a videogame does. Bennett’s new materialism pushes us to explore how code’s inexhaustibility confirms the necessity of theorizing its role within a vibrant assemblage. because its execution is dependent upon a host of other input factors.

204  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently
In 1991, Sid Meier and Bruce Shelley created the first Civilization
videogame, a turn-based strategy game.8 Unlike a real-time strategy
game in which all players play simultaneously, a turn-based strategy
game requires players to take turns like in a game of chess. C
­ ivilization
is also a “simulation game”—a videogame that attempts to model as-
pects of real or fictional reality, with Will Wright’s SimCity series one
of the most prominent examples. Civilization’s goal, as the game’s
motto reads, is to “build an empire to stand the test of time.” A player
takes on the role of a ruler of a developing civilization from 4000 BC
to AD 2100, in competition with two to six other civilizations played
by other players online or controlled by the computer. The player has
to make decisions about how to spend resources to build settler units,
how to maintain citizen happiness, the type of technologies to invest
in, and countless other features, all the while fending off randomly
generated barbarian attacks as well as advances from other players’
My rationale for focusing on FreeCiv as a case study is—frankly—­
because the code is available for analysis, and FreeCiv is a fairly accu-
rate reproduction of Civilization II. Secondly, Civilization represents a
videogame genre in which games studies theorists like Wark and Gallo-
way tend to figure (implicitly) the trend of habits as an ideal neoliberal
“allegorithm.” While not discounting these factors, procedural habits
adds that we also need to look at how the functional code elements
relate to the production of rhetorical activities with Civilization II.
In part, the 2.0 update of FreeCiv that I examine represents a spe-
cific procedural effort to control or curtail the universally abhorred
“infinite city sprawl” (ICS) strategy for empire building. Players who
build numerous small cities as opposed to fewer large cities have a clear
strategic advantage that is rewarded by the game mechanics. ICS rep-
resents an intriguing case study, because addressing it involves the use
of multiple rhetorical forms, including revising the procedures in the
game by adjusting in-game rulesets, altering the code itself to change
baseline game mechanics, justifying code changes through technical
documentation and notational commentary, composing impassioned
textual arguments in online player communities (Jing), and finally,
employing conventional Ciceronian rhetorical decorum (Hariman) to
encourage players to stop playing online with any player who employs
ICS. Hence, the title of my chapter is an admittedly obvious play on
words taken from Stephen R. Covey’s classic book The Seven Habits
of Highly S­ uccessful Individuals.9 Unlike Covey, I do not offer any
confirmation of how acquired managerial habits like “synergize” can
fulfill life satisfaction. Rather, procedural habits confirms that code’s
procedural habits will invariably produce some unsuccessful (i.e., un-
expected) individual affects and relations.

Habits of Unsuccessful Nonhumans  205
Software Studies and Rhetoric in Conflict
A videogame’s code is an intriguing case study for digital rhetoricians
because the claim that code is rhetoric is hardly self-evident in software
studies conversations. Decades ago, making Lanham’s strong argument
for rhetoric involved undermining the epistemic certainty of the sciences.
Charles Bazerman once called physics the proverbial “hard case” for
rhetoric in that revealing the operation of rhetorical forces in physics
would a fortiori mean that the entire scientific enterprise also contained
rhetorical appeals.10 Code and computer science may indeed be rheto-
ric’s new analogous hard case in the twenty-first century.
To back up, why should the average rhetoric and composition scholar
even care about a videogame’s code? In part, the early justification
comes from Bogost’s Persuasive Games. He criticizes digital rhetoricians
of focusing on the communicative practices that a user produces on a
computer rather than focusing on the forms of rhetoric that a computer
can produce through interaction with a user.11 When Bogost claims,
“the computer is secondary,” he is concerned that early efforts to define
digital rhetoric tended to rely on older text-based criteria rather than ex-
plore the unique persuasive affordances of computers.12 A bit generally
stated, software studies as a specific research field, as well as a prevailing
interest in code among media studies scholars and digital rhetoricians,
came from a similar line of criticism. Echoing Lev Manovich’s pioneer-
ing claims in The Language of New Media, a number of researchers
have argued that software studies needs to focus both on the expressive
capacities that code enables for end-users and the actual execution of
the code itself.13 For example, Noah Wardrip-Fruin declares, “[t]rying
to interpret a work of digital media by looking only at the output is like
interpreting a model solar system by looking only at the planets.”14 Dig-
ital rhetoricians such as Collin Gifford Brooke make similar appeals to
study “ecologies of code” to understand how new media rhetoric func-
tions. By analogy, to study a videogame without looking at its proce-
dures or code is to risk missing an important source that shapes players’
procedural habits.
Yet, software studies’ efforts to study code are not very hospitable to
rhetoric. Indeed, Manovich’s initial argument to study code established
the analytical discourse of computer science as the authentic source of
truth or meaning for computational media. Peter Lunenfeld similarly
rejected “vapor theory,” which he defined as “dialectical immaterialism,
discussions of technology untethered to the constraints of production”
governed by the knowledge of computer science.15 Picked up in turn by
Manovich, Lovink, and Galloway, vapor theory as a metaphor separated
computer science’s technical description of code as material (substance,
essence, authentic) from approaches within new media and software

206  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently
studies that focused on the screen as immaterial (appearance, inessen-
tial, inauthentic) in search of what can be fixed as a hermeneutic center.
To be clear about this point, the call to banish vapor theory does con-
stitute a turn toward the materiality of technology and the nonhuman.
However, code is granted materiality (substance or expressiveness) only
insofar as code’s technical and literal nature is the object of analysis.
Across these arguments, knowledge of code’s technical operation
through computer science enables critical theorists to leave Plato’s cave
and distinguish between screen and code, immaterial and material, demo
and product, or fiction and reality. Galloway specifically carves out the
space between the “literal” (code) and “metaphorical” (screens).16 He
forcefully declares:

Code draws a line between what is material and what is active, in es-
sence saying that writing (hardware) cannot do anything, but must
be transformed into code (software) to be effective. … code is the
first language that actually does what it says.17

Unlike the graphic interface (metaphor), code cannot dissimulate its
art in its execution. Software is like a neatly layered recipe that can be
fully understood and known by the programmer or computer science
As I discuss in Chapter 2 in the context of game designers’ criticisms
of Fogg’s persuasive technology, it is not much of a stretch to see in these
conversations the weak defense of rhetoric (i.e., there exists an unchang-
ing rhetorical realm) or simply between rhetoric (figurative) and philos-
ophy (truth).18 As Chun critically observes, “Like the King’s speech in
Plato’s Phaedrus, [the logos of code] does not pronounce knowledge or
demonstrate it—it transparently pronounces itself.”19 In no small coinci-
dence, the King’s speech in the Phaedrus that supports the code-as-logos
perspective simultaneously dismisses rhetoric as sophistry by comparing
it to cookery, makeup, hunting, and concealment. In direct or indirect
response to the bracketing of rhetoric, a growing number of rhetorical
approaches to code have emphasized the epistemic and figurative prop-
erties of code—Lanham’s strong defense of rhetoric. Code in execution
undeniably lacks the figurative range of spoken or written languages. A
compiler does not encounter metaphors such as Hobbes’s line “man is
wolf to man” and then determine a sequential step depending on how it
resolves the metaphor. However, the composition of source code involves
idiosyncrasies of individual coding styles, justifications for patches/cor-
rections in notational commentary, a variety of procedural rhetorics,
and even the rhetoricality of platform or coding language selection.
Let me offer a few brief (and by no means comprehensive) examples.
Alexandria Lockett notes how non-native English-speaking coders must
engage code-switching literacies in software across versions of English. 20
Focusing on the interplay between semiotic systems and rule-governed

Habits of Unsuccessful Nonhumans  207
procedures has enabled scholars to integrate procedural literacies as a
form of writing. Kevin Brock encourages researchers to view “code as
a significant rhetorical component of textual creation and performance
rather than simply a vehicle to transmit a text to an audience,”21 and
Teena A.M. Carnegie suggests that it is necessary to consider the possi-
ble range of rhetorical interactions for audiences and rhetors that exist
within each layer: uncompiled source code, execution, and expression. 22
Citing Brooke’s Lingua Fracta, Brock maintains, “A goal of [digital]
rhetoric then is to understand exactly how language [or code] influ-
ences certain possibilities to become realized over others when used by a
rhetor in a particular situation.”23 All of these elements impact a rhetor’s
ability to control or delimit a range of potential meanings in order to
persuade an audience.
With respect to Bazerman’s comment about physics as the hard case,
these approaches show rhetorical elements at work in code. In stark con-
trast to Galloway’s claim that “code essentially has no other reason for
being than instructing some machine in how to act.”24 Mark Sample
close reads videogame code as an iterable “text” that contains multiple
forms of expressive (i.e., rhetorical) signification. 25 In ­Micropolis, 26 the
opensource version of SimCity, only the police levels in a player’s city
have an impact on crime. The game makes a procedural argument that
other potential mitigating factors (city watch groups, rehabilitation) have
no impact. By examining the code, Sample teases out nuances to the pro-
cedural argument that the player might never consciously realize, such
as the fact that a “populous neighborhood with little police presence
can never be crime-free.”27 Sample also explores what Mark Marino
calls code’s “extra-functional significance” in notational commen-
tary. One notational comment in Micropolis indicates how ­Electronic
Arts removed one randomly spawning disaster—a plane crashing into
a tower—after 9/11. Such comments signify, but “aren’t intended for
the end-user.”28 Notational comments are literally concealed from the
player and the compiler alike, but they are nevertheless part of the rhe-
torical composition of a videogame.

Chun’s Turn to Rhetorical Ontology
While an improvement on the code-as-logos perspective, rhetorical
treatments of code largely flip from the weak defense of rhetoric to the
strong defense. These accounts do not actually lead us closer toward
understanding code through procedural habits. However, a third per-
spective refuses to reduce code to its literal properties or social contexts
and, in turn, highlights the need to treat the rhetoric of a videogame’s
code through enchantment. Out of both software studies’ and rhetori-
cal studies’ treatments of code, Chun’s Programmed Visions is unique
in suggesting that code cannot be fully known through either its logi-
cal instrumental aims or figurative social contexts. In her chapter, “On

208  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently
Sourcery and Sourcecode,” she directly criticizes software studies for
achieving critical and hermeneutic clarity in code by maintaining a sep-
aration of code’s instruction from its machinic execution. Chun doc-
uments how commodification and proprietary interests contributed to
the need to establish a true essence of code, converting “programming”
(verb) from a service and temporal process to a “program” (noun) that
designated a fixed, stable, visualizable, and knowable “thing” (a concep-
tual distinction I will return to momentarily). 29 Code as thing becomes
logos or the authentic representation of computational action. Software
becomes “the end all and be all of computation and putting in place
a powerful logic of sourcery that makes source code—which tellingly
was first called pseudo-code—a fetish.”30 Chun’s play on words with
“sourcery” calls attention to the desire of the sovereign programmer
who, like a magician, desires to have her words instantly become action
in the world.
Chun’s very provocative suggestion is that we can never fully reveal
code and that source code cannot be conflated with either its process
of execution or its executable version.31 The vapory, withdrawn, and
iterable elements that both commercial forces and software studies criti-
cism sought to exclude are inseparable from how code actually operates.
To offer one example, Chun challenges Galloway’s claim of the logical
equivalence between uncompiled source code and the compilation of the
same code into machine code or assembly language. Galloway writes, “it
is absurd to claim that a certain value expressed as a hexadecimal (base
16) number is more or less fundamental than that same value expressed
as binary (base 2) number.”32 There is no empirical difference between
higher and lower symbolic interactions with respect to the voltages that
pass through logic gates. Galloway continues:

It is foolish to think that writing an ‘if/then’ control structure in
eight lines of assembly code is any more or less machinic than doing
it in one line of C, just as the same quadratic equation may swell
with any number of multipliers and still remain balanced. 33

He emphatically declares that the “relationship between the two is tech­
nical” and immune from figuration in any form. 34
In contrast, Chun suggests that a technical relationship glosses over
coding as a materially enacting and temporally unfolding process. She
writes, “This reduction, however, does not capture the difference be-
tween the various instantiations of code, let alone the empirical differ-
ence between the higher symbolic machine and the lower interactions of
voltages.”35 Furthermore, she maintains that code is not simply “run”
but compiled and interpreted, and this is “not a trivial action.”36 Exe-
cutability is not the same as the translation from a decimal into a bi-
nary. The ways in which the material and actual processes occur must

” a co-productive notion of rhetor- ical making in which the material and ecological context of production are responsible for setting the work into motion. the object and source of code (pseudo-code) always differ because an object of code is always embed- ded within an operating system. commenting that the explosion is by no means logically equivalent to the mathematical function of multiplying the two sides of a quadratic equation.41 suffice to say that Chun is implicitly pushing against one of our field’s prevailing views of techne as an instrumental art or skill. it contains a speculative element. she invokes Paul Ricoeur’s quotation that “techne is something more refined than a routine or an empirical practice and in spite of its focus on production.43 Procedural Habits of Code in the Assemblage of Play At this point. She explicates the instructions for adding two numbers in PowerPC assemblage language (one level higher than machine language). we must also learn. source code’s essence is not reducible to human manipulation or repre- sentation but serves instead as a co-productive “re-source” that points back to the fact that our agentive actions and understandings can only proceed from the traces of code’s prior iterability. If code never appears in execution.42 Therefore. Indeed. instead. there is no mathematical identity then between executable and higher level code. Chun observes in her analysis of the compiled code above that we cannot even com- pletely predict the sequence of code.”37 Crucially. because code is always dependent on intermediate results. but “logical equivalence. I want to clearly acknowledge that I am stepping aside from Chun’s strict reading and. . which can involve a leap of faith. By contrast. I would argue that the view that Chun is closer to is the one that Byron Hawk calls “post-techne. Habits of Unsuccessful Nonhumans  209 utilize instruction explosion while converting symbolic figures into real addresses. Coding is not a fully willful act of critical revelation or instru- mentality but rather “the technique of providing a dynamic background to control the automatic evolution of a meaning.”39 In Chun’s brief ref- erence to a well-known rhetorical concept. coding—“programming” as a verb and unfolding process— becomes technical more in the sense of the ancient Greeks’ concept of techne. but instead “focuses on the movement of data within the machine. In contrast to Galloway’s limited understanding of code’s technical character.” in order to realize we are attuned through a more ontologically complete vision of human and nonhuman being.”40 While I do not have the space to reproduce our field’s entire techne debates (which are admirably summarized by Kelly Pender). she says. to “play with” vapory elements of code’s balance of presence and absence and to take “pleasure” in “things that do not end when they should. As Chun describes.”38 Furthermore. shifting from this basic insight to- ward a different end than she is after.

” Here. “worms have played a more important part in the history of the world than most persons would at first assume” in a treatise tellingly entitled. in the terms of this book. such as receiving a ripped jaw from a hook. why should we do this? My answer to the second will be that Bennett tacitly calls for a hexis of enchantment.210  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently then it is possible to begin to argue that what code is—its rhetoricality— depends upon the nature of the reality that we assume produces it.. Here.e. hexis) through both conscious and nonconscious forms of affect.46 Debra ­Hawhee describes how foxes play dead to avoid a predator by develop- ing a basic habit of cunning (metis). There are two questions that a vibrant assemblage poses for studying the rhetoric of code. Habit forms at the porous borders between nature and culture to shape our second natures (ethos. if we treat code as an actor within an assem- blage.45 Many who have responded to her work cite her memorable description of an assem- blage in the great 2003 North American electrical grid blackout.48 While Carlisle correctly observes that it is likely that only humans or advanced mammals use habit as an instrument of action as well as an object of reflection. ontological conceptions of habit can be pushed further still beyond my previous discussion of Aristotle. Any observant pet owner can readily generate a litany of his or her pet’s unique habits of behavior. are not strictly human capacities. Ravaisson. code’s “procedural habits. and secondly. and Bergson. how is this a form of procedural habits. a point of comparison to Bennett’s Deleuzian assem- blages is useful. it was not merely human errors or caprices of nature (i. this is a critical observation that provides an opening for thinking about code’s agency or. Let me back up for a moment to clarify this distinction. An assemblage for Bennett is a confederation of differ- ent elements and actors that can function together despite the constantly changing and evolving nature of the energies within them. Charles Darwin writes. With respect to the cur- rent desire to include the nonhuman in rhetoric. a “habit” widely refers to how a plant takes and holds . while my answer to the first is that Bennett’s Deleuzian assemblages allow us to apply the term “habit” here. First. Yet.49 In bo- tanical discourses.47 Even Burke offers an anecdote of how a wise trout may gain the habit of avoiding the fisherman’s hook through revising its judgments in response to signs. Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Actions of Worms with Observations on Their Habits.44 For me. “habit” is a particularly relevant and underexplored theoretical lens. a lightning strike to the grid) that led to the blackout but the ways in which these activities intersected with various other nonhuman elements. Habits. habit’s ability to stabilize a physical form is where borders between humans and nonhumans truly grow porous. for instance. including the active and reactive power of electricity. An animal’s “habitat” is a pattern of learned instincts and behavioral affordances specific to a localized set of ecological affordances and con- straints.

but strong enough not to yield all at once.” he describes a universe that is in a constant and ongoing flux of Becoming. When Deleuze indicates. “Every actual surrounds itself with a cloud of virtual images. One can easily recognize a colleague on campus from a distance. individuals. divergence. elaboration also requires repetition. The virtual is simul- taneously creative in enabling actuality and destructive by transforming actors through each change (actualization). the passage from virtual to actual complicates any notion of a fixed essence. Events. Entities in the world are not fixed in a Platonic world of ideal forms or boxed into static containers in a Newtonian grid. or stride. Habit in mineralogy describes the process through which a crystal is conditioned to contract a relatively stable form with respect to its unique material makeup in relation to the influence of other ac- tors around it. Alex Reid discusses rhetoric and composition studies’ two virtuals: the first virtual (the space of the screen) is where we analyze. The ability of habit to form material shapes explains how humans’ physical bodies passively or actively take on forms in our habits of movement. Deleuze’s concept of “the space of virtual” refers to the space prior to actuality. “differ- ence. Grosz summarizes for Deleuze that. and the second is a space of flux and Becoming out of which the first emerges (“actual- izes”). variation.”52 As I note in Chapter 4. posture. One of the theoretical ideas that draws Bennett’s interest. while nevertheless containing a virtual element toward an entity’s emerging future. The past actualizes the virtual in the present.”50 Our bodies therefore contract and not always willfully construct an ethos with respect to our physical characteristics and our patterns of dwelling among things. Rather. Across his various writings and especially in What is Philosophy? with Guattari. or resemblance. claiming that habit was “the possession of a struc- ture weak enough to yield an influence. 51 wherein humans and nature are not opposed but part of “one and the same essential reality. Here. Habits of Unsuccessful Nonhumans  211 its shape by maximizing energy efficiency through repeated forms of engagement with the environment. not by his or her clothing but by his or her physical bearing. never . because what interests me specifically is his conception of habit. and situations emerge from the virtual into actuality yet leave the virtual unexhausted. identity. reality starts “in the middle” where things are indeterminate—like Chun’s compiler that waits for its intermediate results before actualizing them. when things can potentially take shape as many different entities. the present is best character- ized as a temporal process (repetition). Each actualization—a code in a videogame that executes a process—retains a virtual dimension to become something new or different in the future. I do not wish to offer a comprehensive overview of Deleuze’s thought. Even inorganic matter can be said to have habits in this sense of forming a semi-permanent pattern of em- bodiment. The pragmatist philosopher William James affirms this point.

carbon. more accurately. before being perceived or even smelled by an agent with a nervous system and a brain. From Deleuze’s standpoint. she disagrees with exist- ing political models that have characterized the human-world relation- ship as one in which the human acts and the environment is a passive object that is only acted upon (instrumentally).54 Even inorganic forms contract habits. synthesis or habit. Deleuze and Guattari describe how a plant engages in repetitive forms of interaction (“contemplates”) with its situated environments: The plant contemplates by contracting the elements from which it originates—light. Understanding the agency of matter enables us to better understand how our hexeis form from environmental sources. because all entities are temporal and material beings. Deleuze offers perhaps the strongest ontological claim for habit by making it synonymous with “contraction”: the basis of openness to the virtual through the reception of change and the potential to engage in future change. this state is not fixed but temporal in the sense that it is always in a process of attempting to hold a form or moving to a new form if the pressures surrounding it change. It is as if flowers smell themselves by smelling what composes them. For Deleuze. first attempts at vision or of sense of sense.”53 Repetition enables an entity to stabi- lize a form but not in a fixed or essential sense. and the salts—and it fills itself with col- ors and odors that in each case qualify its variety. habit is nothing less than the way a matter inscribes itself on any manner of beings.212  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently sameness or identity. For Deleuze. contraction. Importantly. To revisit my previous example. As we see in Chapter 1. How- ever. The second part of my question about attributing procedural habits to nonhuman actors like code involves the “Why?” Why should we make this attribution? Building from Deleuze. crystals in nature contract pressures or forces to solidify into a semi-stable form. or. and—in turn—beings coordinate their activities and thoughts within these re- peated material and embodied inscriptions. contraction is not a purely human faculty. we can certainly talk about procedural habits of nonhuman actors as the ways in which their particular modes of repetition or bearing within a system temporarily takes on a semi-­ permanent characteristic or form. “To begin to experience the . but generative repetition and its creative forms. Bennett argues that matter ­(physis) possesses its own agency. its composition: it is sensation in itself. habit characterizes how time emerges through the ways in which living beings engage in contraction by taking the past into the future through actualization. the strength of Bennett’s analysis lies in extending the idea of ethical dis- positions to contend that the ways in which writers form ethical habits must also include how nonhuman actors shape these and other habits as well. She declares.

like the collapse of an electrical grid.61 Enchantment as a dispositional orientation toward appreciating the ale- atory agency of nonhuman actors’ functions like what Aristotle calls a hexis. Bennett’s discussion of en- chantment is relevant. cultural alienation replaces our faith in reason.58 Disenchantment “discourage[s] affective attachment to the world” and. Shifting agency from a rational possession to something distributed through networks of affects. that human-centered outrage may distract us from this goal. this step. Enchantment similarly requires us to be open to the various non- human agencies in the world around us as an ethical practice. in turn. In fact.”62 She offers us a de facto update of Aristotle by acknowledging that enchantment can emerge out of our attempts to account for the multi- ple social and environmental relations that cultivate our various dispo- sitions. Bennett cautions that we must accurately trace the full assemblage and.59 In response. such as the notorious company Enron FirstEnegry. Once we trace the ways in which our ethical obligations take shape as writers. she views the grid as an assemblage that distributes agency through human and nonhuman actors. Habits of Unsuccessful Nonhumans  213 relationship between persons and other materialities more horizontally. and the sec- ond toward the agency of the things that produce (helpful. Naturally. harmful) effects in human and other bodies.”55 When Bennett examines a political situation. Bennett maintains. we can begin to gain a glimpse into how our habits of environmental dwelling shape us to a far greater extent than any rational model of writing can explain. forecloses the possibility of ethical (eudaimonic) dwelling. she challenges the theoretical legacy of modernity through a narrative of disenchantment.60 To return to Vibrant Matter. furthermore. In modernity. 57 To make sense of this type of ethical response. enchantment becomes Bennett’s call to explore how the world “can be experienced as enchanted” to open up a space of concern and care for a wider variety of affective states and encounters. In Bennett’s first book. “does not thereby abandon the project of identifying (what Arendt called) the .56 Yet. and freedom. it is not a stretch in the least to claim that Bennett views her project in an Aristotelian vein: “The ethical task at hand here is to cultivate the ability to discern nonhuman vitality. her opening lines in the “Preface” situate her exploration of “thing theory” as a continuation of her earlier theoretical work: I now emphasize even more how the figure of enchantment points in two directions: the first toward the humans who feel enchanted and whose agentic capacities may be thereby strengthened. politicians and popular audiences wanted a scapegoat for this situation. control. to become perceptually open to it. which had been siphoning energy from the grid to maximize profits. is to take a step toward a more ecological sensibility.

Brown Jr.”65 For the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas. everything that we receive is filtered. To the contrary. To behave ethically is first and foremost to cultivate a specific disposition of enchantment when writing in and about environments. such as those that try to catch spam emails in our university email accounts. sort. even if we did not intend it. To sum up. Brown Jr.214  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently sources of harmful effects. the law of hospitality is undermined . In addition to Levinas. and organize our ethical behaviors. Thus. Within contemporary work in software studies. shifted. with- out the mediation of any principle or ideality. “The ethical responsibility of an individual human now resides in one’s response to the assemblages in which one finds oneself participating: Do I attempt to extricate myself from assemblages whose trajectory is likely to do harm?”64 Enchantment as a way to build ethical responsibility acknowledges the fundamentally dispositional nature of rhetors’ beliefs and habits of engaging one another as writers and readers in fundamen- tally environmental networks. Brown Jr. con- cludes. it is a hexis of enchantment—a proce- dural habit to cultivate—that allows us to have the patience to respect a videogame’s code to possess its withdrawn agency.”63 Bennett is concerned not with letting Enron escape responsibility for its part in the Great North Amer- ican Blackout but with advocating as a virtue the realization that we are produced by these nonhuman systems before we seek to form (or to teach) political or ideological judgments. has another ancient problem as well: hospitality—“the problem of others arriving whether we invited them or not—over and over again. suggests. Brown Jr.’s Ethical Programs comes closest to illustrating a dispositional enchantment sim- ilar to what I highlight through Bennett’s work. a relationship whose signifyingness is prior to the celebrated ‘sense of bestowing. our proximity to one another brings up a presymbolic relation when we try to identify or know the other: “a relationship with singularity. “the guest has already arrived” and forced this relationship. who Brown Jr. also turns to Derrida’s “law of hos- pitality” as part of his exploration for the complex rhetorical character of code.”67 Yet. obligations. draws upon as a theoretical source.” He extends what the theorist Avital Ronell calls the problem of “answerability”— the duties. and sorted by algorithms. Answering the phone when someone else calls us is to already say “yes. We are hostages to one another. Furthermore. net- worked computing and software. Bennett declares. on the other hand.’ ”66 Thus. and taxes that are imposed upon us and obligate us to respond (even if we just hang up!)—to encompass how digital net- works and algorithms filter. On the one hand. it describes my relationship with the neighbor. such a notion broadens the range of places to look for sources. In the concrete. we have to welcome everything that is Other: “Networked technology would not exist without the Law of hospitality. since connectivity is necessary for such technology to function. Similar to how I locate a classic rhetoric tension in Galloway’s “code-as-logos” problem.

0 versions’ government ruleset. as I will make clear in the following section.69 Cityfactor establishes the most number of cities .”68 Mundane texts in videogames such as code. content. Three students from Aarhus University—Peter Unold. Winning occurs when all other oppo- nents’ civilizations have been destroyed. I want to explore a case study grounded in vid- eogame code as seen through assemblage through this hexis of enchant- ment to help us respect code’s autonomous procedural habits. Claus Leth Gregersen. Aside from Sample. the FreeCiv players’ and developers’ rhetorical responses to the Infinite City Sprawl (ICS) epidemic offers a compelling illustration of code as a nonhuman actor as part of an aleatory assemblage. If we were to lose the password to our university emails accounts. In FreeCiv. Code in the Assemblage of Play To illustrate code as a nonhuman agent and a hexis of enchantment within an assemblage. Modeled after Meyer’s Civilization II.4. are fundamentally rhetorical in na- ture. Their procedural habits help to co-produce and shape our own in unexpected ways and we can start to recognize this presence if we have the patience to trace these enchanting relations. or when a player has the most valuable civilization after a certain specified time period. FreeCiv’s use of C programming language and its intentionally portable design enabled rapid development across numerous platforms. ­A fter each turn. he suggests. and Allan Ove Kjeldbjerg—created the first playable version of FreeCiv (version 1. all relevant variables that impact (positively or nega- tively) citizens’ emotions are calculated and the ability to build or pro- duce in new directions is enabled or constrained by the emotional states that are returned. In large part because of Civilization’s popularity among games studies theorists and its freely available code. or unhappy) of its citizens. relatively few close readings—let alone specifically rhe- torical readings—of code in videogames exist.2) occurred in February 2014. cityfactor by default is fourteen. the code offers clear support for ICS. the videogame was initially released in 1996 under a GNU General Public License as free and opensource software. FreeCiv offers players the ability to act as game administrators. These laws. when space colonization has been achieved. FreeCiv still enjoys a great number of players who are drawn to its nearly limitless configurability. and to code unique rulesets or other content. players start in the year 4000 BC as tribal leaders and aim to build an empire in a competitive environment (versus NPCs or other players).0). Among other factors. then “the university server … examines the situation and determines the best course of action is to lock me out. behave identi- cally. Habits of Unsuccessful Nonhumans  215 constantly. In the 1. Given that its last stable release (version 2. angry. the success of an empire depends upon the emotional states (happy. At the level of procedural rhetoric. to modify game rules collaboratively.

and Democracy (0). Once a player builds a twelfth city under Monarchy. By de- fault. cityfactor. she will have to anticipate changes to morale and invest in resources to ensure positive emotional states.70 To determine the rhetorical response to ICS. and the player is required to spend resources on luxuries. three citizens will always be content in a given city without forcing the player to invest in luxuries.71 Yet. empire_size. Communism (−2). angrycitizen. ICS players keep a vast number of small cities under three tiles and gain a real advantage because they never go over the unhappiness limits. Players are perhaps too aware of the code that structures their expressive and procedural experience of the game’s arguments on the screen. the rhetorical treatments of code that I discuss above indicate that FreeCiv’s code is irreducible to its literal or automatically executing elements alone.0 version in 2005 included significant changes to core game mechanics to make it worthwhile for players to develop a handful of large cities with advanced technologies and trade routes. Since a single unhappy worker moves a city into disorder (which limits produc- tion to luxury and increases the likelihood of revolt). and expressive dimensions. we could simply reveal the literal changes to the code that attempted to mount different procedural claims. improvements. If a player wants cities that operate in more than four terrain squares each. They actively negotiate with one another about making server adjustments to play options.216  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently that a player can build without encountering the unhappy limit. rather than employing numerous small towns. The total number of unpe- nalized cities is subtracted from cityfactor and depends on the type of civilization: Anarchy (−5). social. What makes FreeCiv both an interesting and yet difficult case study is the fact that its coding community and networked archives already reveal a broad range of rhetorical. In partial response to ICS. auto- matically increases the number of unhappy citizens with respect to the total number of cities that the player builds. Another part of the ruleset. analyzing these added components’ techni- cal operation (in Galloway’s sense) by separating instruction from ex- ecution is quite difficult to achieve given FreeCiv’s opensource status. ICS players never have to invest in improvements and can exclusively build attack units. Monarchy (−3). Republic (−1). then every fourth citizen in each city becomes un- happy.2 updates and replaced with empire_size_base and empire_size_step—rulesets that more di- rectly penalized larger empires by adding one additional unhappy citizen when the number of cities grows past a default number regardless of the size of a player’s various cities. In actuality. Despotism (−4). such as the overall size of the map or the chance percentage of certain resources or items being contained within a given territory . and unhappy limits (unhappysize) were removed in 2. or wonders. ­FreeCiv Wikia notes that adjustable server elements for determining citizens’ emotional states such as empire_size_mod. the 2.

”72 Even a player with little coding knowledge can readily locate and adjust many of the default ruleset settings.75 We also find evidence of “bro-grammer” humor intended for a male programming audience in a notational comment that dubs a city in Rapture the “XXX Days. that demonstrate a variety of attempts to solve ICS through the individual patches or frameworks that led up to the formation of these overall coding changes in 2. This collaborative design community necessarily requires that rhetorical deci- sions and justifications accompany any change to code through patches.’”73 Individual agency is considered grossly inferior to the distributed or crowdsourced agency of a collective of programmers and players. 2004. all bugs are shallow. The code reveals that converting a worker to an entertainer is often dubbed an “elvis”—a metaphor and not a literal description. . Thinking back to ­Sample’s essay.”76 FreeCiv is akin to a perpetually revealed blackbox across its multiple layers of rhetorical expression. FreeCiv’s documentation archives are also replete with literal traces of “pseudo-code. Especially note down any non-trivial assumptions that the function makes. mods. Do_not_ ­introduce a new function without some sort of comment. and the tenet that ‘to an infinite number of eyes. notational comments in FreeCiv are often expressive in addition to denominative. FreeCiv’s coding manifesto also calls into question the warrant of the all-knowing programmer and the automatic executability of the code: “Basically. While many videogames offer players the ability to adjust set- tings. the “Style” instructions read: The description of the function should be here.” or rhetorical negotia- tions both in writing and in code. FreeCiv’s opensource nature blurs the boundaries between players and ­coders. or rulesets.0. Also describe what is expected of the arguments if it is not obvious. so you can modify them to create modified or custom rulesets without having to recompile FreeCiv.74 Decisions about trivial versus non-trivial are clearly dependent on a programmer’s assumptions about audience and require becoming famil- iar with the knowledge of the FreeCiv community. Mike Jing—a player with little coding skill—published an infamous and polemical 2003 essay on FreeCiv Wikia in response to the ICS spread. The FreeCiv Wikia notes. Consider one of Per Mathison’s early efforts to battle ICS in a patch on Oct 13. He offered an excellent argument for altering core game mechanics to eliminate ICS. Indeed. Habits of Unsuccessful Nonhumans  217 space. In a clear acknowledgment of both code’s extra-­ functional significance as well as the rhetoricality of different program- ming styles and approaches (and in a clear affirmation of the fact that code does not do what it says it does). “The ruleset files in the data di- rectory are user-editable. we believe in the power of distributed software development.

Diff files particularly highlight the literal difference be- tween pseudo-code and executable code. because they indicate the dif- ferences between files and the automatic patching of those differences into code. This is a game me- chanic + meant to punish horizontal expansion (infinite city sprawl). We + reduce the number of content citizens for each ruleset value + unhappy_factor number of total cities we have. he has deleted the old basis variable and located the more important step at “if (step > 0).h is a “diff” file that uses “−” and “+” symbols to indicate which lines are being added or subtracted from the original code. The attached patch combined the three first into one government ruleset option unhappy_factor … One un- happy starting citizen for each unhappy_factor number of cities you have in total. we see that if unhappy_factor is set to 0. and—through figurative and technical expressions within the code—he hopes to persuade other programmers and users of the impor- tance of his patch. figurative and expressive significations. In the actual code. Mathison’s specific addition to the city. His particular patch for the city. Otherwise. Give base number of content citizens in any city owner by pplayer.218  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently prior to the update to 2.77 He developed a patch that combined: …empire_size_inc and empire_size_mod. unhappy_factor will effectively control how quickly the number of un- happy citizens increases as the number of cities increases. It does that by taking the total number of citizens (which starts out with the name “content” in the code) and subtracting the number of cities divided by the “unhappy_factor” step (unhappy_factor is obvi- ously defined elsewhere by the ruleset). Chun’s arguments clearly indicate the causation in code is nonlinear. With this addition.h code in a patch for the “con- tent_citizens()” function is prefaced by the notational comment. then this patch will do nothing.” This function calculates the number and constrains the behavior of happy citizens within the em- pire. However. The player gains an extra unhappy citizen for each unhappy_factor number of cities a player has.0 that offered (in my best estimation) an early attempt to develop the empire_size_base code. and traces of temporal and processual iterability. we cannot locate rhetoric in epistemic and vis- ible elements alone. Individual rhetorical acts in this collaborative coding . Mathison’s justification for the patch clearly mounts claims through written expression that precede the ac- tual code. and two server options cityfactor and angrycitizen. despite all of these visible elements of multi- ple agents. The patch and the diff file testify to FreeCiv’s iterability as a part of code’s condition of possibility.

The scan mechanism (checked alongside X/Y axes) looks at the borders and then determines happiness/­ unhappiness factors. Programming is therefore not reducible to a single effect from an individual (or collective) instrumental action. actors who program the code of FreeCiv are deter- mining without being fully determined. he is not the sole cause of all emergent effects. the computer perceives a quantitative relationship. Bogost nevertheless suggests that we can metaphorically speculate about the way that it perceives the player’s activities. Bogost declares that the Being of any object is ontologically withdrawn. determines happi- ness factors with relationship to empire_size_inc and other ruleset op- tions. These lines are responsible for telling the game engine about the state of the game at any one moment. but the changes that result are determined by the structure of the disturbed system—­the condition of possibility for symbolic action and the automatic executability of code alike. where Mathison’s agency is established through his individua- tion within the emerging coding assemblage. Regardless of our ability to perceive or manipulate code as a means to an end or to experience its various sensual profiles. in an ongoing disclosure and attunement that participate in the unconcealment of FreeCiv’s code without ever fully revealing it. Code retains its speculative and withdrawn nature.CITY_MAP_RADIUS). Habits of Unsuccessful Nonhumans  219 community function more like perturbations within complex ecological systems. programming refers to patterns that develop out of the dynamic multitude of interacting parts: speculative techne. however.78 Echoing Harman. Simply put. Rather. Rhetorical agents can bring forth actions and engage in interactions within the whole network of inter.c code: bool is_valid_city_coords(const int city_x. humans never fully exhaust the withdrawn but real “subterranean depths” of code’s reality. const int city_y) { int dist = map_vector_to_sq_distance(city_x . in turn. at the same time. Consider the following lines that establish the city parameters in the city. Bogost explores videogames through the idea of “alien phenomenology”: an extension of Harman’s Heideggerian-­infused and object-oriented ontology.79 This code scans the player’s city map and.  city_y . The player seeks to take in the map as a qualitative whole . In this sense. Mathison is responsible for his actions within this system that he is an agent within.CITY_MAP_ RADIUS. as an enacted process. While we cannot fully know code’s reality.and intra-acting parts of FreeCiv. Evidence of nonhuman agency in Bennett’s sense can be seen by asking of FreeCiv’s code the same question that Bogost asks in Alien Phenomenology: What does code perceive that players and human coders do not? In his more recent work.

********************************************************/ static void citizen_base_mood(struct city *pcity) { struct player *pplayer = city_owner(pcity). /* No one is born happy. that citizen_base_mood runs first and then runs many other functions to add or subtract happy citizens. unhappy and angry citizens. or angry citizens—basic calculations for intermediate results that other functions will utilize later. . unhappy. and yet it is nevertheless an actual part of ontological thing-ness of FreeCiv’s code: a present absence. Within this file. */ *happy = 0. We know then. citizens specialists = city_specialists(pcity). . The computer views all avatars in each round in terms of their potential numbers of happy.80 The computer’s per- ception never entirely appears. Cities in FreeCiv. We find a curious notional comment in lines 2386: \/******************************************************* Create content. At one level. }81 The phrase “No one is born happy” carries a double meaning for the citizen_base_mood function. The literal meaning of “happy = 0. such as cit- izen_happy_luxury() and citizen_happiness_nationality(). citizens *angry = &pcity->feel[CITIZEN_ANGRY] [FEELING_BASE]. Perhaps my favorite example of ontological deviousness in FreeCiv’s city.c code lies in the original 1. are never com- pletely experienced in this fashion by the player. while the computer employs numbers to check at point-by-point intervals. citizens size = city_size_get(pcity). citizens *unhappy = &pcity->feel[CITIZEN_UNHAPPY] [FEELING_BASE]. citizens *content = &pcity->feel[CITIZEN_CONTENT] [FEELING_BASE]. unhappy. . content.” indi- cates that the default state of the game means that we have no happy citizens if we only consider city size and ruleset. “no one is born happy” is simply a flippant manner of reinforcing the . from this line. incorporating other factors (such as luxuries). citizens *happy = &pcity->feel[CITIZEN_HAPPY][FEELING_ BASE]. citizen_base_mood is only referenced in one other place—a function called city_refresh_from_main_map().220  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently for interpretation. Happy citizens can only be added in other places in the code.0 code regarding the production of con- tent. for example. and angry citizens.

execution.”82 The quote anthropomorphizes autonomous (human) agency into the com- piler. Habits of Unsuccessful Nonhumans  221 fact that other features beyond citysize and ruleset determine factors. A number of researchers have embraced the ethical strategy of demonstrating that a given rhetorical situation “exceeds the intentions of its designers” or rhetorical authors. It is the entire rhetorical ensemble—source code.83 Simply put. One might say that citizens are “born” content. play—that eventually affects the intermediate code results that make avatars happy. patches.. my tracing of code in FreeCiv could be considered a textual form of a practice that Bogost calls “carpentry” in . unhappy. the omitted conclusion of the phrase—intentional or unintentional—refuses to allow us to “end” our analysis at the lit- eral code.0 and 2. This metaphorical doubling indicates that the machine in non-­ linear execution (compiling intermediate effects) “chooses” to make citizens happy or not due more (perhaps) to its own perception of the gameset than any intended action by a player. players used fairly conventional textual arguments on community forums as well as pro- cedural arguments (i. refusing to play with anyone who used ICS) to encourage the entire community to develop new habits of play. Happiness is not an emotional. At another level. Conclusion It is clear then that examining FreeCiv’s code as a nonhuman actor can more accurately describe the wide range of nonhuman agencies and pro- cedural habits that form within an assemblage of play. For example. “No one is born happy but everyone is born with the ability to create happiness. By dubbing ICS a “serious breach of playing etiquette. Actual avatars in the game cannot make themselves happy or create their own happiness. because those base numbers are determined by city size and ruleset but not by happiness in and of itself. but nei- ther can the player ever autonomously assign an avatar happiness. Despite at- tempts to eliminate ICS through collective acts of coding.e.” Free­ Civ’s code was finally able to produce mostly happy “players” alongside appropriately happy citizen avatars. the FreeCiv Wikia laments that even 2. compilation. and angry.2 updates were unable to ultimately solve the ICS problem. The lines also unconsciously satirize the player’s own futile existential condition with respect to ICS. This re- course to social and discursive solutions—the historic domain of rhetor- ical ­persuasion—­offers further confirmation of Chun’s most significant point: code never fully determines its results. The entire quote in common parlance reads. It is actually a core part of classical rhetoric in ­Hariman’s sense—decorum and consensus—that actually stemmed the flow: an agreement within the player and coder community not to play ICS. subjective state randomly generated but a deterministic condition set in relationship to quantitative yet virtual factors.

we could easily add. we are not actu- ally required to make this choice between decentering rhetorical agency to create awareness of how we are attuned by the habits of nonhuman actors and making value judgments about good and bad assemblages of play that we find ourselves enmeshed within. which visualizes the compiler’s real-time perception of the code in Super Mario Brothers for NES alongside the player’s actions in the game.87 Bannon facetiously suggests that more compassion for cows might mean not slaughtering them in the first place—an ethical commitment to the right of animals to have life. The use of tracing or carpentry in FreeCiv is therefore explicitly or implicitly tied into the development of a better form of ethical interac- tions with the world of objects. it is “means-ends” enframing (Gestell) that produces a will-to-power or will-to-truth that converts human habits as a means to utilitarian ends.86 The use of carpentry in a beef processing plant could “metaphorically simulate.84 End-users therefore often find it uncanny when the coded “tools” that sustain the interface are visually “named” in artistic projects such as Ben Fry’s Deconstructulator. carpentry and decentering the human can enable us to imagine different and more ethical forms of procedural habits. Indeed. attributing proce- dural habits to nonhuman actors like videogame code is part of how we cultivate the enchantment to look at our food sources with more than just a means-ends (enframing) point of view. this is an assumption that requires qualification. Bryant concludes that Bogost’s carpentry experiments will create empathy and compassion for the nonhuman Object as well as result in better forms of political efficacy in institutional contexts. Indeed. ­Bogost offers Fry’s Deconstructulator as a form of videogame carpentry. Jr.222  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently Alien Phenomenology. I could also imagine a scenario in which experiencing the world in a metaphorical simulation of reality through a cow perspective might even lead audiences to affirm their beliefs in the cow’s inherent inferiority. In fact. Fry does not offer a strict symmetrical empirical tracing like Latour but a metaphorical sim- ulation of how the code experiences the videogame.85 Fry’s goal is to aesthetically defamiliarize the instrumental use of a videogame or. Rivers and Brown Jr. similarly describe teaching their writing students about nonhuman agency through a water puzzle that simulates the absence of human con- trol or knowledge.” to use Bogost’s phrase. Bannon observes in his review of Ontocartography. the cow’s death experience and indicate to audiences the need to make “less traumatic” forms of slaughter. Levi R. borrowing loosely from Heidegger once again. which is a rhetorical pedagogy practice subse- quently theorized by Nathaniel Rivers and James J. Yet. If. In Ontocartography. Brown. happiness (eudaimonia) . as the philosopher Bryan E. Fortunately. a persua- sive technology in order to reveal empirical nonhuman agency that de- centers the human player’s knowledge and control. if I revisit eudaimonia from Chapter 5.

2015). eudaimonia is a habit (hexis) that we cultivate across our lives with respect to changing and responding to relations within our material goods. 8 Sid Meier and Bruce Shelley. “Tracing the Missing Masses. 26. Programmed Visions (Cambridge. Notes 1 Jane Bennett. Expressive Processing: Digital Fictions. 4 Bennett. 2017. as Aristotle argues. MA: MIT Press. Galloway’s Protocol: How Control Exists After Decentralization (Cambridge. 10 Charles Bazerman. “Foreward. 22. 2010).” in Alexander R. IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 9 Stephen R. FreeCiv. MA: MIT. and Software Studies (Cambridge. 17 Alexander R. MA: MIT 2006). The Seven Habits of Highly Successful Individuals (New York: Simon and Schuster. Nick Montfort. Habits of Unsuccessful Nonhumans  223 is. Galloway. Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames (Cam- bridge. Civilization II. 15 Peter Lunenfeld. 2017. Covey. 2009). http://enculturation. Protocol: How Control Exists After Decentraliza­ tion (Cambridge. Mark Sample. and many others. 165–166. Thus. politics. Videogame. 14 Noah Wardrip-Fruin. 2013). xii. MA: MIT.. 6 Peter Unold. “I Am Not a Computer Programmer. Rather. not something we are “born with” as FreeCiv’s notational commentary and code 21 Kevin Brock. 1979). xvi. accessed May 15. These are concrete strategies that we can teach our writing students. 1996.” Enculturation 13 (2009). 2017. and other human and nonhuman actors. the route toward realizing the good life is not a priori grounded in human autonomous rational forces or dis- embodied contemplation of the world. Constructing Experience (Carbondale. 23. 20 Alexandria Lockett. GNU General Public License. 2001). 18 Scott Consigny.. Computer Games. MA: MIT University Press. Ian.” Enculturation 17 (2014). Vibrant. “Rhetorical Concealment. Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things (Durham. accessed May 15. it is the ways in which we dwell within these conditions that produce hexeis that then either work toward or against eudaimonia. 11 Bogost. 2007).” Technoculture 2 (2012). 107. Rather. These are not just speculative academic questions. 4. 3 Nathaniel Rivers. 2 Laurie Gries. Videogame. as I will argue in the final chapter of Procedural Habits. 5 Ibid. 12 Ibid. Still Life With Rhetoric: A New Materialist Approach for Visual Rhetorics (Colorado: University Press of Colorado. Lisa Gitelman.” paper read at Theory of Rheto­ ric: An Interdisciplinary Conference (Minneapolis. 16 Eugene Thacker. Kirschenbaum. 2012). 2006). MA: MIT. NC: Duke University Press. and Allan Ove Kjeldbjerg. iii–xvi. https://tcjournal. Matthew G. November 1995. Snap to Grid (Cambridge. accessed May 15. 158. 7 Sid Meier and Bruce Shelley. 1991. 1994). Claus Leth Gregersen. “One Hundred Thousand Billion Processes: Oulipian Compu- tation and the Composition of Digital . MN. 35. 25. 19 Wendy Chun. 13 Scholars such as Mark Marino. Civilization. http://enculturation.

accessed May 15. Carnegie. 4. 2014). 2. and Hugh Tomlinson (B. 28 Ibid. 54.” 24 Alexander R. 2017. What is Philosophy? (New York: Colum- bia University Press. MA: Harvard Uni- versity Press. 32 Galloway.. 54 Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari.. 30 Ibid.. 212. 52 Giles Deleuze and Felix Gauttari. 1984). Psychology: Briefer Course (Cambridge. 1984). 1 (2013). 34 Ibid. 5. 23. “Habit Today: Ravaisson. with Observations on Their Habits (London: John Murray. 1881). and Us. London: Continuum.224  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently 22 Teena A. The Formation of Vegetable Mould. 2011). 2014). Crossings. 23... 36 Ibid. 10. 15. 31 Ibid.M. Programmed. 24. trans. through the Action of Worms. 25 Mark Sample. SC: Parlor Press. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 50 William James. 20. 2016). 24. 55 Bennett. Grosz. 48 Kenneth Burke. 39 Ibid. 22–23. 19. Dialogues II. ed.. 1996). Amelie Rorty(Berkeley: University of California Press. Permanence and Change: An Anatomy of Purpose (Berkeley: University of California. Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizo­ phrenia. On Habit (New York: Routledge. 58 Jane Bennett. Protocol. Brian Massumi. 167. Bodily Arts: Rhetoric and Athletics in Ancient Greece (Austin: University of Texas. and Ethics (Princeton: Princeton University Press. 53 Elizabeth A. www.” Journal of Visual Culture 5. 47 Debra Hawhee. Galloway. 51 Giles Deleuze and Claire Parnet. 3 (2006): 326.. no.” Computers and Composition 26. Vibrant. 2007).. 33 Galloway. 37 Ibid.” Body & Society 19 (2013): 231. 1987). Vibrant. 38. Linux videogame. 3.. 40 Paul Ricoeur. 23 Brock. .html 26 Micropolis. 41 Kelly Pender. 148. 24. 5. “Between Rhetoric and Poetics.. 38 Ibid. Barbara Habberjam. Eliot Ross Albert. 324–384. Bergson. 340 quoted in Ibid.” in Essays on Rhetoric and Aristotle. no. “Criminal Code. 2008. 319. Deleuze. 2004). 24. 56 Ibid. “The Interface as Exordium: The Rhetoric of Interac- tivity. “Language Wants to Be Overlooked: Software and Ideology. trans. 35 Chun. 42 Chun..” 319. 26. 4 4 Ibid. 24. 000153/000153.. Techne: From Neoclassicism to Postmodernism: Understand­ ing Writing as Useful (Anderson. 49 Claire Carlisle.” Digital Humanities Quarterly 7. 29 Chun. Programmed Visions. 23. “Language. 43 Ibid. The Enchantment of Modern Life: Attachments.digitalhumanities. 27 Ibid. 24. 46 Charles Darwin. 57 Ibid. 45 Bennett. “One Hundred. no. 3 (2009): 164.

0 (Apr. New York: Focus Philosophical Library. 75 See for example.gna. 2005). xiv. Onto-Cartography: An Ontology of Machines and Media (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.0. 78 Ian Bogost. 16. 2017. Habits of Unsuccessful Nonhumans  225 59 onto-cartography-an-ontology-of-machines-and-media/ Bibliography Aristotle.nd. accessed May 15. 2017.0. wikia. Rivers.9. http://FreeCiv. Brown. Alien Phenomenology.” FreeCiv Devel- opment. 64 Ibid. Or What It’s Like to Be a Thing (Min- neapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 74 “Coding Style.4-3/civ2civ3/effects. Bannon. “Review: Onto-Cartography: An Ontology of Ma­ chines and Media. http://sidmeiersalphacentauri. Translated by Joe Sachs. accessed May 15. Nicomachean Ethics. 85 Ian Bogost. 83 “Infinite City” Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews: An Electronic Journal.. 68 Ibid. 82 The author of this quotation is unknown to the best of my research Sid_Meier”s_Alpha_ Centauri/Getting_Starte 84 James J.” 77 Mathison. “Composing the Carpen- ter’s Workshop. 5.0. 87 Bryan E. 16. 2004. http://FreeCiv.wikia. .0a. 72 Ibid. accessed May 15. 13. 2014).com/wiki/Editing_rulesets. Vibrant. Brown. 69 FreeCiv 1.4. 2017. 63 Ibid.. 62 Jr. 2015). 66 Ibid.0 code. http://mod pack. FreeCiv Development (Apr.. 67 Ibid.c. and Nathaniel A. 73 “Remember.” FreeCiv Wikia. 37. 1999. Bryant.. FreeCiv 2. Effects. FreeCiv 1.c. 2017. FreeCiv Development. Feb. 2017. 2014).9asrv/common/ city. 9. http://ndpr. 2017.c. accessed May 15. 2. 71 “Editing Rulesets. accessed May 15. 79 City. 1996).freeciv. 61 Bennett. Per. Ethical Programs: Hospitality and the Rhetorics of Software (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.. 71–72.4/civ2civ3-2.ruleset from FreeCiv 2. 19. 70 FreeCiv 2. http://FreeCiv. 2002. 105. 2012). FreeCiv 1. 37. 5.8. Or What It’s Like to Be a Thing (Min- neapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 65 James J. com/wiki/ wikia.” Sid Meyer”s Alpha Centauri. FreeCiv Development (Jan.8. accessed May 15.9.ruleset 76 City..c 80 Sample offers a similar observation regarding computer perception in Micro­ polis. Apr. 2. 86 Levi R. accessed April 2014.” FreeCiv Wikia. 81 City. “Cleanup of Empire Size and Unhappiness.” Ozone: A Journal of Object-Oriented Studies 1 (Autumn 2013): 27–36. “Corruption is halved during love—the XXX days. Oct. Alien Phenomenology.8. but he does not connect his observations to its ontological significance. 2012).” FreeCiv Wikia. 2.wikia. 2015. 60 Ibid. http://svn. Jr.

Constructing Experience. Chun. M. Bogost. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Feb. 1994. Darwin. James J. 19. wiki/Coding_Style . Levi R. Ed- inburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Jane.” Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews: An Electronic J­ ournal. and Nathaniel A.226  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently ———. Ian. “Review: Onto-Cartography: An Ontology of M ­ achines and Media. Lingua Fracta: Toward a Rhetoric of New Media. Cow Clicker. New York: Routledge. 2015. Translated by G. and Ethics. On Habit. Bryant.” FreeCiv Wikia. NJ: Hampton. 3 (2009): 164–173. Durham. Brown. 2007. 2017. “Coding Style. Accessed May 15. Accessed on May 15. “The Interface as Exordium: The Rhetoric of Interactiv- ity. Cambridge. Onto-Cartography: An Ontology of Machines and Brooke. Cicero. Carnegie. 2017. 2 vols. 2nd ed. Kennedy.” Technoculture 2 (2012). Berkeley: University of California. M. Translated by H. New York: Oxford University Press. Carlisle. Burke. 2014. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press. Rackham. Or What It’s Like to Be a Thing. A Rhetoric of Motives. Crossings. Ian. James J. Bannon. Bryan E. 1984. Accessed May 15. Berkeley: University of California Press. ———. Charles. The Enchantment of Modern Life: Attachments. Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things. 2015. MA: MIT. Carbondale. Brown. Teena A. ———. Kevin. Cambridge. Alien Phenomenology. Kenneth.. Cambridge. and T. Michael. Richard A. “The Rhetoric of Rhetoric: Six Tropes of Disciplinary Self-­ Constitution. no. Cahn. Programmed Visions. “Composing the Carpenter’s Work- shop. 2010. 2016. MA: MIT University Press. Philadelphia. Roberts and J. https://tcjournal. 2007. Collin Brock. MA: Harvard University Press.H. Ethical Programs: Hospitality and the Rhetorics of Software.A. Cherwitz. https:// cowclicker. 61–84. 2012. NC: Duke University Press. IL: Southern Illi- nois University Press. Accessed May 15. De Oratore. http://ndpr. 2017. http://FreeCiv. Loeb Classical Library. Bennett. Permanence and Change: An Anatomy of Purpose. “One Hundred Thousand Billion Processes: Oulipian Compu- tation and the Composition of Digital Cybertexts. Marcus Tullius. an-ontology-of-machines-and-media/ Bazerman. Videogame. 2012. Minneap- olis: University of Minnesota Press. 1969. “Why the “Epistemic” in Epistemic Rhetoric? The Paradox of Rhetoric as Performance. 2010. Wendy. ———. 2017. edited by R. Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames. On Rhetoric: A Theory of Civic Discourse.” In The Recovery of Rhetoric: Persuasive Discourse and Disci­ plinarity in the Human Science. wikia. 2009. Bogost.nd.J.” Ozone: A Journal of Object-Oriented Studies 1 (Autumn 2013): 27–36. 1993. 2014. Claire. Rivers.” Text and Performance Quarterly 15 (1995): 189–205.” Computers and Composition 26. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

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One obvious remedy for this ongoing traditional text preference is to teach students how to design a wide range of videog- ames. I state that what I am calling a hexis of enchantment involves tracing the aleatory agency of nonhuman actors in mundane texts.) that players also create about play. This focus in- cludes our preference for teaching traditional texts with regard to emerg- ing mediums like videogames while paying less attention to the types of multimodal forms and genres (modding. including commercialized genres. etc. First. The other more pragmatic problem is that teaching game design is not as easy as teaching more common multimodal assignments. explicitly teaching theoretical concepts like procedural habits is not an easy task. While pedagogy may not seem like the direct concern of this book’s subject matter. such as Ben Fry’s Deconstructulator. In the final case study of Procedural ­Habits. However. like audio or video remixes or even basic webtext design. Along with countless others (post-techne. ambient rhet- oric. Rather. I note that one additional strat- egy for exploring this withdrawn agency lies in Bogost’s heuretic notion of carpentry. this straightforward pedagogical application runs into two main problems. it is nevertheless an important consideration. like a videogame’s code. videogames do not attempt to make a per- suasive argument to change an audience’s mind about a political topic. designers and players use videogames to simulate the absence of human agency or representational ability within a videogame. certain theoretically complex concepts in our field are difficult to translate into pedagogy because they emerge in part to challenge the role of systematic or formalized pedagogical models. With carpentry. like social media games.7 The Materiality of Play as Public Rhetoric Pedagogy In the conclusion of Chapter 6. machinima. . postcomposition). as it is un- deniably a pedagogical orientation that motivates a great deal of rhetoric and composition studies’ interests in videogame rhetoric. I want to make a more specific appeal for how carpentry in rela- tionship to a hexis of enchantment and procedural habits can form part of the ways in which writing teachers seek to incorporate videogames into various writing classrooms. while using examples like Cow Clicker as heuretic models.

many of which form in mediums . For Shipka. and material affordances for teachers and students who use the space. As a result. Suffice to say (and my own teaching experience with under- graduates bears this out in part). revising. such as GameSalad.’s book as offering a way to connect Shipka’s insights toward a form of public rhetoric through digital writing. 2 In the open- ing pages of her book. Although a number of point-and- click and drag-and-drop game design interfaces. enable users without any coding knowledge to design and publish a vid- eogame. spatial. even the non-digital presence of a chalkboard in a college classroom is also a form of multimodality. planning. what I want to do in this final case study on videogame peda- gogy is to explore some basic ways that writing teachers can ask students to compose with and through mundane texts of interface design in vid- eogames as a form of carpentry. rhetoric and composition studies all too often mean “multimodal” as “digital. she affirms that there is a great deal of practical value in having students develop self-­consciousness about print-based writing practices when they are forced to compare these familiar practices to their inventional strategies in multimodal forms of composition.). ­particularly writing teachers who are obligated to fulfill regimented cur- ricular tasks in general education first year. As a result. By contrast. and Anthony J. I trace a combination of two pedagogical concepts not specifically directed at ­videogame rhetoric that nevertheless have come to inform a great deal of my own pedagogi- cal interests in videogames and procedural habits: Jody ­Shipka’s Toward a Composition Made Whole1 and David M. In asking students to compose with different forms of physical materiality.230  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently As a case in point. Sheridan et al.” while avoiding a more diverse consideration of non-digital ma- terial sources of composition. I often view Sheridan et al. planning let alone designing even one of Bogost’s most basic examples of a persuasive game would require no inconsiderable amount of understanding of how complex game mechanics work to create ar- guments. Shipka maintains that stu- dents still learn about the writing process (drafting. While not in direct dialogue with Shipka. Jim Ridolfo. etc. ­Sheridan. where multimodal teaching may only be a smaller part of the overall curriculum structure. Shipka describes a classroom project in which her student writes letters in pen on a pair of ballet slippers. Michel’s idea of multimodal public rhetorics. Furthermore. full-fledged ­videogame design is likely not a realistic goal for many in our field. videogame creation remains a medium with a steep and time-intensive learning curve. argue that we should teach in multimedia in part to expose students to a wide range of multimodal genres in order to make them aware of their ability to partic- ipate in contemporary public spheres. In this chapter.and advanced-composition classes. Cow Clicker is a highly sophisticated videogame as a work of game design even before we consider its subtle rhetorical aims of satirizing social media games. in that it involves particular visual.

and multimodal public rhetoric. then we have foreclosed certain forms of public inter- action and kairotic realization. can be combined with carpentry.” or “mod. 5 In the third section.” thanks to the easy ability to mod or customize many elements of videogames as well as to record. If we do not teach students different mediums as part of public rhetoric. These activities offer a more realistic approach that. media studies. In as far as any videogame maps onto real-­ world situations the way that Bois satirizes contemporary athletes. and rhetorical studies to help writing students connect Bois’s rhetorical strategies to carpentry. On the one hand. I outline a teaching example that I will use as a lens to discuss some of these pedagogical concerns: SB Nation blogger Jon Bois’s weekly column in fall 2013 entitled Breaking Madden. “to play” a videogame is always already “to write. In the second section. as I demon- strate in this chapter. In the first section of this chapter. Bois of- fers a weekly blog post that creates multimodal narratives from record- ing play. The Materiality of Play as Public Rhetoric Pedagogy  231 beyond print. For me. ­including how they circulate through networked spaces. Specifically. Bois records his attempt to “break. stream. I introduce some theoretical concepts from games studies. part of teaching writing students the available means of persuasion in the present means teaching about the various affordances and constraints of different mediums. the hexis of enchantment. I compare Bois’s work to media studies theorist Beth Coleman’s concept of “cross-platform avataring” as a way to explain how Bois utilizes multiple mediums to explain the compositional ac- tivity of play beyond videogames as a form of epideictic satire. I suggest that Bois illustrates the value of Burkean identification as a public rhetoric practice. Taken alongside Shipka’s thinking. recompose.3 During a given American professional sports season. rather. In part. I argue that Bois’s ability to view recording and remixing play as a rhetoric activity in itself is an effective model for public rhetoric practice. students can begin to see a videogame not as an authorial argument or official source of meaning that they have to accept. I am interested in how we might direct student writers to view the physical and networked spaces of vid- eogames’ rhetorical interactivities as a kairotic opportunity to teach them something about the relationship between videogame rhetoric and procedural habits. On the other hand. and disseminate play. and some of the theoretical ideas of procedural habits in general.” a popular sports videogame such as Madden 25 by attempting to reveal limits of the game mechanics. they see the videogame as an epideictic medium that they can customize to start intervening in existing publics’ procedural habits of play. I turn to the pedagogical value of Bois’s idea of “breaking Madden” as a sort of Heideggerian “broken tool” simulation . a hexis of en- chantment. Thus.4 Bois combines these attempts to break Madden 25 with satire related to ongoing real-life story lines from a given 2013–2014 NFL season.

6 ranked second in overall North American sales. Jon Bois’s Breaking Madden NFL I started teaching Jon Bois’s Breaking Madden columns in my writing classes in 2014. to entitle the first version John Madden Football. By foregrounding the machine’s ale- atory agency. makeup. . an appeal first and foremost to a generalizable sort of procedural habit or hexis: a spirit of creative material inquiry and a refusal to accept the authority of the procedural habits that game designers try to manifest as a site of potential public rhetorical agency. play videogames on a computer through interacting with these physical objects.7 EA Sports took the name of the videogame from the personality of John Madden. For readers unfamiliar with the Madden NFL videogame series.) to take over keyboard input functions and. the 2014 version. coins.1). 1 year after he started publishing them. in which he used some highly creative forms of tactile interactivity to reinforce certain embodied pro- cedural arguments within the RPG satire Undertale on Steam. While graphics. For me.232  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently as a form of rhetorical carpentry. I feature my past classroom experi- ments of asking students to use JoyLabz’s Makey Makey programmable circuit board as a public rhetoric practice of “critical making” (discussed below). The Makey Makey allows student writers to plug in any physical object that will carry an electric current (fruit. in a sense. etc. specific to my interests in Procedural Habits. I offer some brief context (Figure 7. Madden NFL is routinely one of the top selling sports videogames in America. thereby converting the videogame into a “broken tool” while inviting them to see the digital as a space of material composing (Shipka) and kairotic invention (Sheridan et al. By incorporating some basic coding knowledge through Scratch. I feature a project by Ben Crane. In closing.). my goal is to place this sort of assignment in dialogue with how digital rhetoricians’ emergent interest in critical making is. Bois requires audiences to see beyond the screen toward the realm of the invisible elements that structure our expressive writing and rhetorical practices through procedural habits without most players knowing it. writing students can use the Makey Makey to make arguments through the types of embodied interactions that they require players to input in order to play a videogame. This description of the Makey Makey—“Ever played Mario on Play-Doh?”—from the company’s website effectively captures my ped- agogical orientation. In part. Madden 16. metals. one of my former undergraduate students. a ba- sic visual programming language.8 The latter eventually became Madden NFL in 2003. Here. the popular former player and coach cum broadcaster. this gesture has an analogy in carpentry (and espe- cially in the context of Shipka’s goal of having students experiment with material composing) not just to “break” the machine but to mod it by adding physical input objects.

customizable features. because their two real-life choices— Chad Henne and Blaine Gabbert—were terrible. for example. Bois actually indicates in one post that he chose to write his column about Madden 25’s “Connected Franchise mode” because it represented the “deep- est mode in the history of the Madden NFL franchise. “Meet CLARENCE BEEFTANK. Released in 2013.”11 Week 1 featured a simulated game in anticipation of a Week 1 actual season opener between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Kansas City Chiefs. online leagues. the basic purpose of the videogame re- mains unchanged: The Madden series strives to be an ever more realistic football simulation.9 Multiplayer in- teraction in Madden 25 was very public. Bois’s exigency was two-fold: First. networked franchises. The goal of this mode is to earn admittance into the Hall of Fame leaderboard by increasing a player’s Personal Legacy Score. in Bois’s opinion. The Materiality of Play as Public Rhetoric Pedagogy  233 Figure 7. networked multiplayer interaction.1  S creenshot of play interface for Madden 16 on Playstation 4. the Jaguars were the only team who had yet to resolve their starting quarterback situation. SB Nation’s pre-season poll had ranked the Jaguars as the 31st worst team in the league out of 32 teams. coach. or owner. and other social media forums. a major draw of Madden 25 in particular involved increased potentials for online play. with leaderboards. In response to this exigency. has unique decisions about selecting players for a roster or transferring cities for new stadium rewards. it is use- ful to begin with Week 1’s column. and gameplay have changed over the years.”10 Connected Franchise mode is a full simulation mode where a player can choose to be an NFL player. The owner.”12 . Since Bois’s weekly columns often reference previous weeks. Second. Bois elected to create a quarterback avatar for the Jaguars in Madden 25 that would make a procedural argument to highlight “the League’s saddest quarterback controversies.

Acceleration. In a decision designed to highlight the Jaguars’ real-life woes. Bois released every quarterback from the team’s default roster. Bois selected the Jaguars as his user-controlled team. famous quarterbacks in the NFL have high Pass or Awareness ratings.2). Yet. Bois hyperbolically comments: Trying to injure BEEFTANK is like trying to puncture a cinder block. Bogost defines procedural rhetoric as the use of interactive rule-bound procedures in computationally expressive media to make an argument. . rather than creating narrative meaning by overlaying a unique audio narrative over live feed video capture. He assigned BEEFTANK the highest ratings allowed to the following adjustable rulesets: Strength. only his maze is of the existential sort that funnels him through the cock- les of football’s pure heart. Speed.2  S creenshot of BEEFTANK customization from Jon Bois’s Breaking Madden Column. he created a new quarterback character called “BEEFTANK”—“all caps. please”—as the starter and posted a screenshot to his blog page (Figure 7. He is like Pac-Man. He can frequently bowl over multiple defenders in a single run. Using the player creation tool. In tacit reflection of Bogost’s thinking.gifs or machinima-like compositions. By contrast. Throwing Power. and Toughness. Trucking. He runs like the roundest of freight trains. Stiff Arm. Bois achieves his primary rhetorical effects through the strategic manipulation of rulesets and player customization. Injury. Stamina.234  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently The central element of Bois’s transmedia avatar occurs by recording play through animated . Ordinarily. Carrying.13 Figure 7.

Jacksonville possesses one of the best young pairs of wide- outs in the NFL … Judging from their recent performance in the pass- ing game. With the addition of the “Hit Stick” button in Madden NFL 2005. Awareness. they do not deserve these guys. By contrast. Bois was not giving the Jaguars a quarterback equivalent of a graceful or elegant running back who can elude tacklers with agility. noting: This isn’t just for fun. Spin Move. The latter cannot be tackled by defending play- ers.14 This procedural decision highlighted a different storyline related to the Jaguars. and Juke Move. In the history of the ­M adden franchise. the first teaching principle that Bois helps writing students to realize is not to accept vid- eogame designers’ narratives as authoritative sources of meaning. Elusiveness.16 opposing players lost their helmets if they were tackled with this particularly violent game mechanic (which was subsequently removed in 2006). Making the avatar nim- ble would have created a different visual and narrative effect than the monolithic BEEFTANK.e. I’m taking their toys away. Shorts was on the field but was ultimately ineffective. Blackmon was popularly claimed to be a poor selection in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft due to off the field issues. As I interpret Bois’s decision. Bois acknowledges that his choices are intentional. In Cecil Shorts III and (the currently-suspended) Justin ­Blackmon. which encouraged players carrying the football to violently run over and injure the opposing side (a feature that the NFL asked them to remove). This mentality is valuable because there are many aspects of Madden worth examining as fodder for public intervention. The Materiality of Play as Public Rhetoric Pedagogy  235 At the same time.17 consciousness . BEFFTANK was also five feet tall and 400 pounds in weight. Agility. Identification and Epideictic Rhetorics of Play While I gesture toward different rhetorical elements. it was not until 2015 that Madden 25 added female fans to its simulated stadium stands.. He had the lowest pos- sible ratings of Throw Accuracy. juking. BEEFTANK was not perfect. but he is unable to look elegant or graceful in his performance. through a deliberately unsubtle procedural metaphor. Bois strongly implies that a writer’s ability to adjust a videogame’s simulated mechanisms is thoroughly a rhetorical choice along the lines of Bogost’s procedural rhetoric. Madden 92 added an ambulance15 and a game mechanic (“trucking”). or misdirection. this lack of total perfec- tion (i. At a basic level. Instead. giving each adjustable setting in the ruleset a 99 rating) serves a purpose. I constructed BEEFTANK in this way be- cause I reckon it’s time for the Jaguars to take a break from throwing for a while. By Madden 12. he offered the Jaguars an undignified bowling ball that reinforced his criticism of the Jaguars’ front office fail- ings.

“modding asks players to be co-constructors of meaning” as well as to see how various rhetorical performances relate to political ideology in game play. Clearly. and Technology. Rice describes Burke’s classic example of the butcher and the shepherd. Bogost’s procedural rhetoric has a role to play in Bois’s com- positions. . Rice claims that these feelings demon- strate that “public subjects are not only defined by the fact that they act in relation to a constellation of discourses. Simply put. In Distant Publics. Banks goes on to describe how these upgrade paths are histor- ically and systematically denied to marginalized populations such as African-Americans. there is a great deal of intriguing rhetorical significance to Madden. Adam Banks raises a similar point in discussing the different annual iterations of Madden. who therefore start their relationship to play—and technology use more broadly—at a competitive disadvantage. modding can be a rhetorical practice. any one version of the Madden franchise is at once a videogame and a site at which players (Burke’s butchers) and non-­ players are habituated to class-based and racialized divisions. but he is “implicitly identified with their slaughter. as in-game players who received a randomly generated concussion injury were required to sit out for an entire game. Kevin Moberly and Ryan M. in the “Preface” to Rhetoric. Thus. I have found Burke’s identification is particularly useful to help students start to approach videogames as a way to think through public rhetoric. How then might we begin to think through multimodal recomposing in Breaking Madden as a form of public rhetoric? In general. and the butcher performs the act for which the sheep were carefully raised.236  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently about injuries began to be integrated. A shepherd may identify as a caretaker.” where player engagement with the rules produces the mean- ing in the game.”20 Both identify with a common act even though their feelings about the activity may differ. but they are often shaped by the particular feelings they have about the relation. Madden is at once a site that houses multiple identificatory relations—human and nonhuman—through which players’ existing and emerging dispositions must negotiate. Citing Sicart’s criticism of proceduralism (understanding meaning in videogames through their rules). one starting place lies in helping to offer students some rhetorical frameworks for understanding what forms of political meanings lie within videogames.18 Thus. which po- sitions designers as the primary rhetorical creators. even above and beyond Bois’s specific purposes.”21 Years earlier.”19 “The shepherd raises sheep to the point of slaughtering. Along similar lines. Extend- ing Bank’s insights. Race. Moeller argue that play can be a dialectical “process of appro- priation. 22 To play Madden competitively across each upgrade pathway requires players to have monetary wealth in order to purchase each new ver- sion as well as the leisure time to transfer previously accumulated game mechanic knowledge in response to minor or major changes in game- play.

24 However.. Stewart employs jokes to allow viewers “to share. Since Harry Potter is a marginalized foe fighting a great evil power in Lord Voldemort.. such as in- dependent bookstore owners versus multinational conglomerates such as Amazon. Students are able to spend some time thinking with Bois about how these points of identification within their chosen videogame may resonate with an actual audience. Thus. 23 which documents attempts to shift fan fic- tion interests to public rhetoric. Lord Voldemort becomes “Wald(e)mart” (e. The analogy back to Breaking Madden lies in the fact that the starting place for rhetorical invention in videogames is to remember that these particular audiences’ procedural habits have formed through certain identification points— either in videogames or in the broader terrain of points of motivation in the NFL. because . rhet- oric is a “precondition” and part of persuasion. forensic).g. For example. judicial.e. herein. and epideictic—epideictic is a par- ticularly appropriate mode for Bois given that the former is the most likely to be dismissed as “mere” rhetoric: “‘artificial.’ and ‘irrelevant’…‘empty rhetoric’” given its historical function in affirming pre-existing community values through praise or blame. Bois even takes “punting privileges away” from his simulated Jags squad to shame them. to reach these audiences requires intervening within these familiar patterns of association and these networks of support (i. As a result. evaluate. While Jenkins does not mention rhetoric. claiming that inherent in epideictic rhetoric is the potential for civic contribution or activism. procedural and non-procedural habits). Walmart) with minimal effort. deliberative. contest and act upon collective knowl- edge. Bois usefully demonstrates to students that effective rhetorical argu- ments in videogames mean that one must start by establishing the world of the videogame—its narrative and its mechanics—and then determine what real-life allegories or points of identification exist (more on this be- low) coupled with deliberate rhetorical purposes (epideictic. trust. one strong teaching point that emerges out of Bois’s com- position activities is epideictic several researchers have argued against this marginalization. deploy. it is clear that he is implicitly working out of Burke’s identification. 25 Cynthia Sheard notably suggests that epideictic rhetoric can also challenge or subvert pre-existing values. Of Aristotle’s three branches of rhetoric—deliberative.’ ‘contrived. I often draw an analogy to Jenkins’s reference to comedian Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show. fans in the Harry Potter Alliance share an intuitive connection to political situations. As a case in point from the Week 1 composition.”26 Bois’s satirical participatory orientation similarly invites others to participate in various issues of praise and blame in the NFL. I often teach Henry Jenkins’s work on fan fiction and public spheres alongside Bois. The Materiality of Play as Public Rhetoric Pedagogy  237 Identification is thereby useful because it helps alert students to new sites where political ideas form and function in videogame player com- munities. particularly Jenkins’s discussion of the Harry Potter Alliance.

players send animated . As the inverse of the actual Jaguars’ offense. images. He uses vlogs. sounds. Electronic Arts re- leased Madden 15 in August 2014 alongside the Gifferator social me- dia portal. Facebook. the major- ity of recorded play has a specific orientation toward cross-­platform or networked circulation.”33 wherein social networking sites (i. Writing as recorded play now includes hybrid genres such as “brag clips. BEEFTANK cannot be stopped. some of the most pop- ular YouTube channels since 2013 have involved recorded play. machinima is often viewed as the production of a standalone composition. or Twitch. 27 Yet. Building a Network of Participatory Avatars Echoing Moberly and Moeller’s call. such as instructional walkthroughs or gaming-related entertain- ment. Vine. Bois helps to illustrate to writing students the fact that “to play” is increasingly “to write. By contrast. and other multimedia forms to offer entertain- ing walkthroughs of horror and action videogames. such as Amnesia: The Dark Descent. hypertext links. a user named “PewDiePie” has operated the most popular YouTube channel (aka Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg). 28 which enables players to create. Since August 2013. or Periscope) offer individuals the opportunity to create and share self-expression through multimedia composition. social media.e. some scholars in our field have al- ready explored modding as well as machinima (videos composed through recording play from videogames). 30 now feature sophisticated multimedia creation interfaces to streamline players’ compositional activities. such as YouTube channels. recorded audio recordings.238  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently he knows that BEEFTANK as an offensive force will never need to punt.” where players post in-game achievements to social media in order to elicit responses from other players.. His YouTube channel listed over 38 million subscrib- ers in July 2015. Let’s Play. from sports (MLB’s The Show 15)29 to role-playing games (Skyrim V: The Elder Scrolls). often combining text. due in large part to the wide availability of high-quality recording and streaming software and online sharing hubs. 31 Some studies also indicate that close to 95% of play- ers supplement their in-game experiences with player-created YouTube videos. Many commercial videogames across different genres. As additional evidence of this growing trend. and now.gif memes to one another via Gif Keyboard on mobile phones while simultaneously chatting on Ventrilo during a raid in Destiny. As a result.” Consider the following rhetorical activities: Tweens (and many of my academic colleagues) post CCS or other casual games achievements in social media. players . and edit animated .32 Recording and sharing play constitutes an emergent form of what Kathleen Blake Yancey calls “textured literacy.gifs. share.

In the Week 2 column. Ulmer explores the roots of seminal play theorist Johan Huizinga’s claim that civilization was created through play by examining the Sanskrit poem. the god Vishnu would incarnate as Krishna through avatars such as dwarf. which means “down. which translates to “base of. players fashion an online persona called an “avatar.39 Indeed.” Book VI of the Mahabharata). incarnation still describes avatars in virtual worlds. the English term “avatar” was analogous to a literary allegory. phrases such as “He is the picture of guilt.” This term charac- terizes the way in which the space of play is not properly characterized by the player’s form of engagement alone. avatar in Sanskrit (the origin of all languages) is composed of two elements: tatari. By the eighteenth century. players exchange screenshots and animated . I observed the co-leader of my old academic WoW guild (Venture).” still capture this sense of someone incarnating or personifying a principle or an in- tangible quality. virtue) was in decline.40 The exigency lies in Manning’s “videogame-like” numbers. Nevertheless.gif files of their avatars in rhetorically crafted poses after complex in-game achievements. The Materiality of Play as Public Rhetoric Pedagogy  239 attend videogame conventions dressed as their customized avatars from any number of videogames. Declaring that a player in a real-life sports game . finally.” Bois’s work successfully demonstrates these cross-media authoring or “avatar-ing” practices as well. Ulmer has highlighted that the etymology of the term “avatar” supports this ongoing and dynamic dimension of avatar-ing.”38 Our modern English and Ameri- canized meanings retain some of this original context. During the battle of Kuruskhetra. use her WoW avatar to teach an MA semi- nar in Composition Theory. 34 Intriguingly. gods or deities such as Vishnu took avatar form (as human or animal) to appear to human heroes. Bhagavadgita (“Song of God. Cynthia Haynes. rather. the multiplayer online virtual world.”36 According to Hindu mythology. man-lion. a major work of the Hindu religion. Alongside Coleman. and temporal moments. 35 According to Coleman. the god Vishnu incarnates as Krishna to assist Prince Arjuna. and boar: “The term avatar in Sanskrit literally means descent. In popular examples such as Second Life. Rama. the space of play captures the ways in which a player’s “co-present media engagement” occurs si- multaneously across various spatial.” and ava. Buddha. Such is a typical comparison by sports commentators. Bois maintains his narrative emphasis—epideictic satire of NFL events—while adding more specific elements of participatory avatar-ing. Week 2’s column is entitled “Peyton Manning and his offensive line of 160-pound  twig-­ people” in response to widespread praise of the performance of real-­ life quarterback Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos against the New York Giants in Week 1 of the NFL season. when I was a PhD student back at ­Clemson University. and.37 Whenever dharma (duty. medial. Media studies researcher Beth Coleman identifies these composing practices as a player’s “ambient networked presence.

“if you’d like a horrible player [i. he enjoins his viewers to become both literal avatars and active participants in the process of avatar-ing. “Robert ‘Bobert’ ­Awful. the Week 2 composition could not take shape without these par- ticipatory activities. The lines between game and daily life were permanently blurred in this gesture. please submit one crappy fact about yourself.e.. In the week leading up to the Week 2 column.” by keeping his default rule- set ratings intact while reducing the effectiveness of his offensive line. Bois asked users to reveal a personal real-life awful performance or event. Rather. “This week. ­Furthermore.41 To begin his process of rhetorical invention. Clearly. He wished to connect the epideictic satire of Breaking Madden to users’ actualized hexeis of vir- tue and vice as well as to create a hexis of epideictic avatar-ing. Bois was not simply soliciting random content in a mere desire to gain more readers. Bois reduced the height of the offensive linemen—typically the largest players on the field—and .”43 As I read it. the more tempting it became to satirize this activity. For those tweeters whose tales of woe were deemed worthy. As an act of humbling Manning. as Bois began to inject the actual play space of Madden 25 with characters. and para-­textual references to non-football and non-videogame issues. To help create the simulation of real life. with a nod ­toward his cross-platform avatar-ing orienta- tion.” Bobert was part of Bois’s pre-existing transmedia network. Bois does not ask viewers for their amazing accomplishments in life. Un- like ­Manning’s real-life performance. From Bois’s perspective. he asked his par- ticipants to reproduce past actual occurrences of the public humbling of Manning that he was about to simulate. the more that play in a real-life game resembled a perfor- mance only thought to be possible in a videogame.” functions as a simple simile to characterize an extremely high level of athletic performance. this gesture combines interactive storytelling to form a participatory rhetorical argument. In terms of procedural rhetoric.”42 Adding a new dimension to his overall argument. let’s try to break him. Each of these elements worked together to help the overall transmedia narrative unfold. Bois re- named his offensive line to make their interaction part of his subsequent avatar-ing. Rather. Bois cleverly referenced his prior blog on recorded play in the videog- ame NBA2K12 by reintroducing a narrative character. Bois employed this point of identification with his audience to solicit new forms of participation through social media. Bois reminded his readers of ­Bobert and posted on Twitter. Bois sought to bring in var- ious aspects of his former cross-media avatars in different sports posts. one of M ­ anning’s offensive linemen] named after you/your Twitter profile in a Madden experiment. his Twitter call satirized and procedurally complimented Manning’s actual brilliant performance in the NFL. stories. A  Tweeter named Kelly Murphy joined the team with the following story: “I once owned a single cassette tape of ‘Are you Jimmy Ray?’ by Jimmy Ray.240  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently plays like “he or she is in a videogame. Bois declares.

“timing. as a moment of deci- sion. Bois is clearly effective in soliciting user interaction while building cross-­ platform narratives grounded in epideictic forms of procedural rhetoric. which he turned to zero because he wanted them on the field the entire game. Kinneavy’s remark that “kairos is a complete concept. echoing Sheridan et al. and the idea of kairos within the activities of cross-platform avatar-ing. Bois’s gesture to reduce Manning’s offensive line poked gentle fun at an implicit context. He confirms the point that modding contains no less degrees of r­ hetorical ­creativity than composing a textual argument. Actual NFL linemen are routinely upwards of 280 pounds. He gave each lineman a rating of zero for every skill category. real-life Peyton Manning?” Bois’s other weekly columns fit a similar script. The Materiality of Play as Public Rhetoric Pedagogy  241 set their weight to a very light 160 pounds. Echoing Jan Rune H ­ olmevik’s claim that videogames are an important form of rhetorical invention in elec- tracy. offer an ex- cellent summary of this body of work. not easily reduced to a single formula. I want to expand briefly on Sheridan et al. Rather. Constance Steinkuehler and Barbara Z. therefore. epideictic procedural mods can begin to subtly challenge these norms. not merely passive or critical consumption.”45 Typically thought of as the opportune moment. Bois minimized their talents except for injury ratings.. Bois wants to ask a provocative question via procedural rhetoric and allegorithm: “how good are you. in that many of Manning’s detractors argue that part of his brilliance was enabled by his outstanding offensive line. Throughout his columns.”46 Sheridan et al. Johnson suggest: …modding illustrates what it means to be technically literate in the contemporary participatory sociotechnical world (collaborative and negotiated rather than individually achieved) … [It is a] digital me- dia literacy practice … involving design and production. a moment of crises. regardless of how much virtual punishment they received. including “occasion” and “due measure. To wrap up the importance of epideictic rhetoric and Breaking ­M adden. they draw on Eric Charles White: Kairos regards the present as unprecedented. and considers it impossible. I acknowl- edge James L.47 To inform their particular con- ception. Citing the obligatory qualifi- cation that must precede even a short discussion of kairos. Bois indicates that modding can function as a way to locate gaps within simulation fever for rhetorical effects across multiple rhetorical situations. its meanings are diverse. Bois took active control of the Giants and allowed the CPU to control the Broncos’ offensive line and Manning’s avatar. he refused to let the videogame substitute a more skilled backup lineman. In other words. to . This gesture confirms again Sheard’s excellent observation that epideictic rhetoric does more than simply affirm community standards.” or “right” time.44 Furthermore.

by observing how the machine thwarts his carefully planned ruleset decisions. Players who avatar through viewing or composing mods or machinima start to learn the forms of procedural habits that function as the realization of the available means of persuasion in the present moment.242  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently intervene successfully in the course of events merely on the basis of past experience.”49 Each weekly column down to the final column.. Madden 25 is akin to Heidegger’s broken tool. In a tacit use of Bogost’s carpentry. one should seek to remain open to an encoun- ter with the unforeseen spontaneity we commonly describe as the “mother of all inventions. procedural rhetoric) in relationship to the embodied net- works where these forms can kairotically reach the appropriate audi- ences (player publics). such as when we ask students to only engage videogames through print writing. … Rather than understand the present solely in terms of the past. the Week 1 column also introduced one of Bois’s narrative subtexts throughout the column: breaking the videog- ame. White’s kairos indicates that to foreclose students’ writing medium in advance is to simultaneously limit their op- portunities for kairotic responses. . Despite the fact that BEEFTANK should be impossible to tackle.. Building from White. the computer simulation unexpectedly causes BEEFTANK to trip him- self up without any defensive player touching him. Students will never develop the hexeis necessary to interact rhetorically from within these spaces if they are not learning strategies for playing and recording within them. mediums of the past) but instead employs its unique persuasive forms (identification.e. “The Machine Bleeds to Death. and it is at this point where I see Shipka’s interest in physical objects aligning with a hexis of enchantment. The videogame be- gins to stop functioning properly: “[A]t one point the controller wouldn’t stop vibrating because of a hit. Over and over again. our medium selection is implicitly a centering and valuation of a me- dium. As a final note.”48 According to Sheridan et al. the reason why I believe Bois is so useful for teaching transmedia avatar-ing as public rhetoric is because he does not just treat recording play as film or as audio narrative (i. Breaking Madden: Composing with Broken Tools My analysis of Breaking Madden thus far has yet to address arguably the most salient part of Bois’s composition with respect to teaching pro- cedural habits. beyond the theme of satire. simulating the way in which an object contains a withdrawn reality that a player may never fully understand during play. As teachers. he offers a confirmation of my observations from Chapter 6 about the aleatory agency of code.” offers humorous examples of Bois’s carpentry-esque frustration with the machine’s aleatory behav- ior.

Burke’s notion of “planned incongru- ity” confirms that Brecht’s Alienation Effect is a profoundly rhetorical activity. in the human body. The Materiality of Play as Public Rhetoric Pedagogy  243 Breaking Madden importantly illustrates a rhetorical strategy of pro- cedural defamiliarization.e.”51 The Alienation Effect can function as part of demonstrating to students how we are attuned toward or away from eudaimonia in videogames and procedural environments in the analogy sense to how Cooley reveals GPS-tracking habit formation within the August App or Kac directs Internet habits to form environmental hexeis. Bois borrows the same Alienation Effect formula to offer a more generalized commentary about the agencies of nonhuman actors akin to Bennett’s claim. If terms of embodiment have been bracketed from videogame rhetoric (i. then discovering non-Cartesian elements to shake up these terministic orientations is part of what forms part of the search for new knowledge. and in human artifacts) in an attempt to counter the narcissistic reflex of human language and thought. seen through interact- ing with physical inputs in interface design. and acceptance altogether.”52 Rather.. planned incongruity is the aim of my attention to the procedural habits of software code as a nonhuman agent in Chapter 6. Bois creates what the theater critic and playwright Bertoldt Brecht called the “Alienation Effect. “I will em- phasize. Echoing Bennett’s strategy. The press release describes Big Huggin’s clear rhetorical aim: “Instead of firing toy guns at countless enemies or revving the engines of countless gas-guzzling virtual cars.”53 Indeed. the agentic contributions of nonhuman forces (operating in nature. “where the accepted linkages have been of an imposing sort. in which a videogame’s persuasive power can exceed a persuasive comparison to the designer’s aims and cause a dis- turbance of simulation denial. Planned incongruity offers writing students a rhetorical strategy for a more generalizable alienation effect in videogames. “clues handed you ready-made in the texture of language itself”). or human beings into vermin upon the face of the earth. why not give a hug?”54 In addition to engaging Bois. students can explore an accessible application of planned incongruity as public rhetoric practice through Eric Rosenbaum and Jay . one should establish perspective by looking through the reverse end of his glass. Burke recommends “[a]ttempting to understand motives and purposes by avoiding as much as possible the clues handed you ready-made in the texture of language itself. thereby sublimating revolutionary attitudes. resignation. even overemphasize. artist Lindsay Grace’s videogame installation Big Huggin requires players to make well- timed hugs to a 30-inch teddy bear controller in order to advance in the game. While Brecht puts critique into the service of rational (leftist) reflection. converting mastodons into microbes.”50 Brecht worried about the power of cinematic realism to create such convincing forms of immersion that individuals would respect a given film as a naturalized representation of reality. For example. Far from unrelated to rhetoric.

For example.3  Personal photograph of a George Mason Writing and Rhetoric PhD student. they might start with the observation that the neutral and non-content-specific shape of the controller to play any Figure 7. students can connect one end of an alligator clip to the Makey Makey circuit board. While many of the processes that I describe in this section are not very advanced. students can start to explore the Makey Makey to think about the relationship between the content on the screen and the forms of habituation that occur through players’ physical controllers. Both circuit board types have a directional arrow pad and various buttons.3). As much as identification can be useful in thinking about how to customize or record play in videogames. They touch the “Space” pad or another button on the Makey Makey cir- cuit board. In turn. if students were working with an FPS game like Call of Duty 5. and it syncs the alligator clip’s metal node to make the laptop think that its “Space” key has been touched (Figure 7. The Makey Makey Classic circuit board is perfectly suited for play- ing videogames.244  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently Silver’s Makey Makey kit: “an invention kit for the 21st century. the Makey Makey can also be combined with Arduino or Scratch to make more forms of soft- ware and physical interactions. . which plugs into a laptop or computer via a USB cable. setting up a Makey Makey asparagus piano experiment.”55 The kit comes with either a Makey Makey Classic or Go circuit board. because it has four arrow keys in addition to the space button (it can also control the mouse). Jacqueline Brown.

these attitudes might be better foregrounded through creating planned incongruity or aesthetic distance. The opposite of killing the Other in an FPS game could be unconditional love for the Other.”57 I have had students suggest using a tiny GI Joe figure. because the figure’s small size would require players to constantly look down at it to avoid . One starting place for heuretical invention might lie in asking students to start brain- storming through planned incongruity about FPS games and violence— or whatever videogames are under consideration—to arrive at opposite or inverse terministic universes. Flanagan sought to highlight the ignored presence of the materiality of the videogame game interface by creating a large controller modeled after a classic At- ari 2600 joystick with a ten-foot joystick and a three-foot red button. The ethical point is similar to the goal of carpentry or a hexis of enchantment: Realize that complex actor-­ networks are working on us and. In fact. consider Mary Flanagan’s [giantJoystick]. such as #GamerGaters. As an artistic corollary to Breaking Madden. in turn. Using a literal gun controller. which Grace’s artistic project implicitly calls attention to in foregrounding empathetic forms of interactivity. I have conducted this precise exercise in a number of differ- ent teaching settings during my time at George Mason University to get students started on the Makey Makey. that ideologies on the screen can be reinforced by the unconscious habits and postures that we absorb through the invisibility of the interface. the classic icon of Ameri- can masculinity. If immersion is what abstracts play habits from analysis. Some took vi- sual in-game representations of Lara Croft’s hypersexualized body in the Tomb Raider franchise and combined planned incongruity with a female Barbie doll dressed as a doctor. like the NES Duck Hunt gun controller. I have seen students experi- ment with a variety of videogames and physical objects to think through how to use physical inputs to create different rhetorical arguments by interfering in users’ normal forms of habituation to play. The controller could be placed in public spaces and required collabo- rative coordination from multiple players observing a common screen. These aspects of planned incongruity are specifically designed to call attention to the materiality of the interface—what Hayles in Writing Machines also calls a “material metaphor” or a “technotext. Echoing Bois. planned in- congruity can also make students think about the size of the controller as a material argument. Peace and violence are both hexeis that can be cultivated through play. The Materiality of Play as Public Rhetoric Pedagogy  245 console or PC version of these games can also help players ignore Call of Duty 5’s violent content. as a physical input to an FPS game. would be akin to planned “congruity” rather than incongruity. These compositional strategies began to investigate the gap between algorithm and players’ subjectivity that produces and reinforces the misogynistic attitudes of anti-feminist issues in the videogame industry.56 While players seem to be cognitively and socially immersed during game play.

58 Players control a human child lost in a magical realm under the Earth’s surface (the Underground). and solve numerous puzzles (Figure 7. It is clear through these scenar- ios that students could ideally function as public rhetors by setting up play installations with various Makey Makey inputs around campus. A few easy timed button presses is all it takes to kill a given monster. a student in one of my advanced-level writing classes. It is not just commercial videogames that can serve as forms of carpentry-­like experimentation but also indie or artistic videogames. interact with NPCs. in turn. Fighting is easiest. Players have to explore this underground world. players in Undertale are posed with an option: Fight or Spare. .4). Fox plays on this tension by humanizing the monsters and making them feel more like real people and. used the Makey Makey to cause the player to think more deeply about the unique way that Undertale asks players to battle monsters. Ben Crane. Sparing is actually more work and turns every fight into a dialogue puzzle.246  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently being poked by the sharp plastic rifle.4  S creenshots from Undertale that illustrate the main game interface and the Fight or Mercy game mechanic. a satire of first-generation RPG games like The Legend of Zelda for the Nintendo system. the player to feel like a monster by electing to kill them. One student project successfully connected these interface design ele- ments by using the Makey Makey and some basic interface program- ming elements to examine forms of habituation through play in indie designer Toby Fox’s Undertale. Yet. This game mechanic reinforces the overall procedural argument of the game that there is no monster too Figure 7. 59 In either scripted or random encounters. to invite collaborative participation and interaction with other students or public audiences.

and he connected a second knife Play-Doh object to the Fight sequence (both were set up to “autohit” through the Autohotkey program and the Makey Makey). these material forms of planned incongruity fulfill and extend many of its traditional aims for print-based texts. a freeware PC program that enables players to change their keyboard inputs even without the Makey Makey hooked up. For example. The Materiality of Play as Public Rhetoric Pedagogy  247 Figure 7. In making these comparisons. evil that does not make dialogue and kindness a preferable choice to killing the Other. Conclusion Far from being inhospitable to writing pedagogy. Shipka argues that writing students still learn drafting. he connected a physical heart out of Play-Doh to the Mercy button in the game. rhetorical .5  S creenshots from Undertale that illustrate the main game interface and the Fight or Mercy game mechanic. while also more directly requiring players to grapple with the physical inputs that shaped their own realities. “K” on the keyboard can be reprogrammed through Autohotkey (or Scratch) to trigger a three-button complex function like “Ctrl+Alt+Delete. The heart button would warm up the more it was pressed (utilizing a runner’s handwarmer chemical) and the knife would get colder (utilizing icy-hot chemicals).” thereby enabling Ben to navigate more complex moments of game play in the Fight/Spare box (Figure 7. In Toward a Composition Made Whole. Ben’s Makey Makey utilized Scratch and Autohotkey. As physical inputs. audience. Ben was trying to make even more explicit the implicit theme of the game.5).

five-paragraph essay.e. “the complex and highly rigorous decision-making processes the student employed while producing this text. respond to. Brock and Rieder also engage rhetorical carpentry and planned incongruity by hacking an Xbox360’s Kinect sensor to visualize how the sensor perceives human bodies much in the same way I asked how the code of FreeCiv perceives the videogame.’s multimodal public kairos or larger humanities scholarly interests in ideas of “critical making” and “DIY citizenship.63 Simply “questioning ownership rights to media” by avatar-ing through modding or experimenting with materiality can function as part of . writers typically worked. viewing process in terms of rigid or abstract cognitive steps (pre-writing. students may still be afforded opportunities to consider how they are continually posi- tioned in ways that require them to read.. we do not always want to isolate writing from its actual instantia- tion through the various multimodal and material networks of avatars.” As Matt Ratto and Megan Boler argue in the “Introduction” to DIY Citizenship: …making [is] a ‘critical’ activity. editing) can work to “obscure actual settings in which. images. and movements. when combined with Bois’s irreverence in Breaking ­M adden toward official or sanctioned meaning. She argues: A composition made whole recognizes that whether or not a partic- ular classroom or group of students are wired. sounds. screens. and negotiate a streaming interplay of words.60 Shipka also challenges the extent to which our fixation on final product (i. drafting. an activity that provides both the possibility to intervene substantively in systems of authority and power and that offers an important site for reflecting on how such power is constituted by infrastructures. Ship- ka’s material process pedagogy goes against the “laboratory-like” view of process criticized by postprocess scholars. and practices. align with.”61 Thus. these efforts confirm that S­ hipka’s gen- eral orientation toward material making can be productively combined with Sheridan et al. I want to acknowledge that there are un- doubtedly more interesting and sophisticated ways to pursue planned incongruity or carpentry in videogames. In concluding this chapter. In a clear nod to Aristote- lian hexis. Yet.248  Thinking Persuasive Technologies Differently reasoning. arrangement) ignores the process of inven- tion. institutions. and many of our traditional text-based pedagogical goals when they compose in other media and physical forms of materiality.”62 Simi- larly. by having students work with actual physical and digital forms for actual audiences. and conditions under which. communities.

com/ nfl/2013/9/5/4691010/breaking-madden-clarence-beeftank-jaguars. 191. Michel. 16 Madden NFL 2005 (Los Angeles. 5 Beth Coleman. Toward a Composition Made Whole (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. Videogame. 2004). 49. CA: Electronic Arts.. 12 Ibid. 14 Ibid. Notes 1 Jody breaking-madden. : University of Pittsburgh Press. 2013. Videogame. 2014). 13 Ibid. 2015). Moeller. accessed May 15. SB Nation. Matt Ratto and Megan Boler (Cambridge. Rhetoric.  Banks. Part of learning how to overcome the expressive/ mundane bias can lie in simply learning about how videogames habituated us through material input sources and. CA: Electronic Arts. 30. “Fan Activism as Participatory Politics: The Case of the Harry Potter Fan Alliance. recombining them to make multimodal kairotic arguments through devices like the Makey Makey. Jan. www. 5. the-top-ten-best-selling-video-games-of-2014/. CA: Electronic Arts. 42. CA: Electronic Arts. 8 Robin Antonik. 20 Ibid. 3 Jon Bois. 18 Kevin Moberly and Ryan M. CA: Electronic Arts. and Technology: Searching for Higher Ground (New York: Routledge.forbes. 2013. 19 Jenny Rice. Sept. Videogame. 2011). 2014). Race. Distant Publics: Development Rhetoric and the Subject of Crisis (Pittsburgh. 23 Henry Jenkins. 2 David M. 1992). Hello Avatar: Rise of the Networked Generation (Massa- chusetts: MIT Press. xxi. ed. Videogame. CA: Electronic Arts. Videogame. in turn. 10 Jon Bois. “Working at Play: Modding. 9 Madden 25. 19. 2011). 17 Madden 12 (Los Angeles. 7 Michael Kain. 9. 65–74. 22 Adam J. . 15 John Madden Football 92 (Los Angeles. and Transformation in Technical Communication. 2015). 2011). accessed May 15. 1988). 2015. 25 Aug. 9. www. Sheridan. 4 Madden 25 (Los Angeles. Ryan M. “[Week 1] Meet CLARENCE BEEFTANK.” Breaking Madden. Moeller and Stephanie Vie (Burlington. Videogame. MA: MIT Press. 11 Ibid. John Madden Football (Los Angeles. and Anthony J. Aug. 2006). Jan. 48. SC: Parlor Press.” in Computer Games and Technical Communication: Critical Methods and Applications at the Intersection. 2015.sbnation. 2014). 6 Madden 16 (Los Angeles. 2017. 21 Ibid. Breaking Madden. Jim Ridolfo. ed. The Available Means of Persuasion: Mapping Theory and Pedagogy of Multimodal Public Writing (Anderson.” in DIY Citizenship: Making and Social Media. The Materiality of Play as Public Rhetoric Pedagogy  249 cultivating a hexis of negotiating different mediums to tease out how to make kairotic interventions in emergent publics surrounding videogames and procedural habits. VT: Ashgate. Aug. Web. SB Nation. 2013).” Forbes. “The Top Ten Bestselling Videogames of 2014..sbnation. 2017. Rev- elation. www.

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Wimbledon. Ratto. Michel. 11.” Educa- tion Leadership. Makey Makey. 7 (1996): 765–794. Aug. edited by Ryan M.” In DIY Citizenship: Critical Making and Social Media. edited by Matt Ratto & Megan Boler. Eric Charles. and Megan Boler.” Kairos. “Using Multiple Technologies to Teach Writing. 3 (2012). Jan. 2014. 2017. Kaironomia: On the Will-to-Invent. Skyrim V: The Elder Scrolls.” In Writing and the Digital Generation: Essays on New Media Rhetoric. Japan: Sony. 2010. 2011. 174–183. 2015. 2011. 2014. Matt. Videogame. Jim Ridolfo. Moeller and Stephanie Vie. 1. The Materiality of Play as Public Rhetoric Pedagogy  253 Madden NFL 2005. VT: Ashgate. Bethesda Game Studios. Phillip. 1–22.” In Computer Games and Technical Communication: Critical Methods and Applications at the Inter- section. 2012. no. 2017. and Anthony J. MLB 15: The Show. no. Barbara Z. 9. Jenny. edited by Heather Urbanski. David M. Los Angeles.” Digital Humanities Quarterly. New York: McFarland. Videogame.2/­ topoi/ridolfo_devoss/velocity. Makey Makey LLC. Theory. May 15. Kevin. Anderson. 62. and DeVoss.” In Rhetoric and Kairos: Essays in History. New York: SUNY Press. Tomb Raider: Underworld. “Avatar Emergency. “Computational Literacy in Online Games: The Social Life of www. “The Public Value of Epideictic Rhetoric. http://digitalhumanities. 2 (2004): 38–40. 2013. Baumlin. Reprogrammable Circuit Board. Marc. “DIY and Activism: New Modes of Civic En- gagement and Participatory Politics. SC: Parlor Press. Revelation. “The Ancient Concept. Toward a Composition Made Whole. MA: MIT Press. The Available Means of Persuasion: Mapping Theory and Pedagogy of Multimodal Public Writing.” College English. no. Danielle Nicole. Shipka.technorhetoric.html. Distant Publics: Development Rhetoric and the Subject of Crisis.makeymakey. 15. Jody. Steinkuehler. 2012. html. Accessed May 15. edited by Phillip Sipiora and James S. and Praxis. http://kairos. 2008. and Johnson. 2004. Tokyo. Kathleen Blake. 1 (2009): 53–75. “Rhetorical Velocity.. Nov. CA: Electronic Arts. Ulmer. Sheridan. White. Pepper. 2014. 2009. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. 58. Rice. 5. London: Eidos Interactive. New York: Cornell University Press.” International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediating Simulations. Moeller. 1987. 1–22. Sheard. Yancey. and Transformation in Technical Communication. Cynthia M. Cambridge. Ridolfo Jim. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. “Virtual Gorillas: Machinima in Second Life. . Gregory. and Ryan M. no. Sipiora. “Working at Play: Modding. Videogame. 189–207. Constance.

In doing so. I have sought to examine some neglected re- sources for understanding mundane texts as rhetorical actors. In turn. rhetoric and composition studies continues to have difficulty in addressing the presence of mundane habit-­ shaping design elements or genres that often function rhetorically at lev- els of nonconscious behavior reinforcement. Persuasive technologies may produce desirable effects in certain circumstances and not in others. To date. my efforts here are to recast these related sets of preferences for the expressive by using mun- dane habit-shaping elements and genres of videogames to reach some more fundamental conclusions about habit’s role in rhetoric in general. to encourage others to explore these inroads further. In concluding this book. In turn. I have sought to demonstrate that these exclusions often reflect a preference for certain types of theoretical assumptions about rhetoric and writing as well (expressive/mundane. dis- course. social construction). including Fogg’s persuasive technologies and non-mechanistic approaches to habit through the rhetorical tradition (especially Aristotle and Ravaisson). just as a presidential speech may move or fail to move some audience members to change their hearts and minds. What I am in fact claiming throughout Procedural Habits is that rhetoric and composition scholars should treat mundane habit-shaping design elements and genres of videogames as authentic and unique me- diums of digital rhetoric. As a result. . our field’s efforts to engage emerging mediums is largely marked by a preference for expressive texts and the exclusion of mundane ones.Conclusion to Procedural Habits My argument in Procedural Habits has been fairly straightforward. it is my belief that understanding the full rhetorical impact of mundane habit-­ shaping elements and genres helps us to rethink entirely rather than in- vert the expressive/mundane binary. I want to reiterate that my aim in foreground- ing commercialized videogame genres and mundane habit-shaping ele- ments is not to suggest that rhetoric and writing scholars should only study or privilege these sorts of videogames. By the same token that I suggest that expressive texts and videogames are neither better nor worse than mundane texts and persuasive technologies. my goal is not to invert this bias by claiming that the latter are superior to the for- mer. Beyond a mere subjective preference.

Some readers may still be wondering how pervasive this trend truly is.” In re- sponse to this ongoing trend. Hill and Marguerite Helmers’s early work to define visual rhetoric en route to his own efforts to articulate pro- cedural rhetoric. 2 J. as well as hyper- text and videogames. I established the origins of the expressive/mundane bias within hypertext through Johnson-Eilola’s Nostalgic Angels at the beginning of Proce- dural Habits. because advertisers do not want us to think or analyze discrete units of text but merely be stimulated to purchase—precisely the lack of dialogi- cal demonstration criticism that Bogost cites against persuasive technol- ogies. ­A nthony Blair similarly argues that the visual is non-coercive only if we are able to construct an equivalent verbal argument—another variation of logocentrism. in another essay Hill maintains that visual rhetoric is not persuasive but inherently coercive. Drawing on this implicit warrant.1 Hill and Helmers employ an ancient warrant criti- cized by Derrida in Dissemination that elevates one medium (speech or writing as logos) as authentic presence over another (images). it is worth noting that this bias can also be seen in our fields’ first engagements with other emerging mediums as well. Pokemon GO was many casual gamers’ first introduction to . I was reminded of this need to trace actual networks when the free-to-play augmented reality game (ARG) for mobile me- dia Pokemon GO was released in July 2016. wherein images are only good if they resem- ble speech and transparent text. In Persuasive Games. entertaining this paradigm shift in videogame rhetoric means undeniably contending with the extent to which our field continues to map on borders between expressive and mundane texts. For Plato. As my invocation of material and nonhuman agency frameworks (es- pecially from Latour’s ANT) testify. and I hope to have demonstrated by now the continuation of this bias in how our field examines videogames. Conclusion to Procedural Habits  255 Yet. ­Bogost cites scholars like Charles A. I hope that Procedural Habits serves an analogous function to Johnson-Eilola’s work on hypertext in reminding rhetoric and composition scholars to use emergent mediums as an invi- tation to expand and interrogate our working assumptions about what rhetoric is and. in turn. what types of texts in the world surrounding an emergent medium are worth working on. To recap. However. As I was finishing my revisions of ­Procedural Habits. speech has no technological relation and can be a form of unmediated self-­presence.4 While geocaching activ- ities and games through GPS capabilities have been around for quite some time. the key to rethinking without in- verting this expressive/mundane bias is to avoid the knee-jerk hostility to any digital medium as inherently “coercive” and rather to examine it with the empiricist’s eye for tracing the actual dispositions that mun- dane habit-shaping elements produce through complex combinations of human and nonhuman agencies. there remains a basic—perhaps even human or ­pragmatic—impulse to treat the emergent through the “known. 3 In visual rhetoric.

clever thieves using players’ in-game GPS beacons to rob them at gunpoint. We can also pick apart its big data surveillance problems as well as other issues. there are ableist norms to critique. who knows what Pokemon . Some estimates put the total number of downloads at 75 million for the first month alone. positive stories about meeting up with random strangers.”6 This (largely ethnocentric) social media account in- tended this post as a criticism of First Lady Michelle Obama’s (in the author’s opinion) lack of success in her efforts to work on children’s health and exercise levels in her eight-year “Let’s Move” initiative. managed to realize a potential kai- rotic method—what Fogg would call a suggestion technology—to start to cultivate some new habits of walking and exploring through the widespread availability of mobile media phones and GPS tracking? Of course. of course. complaints about big data and corporate surveillance in free-to-play games. However. such as the poten- tial of procedural racism in accusations that there are fewer Pokestops for players to train Pokemon in largely African-American neighbor- hoods than in largely white neighborhoods (and. The reason that I find myself thinking about Pokemon GO and La- tour at the close of Procedural Habits is because of a social media post made by a friend at some point toward the end of July. anxieties from male African-American play- ers about having to wander around alone in new and mostly Cauca- sian spaces. is a well-known Japanese videogame initially released for the handheld Nintendo Gameboy platform. I wondered if this critical meme and countless other similar online posts did not have a point? Isn’t it entirely too easy for many of us to be cynical about yet another free-to-play social media game? Is it not possible that Pokemon GO. as new ARGs take its place. too). 5 My Facebook and Twitter feeds were flooded for a few straight weeks with stories about coffee shops around the United States banning Pokemon GO players. of course.256  Conclusion to Procedural Habits using a mobile device’s GPS and camera lens in physical spaces to play a game. On July 9. Amazingly. by hunting for Pokemon to capture. The ARG went viral almost overnight. and train. Yet. a free gamified for-profit app. and countless others public areas of concern. in turn. The videogame eventually gained enough global popularity to spawn an entire media empire with television shows in the United States. the social media account @CommonWhiteGirl posted a meme that had countless different iterations online: “#PokemonGO has done more to combat childhood obesity in 24 hours than Michelle Obama has in the past 8 years. battle. Pokemon GO will likely wane in popularity as its novelty wears off and. Pokemon GO managed to draw in a large number of players who were not even interested in the original videogame or fan culture. millennial bashing by older non-gaming audiences. after reading countless posts in social media about individuals walking three miles through cemeteries in search of rare Pokemon. Pokemon.

marketers. game mechanics. commercial elements) into other disciplinary domains. a 2015 study published in the Journal of Adolescent Culture reports that 97% of American adolescents play videogames. Would Fitbit be more effective if it incorporated some better interactive game mechanics like Pokemon GO’s? What if traditional console-based or PC videogames started to incorporate ARG components as part of their overall narrative game mechanics? For me. notably McAllister’s pioneering conclusions in Game Work and Paul’s efforts in Wordplay. Furthermore. game labs. Conclusion to Procedural Habits  257 GO’s longer lasting contributions might be on particular players’ dispo- sitions or even the collective forms of habituation of players around the world? Perhaps some non-gamers will shift to becoming gamers because of Pokemon GO. procedural habits reminds rhetoric and composition scholars to understand habit production in rhetorical situations like Pokemon GO beyond the specter of Skinner-esque determinism or by imposing some sort of epideictic ideal standard of what a serious or authentic videogame should be. who tend to sit around and stare at computer screens a lot when we play. I want to affirm that my thoughts here genuinely are not written in that spirit. will start to become drawn toward geocaching or other more mobile exercise games as a result of playing Pokemon GO. to start to theorize rhetoric through cultural studies and social-­epistemic forms of rhetoric that have enabled me to build upon these frameworks. it is not just the videogame or the persuasive technology that it is important. we may risk not being able to fully contend with what is arguably becoming the most important rhetorical medium of our time and the near future. while my comments through this book at times may seem critical when discussing previ- ous work in rhetoric and composition studies. My point is simply that until we contend with the extent to which we continue to imagine traditional texts as our province. code. In fact. beta testers. For Latour.7 In closing. and countless other actors who work to create a finished product that an end-user incorporates in some fashion as part of his or her daily habitus. materials. but it is also the entire network of texts. it is only because of the excellent work that others in the field have done. It is my belief. Perhaps traditional gamers (like myself). that the politics of videogames is best understood through rhetor- ical frameworks grounded in individuals’ dispositional natures and by an accurate assessment of the full range of political relations and affects . As a case in point. following Latour and Bennett respec- tively. it is also important to reiterate that the shift in focus that my book proposes does not mean that we abandon traditional texts or forms of writing but rather seek to connect their production to a more accurate picture about how all forms of rhetoric work through habits. and indi- viduals between the ages of eight and eighteen play for an average of roughly thirteen hours each week. while lumping mundane texts (interface design.

It is on this final point where it is possible to gesture toward a more im- portant role for habit (hexis) in rhetoric beyond some of the themes that I have focused on so far. seek to understand how emerging mediums are shaping them differently. ob- served that players with muscular dystrophy. as my comparison to Aristotle’s hexis throughout this book makes clear. a productive analogy might be drawn to Pokemon GO with regard to the ways in which bodies en- gage mobile media controllers. Yet. voice-enabled in-game commands. even as we necessarily acknowledge each new medium will engender the formation of different habits in dif- ferent players. Instead. According to AbleGamer’s Includification guide for game developers. the nonprofit organi- zation AbleGamer. we need to better understand how habits have always been at the center of the dispositional (second) natures of classi- cal rhetoric and. For example. At . a related implication of the central- ity of habit lies in highlighting the need for future scholarly efforts to squarely interrogate and analyze habit’s role in any rhetorical medium. Brooke reminds us that the traditional canons of rhetoric can continue to offer contemporary digital rhetoric scholars some important ways through which we can understand the rhetoric of new media. . . which lobbies game designers like N ­ iantic Labs (the creators of Pokemon GO) to be more inclusive of disabled users.9 The released version of Pokemon GO presupposed an able-bodied player with a full range of manual dexterity and vision capacity. Beyond ethical considerations. in turn. or even a one-button Pokemon-catching option would greatly improve accessibility at minimal cost. Dispositions will form through repetition—for virtue and for vice—­ regardless of the medium involved.”12 Thinking of digital rhetoric in terms of habituation means simultaneously accounting for which us- ers are and are not allowed to flourish within certain media ecologies. adding features such as remote travel. valorizes the split between the mental and the physical”11 and ignore the multiple ways in which “[t]he body is ­rhetorical—it communicates and thinks. Here. by engaging the work of disability rheto- ric scholars like Shannon Walter8 or Jay Timothy Dolmage. we can revisit Bank’s complaint (Chapter 7) regarding racism and technological access through the up- grade paths in the Madden franchise. In the end. or even low vision would find Pokemon GO almost unplayable.258  Conclusion to Procedural Habits that videogames produce with respect to the realization of eudaimonic ends.10 Here. I will revisit again a quote from Dolmage that I mentioned in the “Introduction” to Procedural Habits: If we do not attend to the ways in which norms of ableism maintain dispositional exclusions.13 In Lingua Fracta. my arguments here do not actually require us to do anything new. In these instances. then “we have erected a rhetorical tradition that . changing the game interface to help accommodate disabled users is ac- tually quite simple. cerebral palsy.iii Another productive analogy for my claim here can be found in Brooke’s argument that there is a “mutually transformative” relationship between new media technologies and rhetoric.

it is dispositions that condition the rhetor’s ability to act and speak and. it is worthwhile for rhetoricians to remember that even the desire to critique certain forms of habit production does not mean that we can eliminate or ignore habit’s role in rhetoric. Thus. Habit will always remain Aristotle’s “second nature. does not offer us any simple answers for how to produce or theorize better interven- tions in contemporary rhetorical practices. many of us tend to highlight how rhetoric circulates and flows through networks or in physical spaces.” following Jenny Edbauer’s lead. in turn. complex picture of how rhetoric actually functions in the world. I also believe that Ahmed’s thinking offers yet another nuanced implication for habit. We seek to replace static (Bitzerian) models of the rhetorical situation with dynamic “events.”14 While Ahmed’s thoughts clearly ap- ply to instances such as Pokemon GO and disabled bodies. procedural habits also offers us a means through which to fundamentally rethink what it is we mean by rhetoric and rhetorical agency in the first place. influence how the audience will respond over time to rhetorical inputs. procedural habits requires us to realize that regardless of what we attribute to the effectiveness of power of a given human act of instrumental or rhetorical creativity. space. within scholarship on rhetorical materialism and ecology. Habit (like writing itself) is a pharmakon: a cure (presence) and poison (absence). or mind and body.” but “[w]hen you are not going that way. Acknowledging habit’s centrality to rhetoric. arguably. in many instances. For example. to the . which. One can only think of contem- porary examples such as #altfact and #fakenews in which certain voters’ affect and identification with the current Trump presidential adminis- tration may continue to function as a powerful affective blockage. ­A ffective blockage is not only the space where certain bodies are pre- vented from playing Pokemon GO or Madden (in the case of racialized bodies) but also includes the stopping points where rhetorical circula- tions run into embodied or material recalcitrance that has been produced through multiple repeated habituations. nature and culture. you experience a flow as solidity. habit also signals an em- bodied state productively characterized by affect theorist Sarah Ahmed’s focus on affective “blockage”: “Things might appear fluid if you are go- ing the way things are flowing. ­habits are undeniably the results of the circulation of rhetoric across time. However.” which is situated firmly at the permeable borders where it is impossible to draw clear lines between human and nonhuman. remains largely centered on human actors achieving instru- mental goals within socially or discursively structured digital and net- worked spaces. First and foremost. the latter’s uniqueness from other forms of oral and print- based mediums also push us to rethink how we understand the canons as well. and material instantiations. habit can only offer up a more accurate and. by placing habit in tension with rhetoric. As more and more cultural and political anxieties emerge in the present over government or corporate algorithmic behavior tracking and behavioral nudging. By analogy. Conclusion to Procedural Habits  259 the same time. of course. By extension.

*/*happy = 0. habit confirms that successfully employing and understand- ing rhetoric in the present era means paying at least as much attention to the sorts of networks that support the formation of these dispositions (metanoia) as it does to creating singular persuasive texts (kairos). In any case. rather than continuing to seek refuge in our traditional rhetor- ical comfort zones of language. persuasive videogames. fake- news twitterbots. good temper.”15 Echoing Barnett’s thinking. However. hexis offers us hope: The ethical response to habit production in videogames or other mediums is not the presence or absence of an attempt to shape habits. and justice—to name just a few of Aristotle’s ancient hexeis. or rhetorical textual proof is simply ineffective as a means to change these hearts and minds. and Contemporary Composition Theory. Nonhuman actors like algorithms are undoubtedly play- ing a more explicit role in shaping rhetorical selves as well as composing rhetorical activities. empirical. and social media algorithms that structure how we encounter (or fail to encounter. more pressing to my mind lies the need to revisit and update the question of eudaimonia. The challenge we face today is deciding whether an ethics of things … directs us (back) to something like the good life. we now have need to start offering seminars in big data and behavioral science as a form of rhetorica docens (study) and rhetorica utens (prac- tice). Rather. habit instead requires us to reconfigure what flourishing and thriving mean in the gamified or non-gamified spaces of play that countless mil- lions around the world will only continue to participate in. our contemporary rhetors are BJ Fogg.} citizen_base_mood function from FreeCiv. Fun- damentally. happiness in the present is very much like the /* No one is born happy. Classical Rhetoric. Zenga. Thus. “The good life … is nothing new for ethical theory. or enlightened critique that the present moment requires. much in the same way that hypertext as a medium foregrounded Roland Barthes’s poststructuralist “birth of the reader” thinking. procedural habits points to an analogous relationship to algorithmic behavior-shaping efforts. Cultural Rhetorics. Rather than endlessly re- hearsing the search for that perfect kairotic means of securing the nec- essary rational or cognitive means of shifting that happy = 0 to happy = 1. For better or for worse. Perhaps alongside our traditional doctoral education courses in Public Rhetoric. which has always involved this exposure and openness to our constitution by the relations of the objects in the world around us. . Thus. it is the resultant disposition(s) by which any medium encourages individuals to interact with one another with patience. in the case of filter bubbles) rhetorical content.260  Conclusion to Procedural Habits point where any circulated logical. I would like to entertain the suggestion (following Peter Sloterdjik) that as a field we need to increasingly consider that it is not always better political speeches. As Scot Barnett puts it in his analysis of the role of nonhuman things in rhetoric.

“#PokemonGo has…. Blair. com/2016/7/18/12214664/pokemon-go-players-with-physical-disabilities- want-better. 9 Jay Timothy Dolmage. 2017.. “The Rhetoric of Visual Arguments. 25.” In Defining Visual Rhetorics. ed. Jul 6. Anthony Blair. 2012. accessed May Bogost. and the Ontologies of Things. www. 2007.polygon. com/2016/7/18/12214664/pokemon-go-players-with-physical-disabilities- want-better. Durham. www. Videogame (mobile). edited by Charles A. 14 Sara Ahmed. 2017. “The Psychology of Rhetorical Images. CA: Niniac. 2012). 2016. Cambridge. Bibliography Alexander. July 18. 186–187.” Tech\Crunch. Hill and Marguerite Helmers (Mahwah. Conclusion to Procedural Habits  261 Notes 1 Marguerite Helmers and Charles A. Ian. 7 “Study Examines Video Game Play Among Adolescents. Rhetorical Realism: Rhetoric. New York: Routledge. 2007. 9. Rhetorical Realism: Rhetoric. NJ: ­Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.past eight years. Accessed May 15. 2016).com/commonwhitegiri/status/ 751480393828802560. https://twitter. NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Scot. 25–40. Ethics. NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. accessed May 15. 4 Pokemon GO (San Francisco. https:// techcrunch. Julia. 15 Scot Barnett. Sara. and the Ontologies of Things (New York: Routledge. 2017. www. 2014). 2004. 2004). Charles A. Anthony. 2016. Charles A. Lingua Fracta: Toward a Rhetoric of New Media (New York: Hampton.” ScienceDaily. Rhetorical Touch: Disability. 12 Ibid. On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life (Durham. NC: Duke University Press. Mahwah. 10 Julia Alexander. ed. Ahmed. Jul. 2016). Identification. Hill and Marguerite Helmers (Mahwah. MA: MIT.” in Defining Visual Rhetorics. 8 Shannon Walters. “The Rhetoric of Visual Arguments. 2016. Disability. Jul. 2017. 13 Collin Gifford Brooke. Hill. 3 J. Haptics (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press. “Pokemon Go Players with Disabilities Want Better Accessibility Options. ed. J. On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life. 6 @CommonWhiteGirl. Hill and Marguerite Helmers (Mahwah. 41–62. 5 Darrell Etherington. 2004). 2 Charles A. “Pokemon Go Players with Disabilities Want Better Accessibility 07/070702161141. NC: Duke University Press. 70. 2017. 7. 2013). Hill and Marguerite Helmers. 25. 214. 2016. Charles A. 2009). Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames. July 18. 11 Dolmage. 2004). Barnett. Ethics.” Twitter. NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.” Polygon. “Introduction. Diability Rhetorics (New York: Syracuse University Press. “Pokemon Go Estimated At Over 75M Downloads Worldwide. accessed May 15.sciencedaily. Hill.” in Defining Vi- sual Rhetorics. July 4. 1–24.polygon. 2016.” in Defining Visual Rhetorics. accessed May 15.” Polygon. .htm. 289.

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by videogames 38–41 The Ambiguity of Play (Sutton-Smith) behavioral rhetorics 41 42. 204 Barthes. 258 111–29. 85. Andrew 143 Alexander. producing procedural habits assemblage 53. James 6. 144. 223. 128–9 123–4. through interface design 37 . in first-person shooter videogames 200. 105 behavior change: as form of rhetoric American Academy of Pediatrics 33–4. 45–6. 210 119–24 Atlas Shrugged 106 affect theory 120–1 augmented reality game 255–6 affordances 154.Index AbleGamer 258 Anable. 51. habits anticipatory readiness 101. 87 affect: creativity and 121–2. by space/place 101. 100. producing habits of consumption 120–5. 127 and 33. 123 help to cope with heightened forms AppleHealth 147 of 121. Aristotle 14. 156 allegorithms 148. a priori 50 structuring procedural habits 120–1 Aquinas. 150 Bannon. Michael 124 ambient networked presence of Bazerman. Charles 205 player 239 BEEFTANK 234–5 ambient rhetoric 65 behavioral reinforcement 111. Bryan E. 64–75. nonhuman 85. Thomas 74 affective design 6. 222 Barter 35. in gamified persuasive (AAP) 105 technologies (GPTs) 141. 20. 119. 19. 243 autonomous habits of nonhuman Ahmed. Ash. 145–6. memory in 124–6. 113. Scot 260 alien phenomenology 219. Ambient Rhetoric (Rickert) 79 136. John 1. 222 alienated labor 187 barely games 137 Alienation Effect 243 Barnett. gamified persuasive Automated Targeted Screening (ATS) technologies (GPTs) and 154–8 program 144 agency. 83. Roland 260 Amazon 147 Bartkey. amplification in videogames 101. participatory 238–42 Alberti. 113. 102. 200–1. 139 Banks. 35. 213. 158 Answer for Earth 188 actors in actor-network theory 151–2 book prompt feature 37 Bay. 151–3. in Destiny 114–19. Adam 236 algorithmic regulation 137. Aubrey 5 actor-network theory 16. Sarah 259 actors 201–23 Airport Security 43 avatars. 186–7. answerability 214 138. 169 Alcorn. Anna 6. Sandra Lee 147 Amazon. 117–18. mundane interface design elements 116–18. Marshall 85–6 Baerg. Jonathan 2.

see also strategy 125 power capitalist neoliberalism 102 BioShock 106–7. Levi 87–8. 171. 49 capitalism: blurring lines between Biesecker. 222 cogito 12–13. criticism of Civilization II 203–4 Cow Clicker 181–5 Clark. 20. 255. 231–2. Pierre 5. 208. 137. 47 20.M. Ian 1. 84. 103 Consalvo. in assemblage of play brag clips 238 215–21. 172 response to videogames 120–1. Michel 51 Bergson. Jon 173 Cartesian-Kantian split between active BlueDot Behavior 37–8 minds and passive objects 51 Bodily Arts (Hawhee) 76 Cassell. Karlyn Kohrs 41 Berlant. 114. Andy 9. 215–21. capitalist Big Huggin 243 commodification strategy 122. Mia 48 Call of Duty 3. J. 231–42 classical conditioning 36 Boler. 158. 200–1. Barbara A. choice architectures 145 87. Jr. James J. 105–6. Rebekah Shultz 1. 127. Megan 248 clicker games 168. effect of Psychological State 145 first person shooter videogames 125 Chaput. 34. 157 Burke. 85. 138. 123. 46. Henri 14. 173–4. as part of materialist 159. Andre 185 interface screen 206. Call of Duty 5. 243 Colby. 6. 229. Lauren 101 Candy Crush Saga 5. 171. 106–8 Colby. 175 Bryant. 202–3. 159. 219. Brock. 170. 128 Campbell. Collin Gifford 10. biopolitical capitalism and producing gamification 142–3 gamification 142–8 capitalist memory-altering bio-power 137. Fogg 43–4. Jon 21. Brummett. 210 BlackPath Behavior 38 Carnegie. 8. 35. 140. Kenneth 8. Teena A. 78. 122 Bois. 21. J. 174–5 Berlin. Richard 1 Byrne. 239 computer-specific techne 37 Call. Scott 44 . Sahara 155 Coleman. Breaking Madden 21. 231–47 contributing to procedural habits Brecht. 178–84. 142–3. Joshua 104. 52. Barry 8. 41. 65.264 Index behaviorism 36 Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 118 Bennett. Bertoldt 243 203–23. cognitive habits 70 210. 207 Blair. Justine 108 body: affects shaping body’s casual games 167. 210. Bourdieu. 123. Casual Games (Juul) 180 being structured by spaces and Changing Behaviors: The Rise of the environments 76. Chore Wars 136 200. 258 assemblages 203. 19. Kevin 207. 244–5 128. Catherine 142 body studies 76 Chariti 188 Bogost. 108 Connected Franchise mode 233 Call of Duty 100. Beth 231. as logos 202. 107–8. 168. 205. Wendy 84. 53. Anthony 255 carpentry 221–22. 106 Consigny. 42. differentiated from the Breton. Jane 16. as nonhuman actor Brooke. of 209–15 214. 202. 142 work and play 125–6. procedural habits Brown. 205. Claire 11–12. 222 coercive monetization techniques 5. 142. being rhetoric 205–6. 206–9 B. 245 Blow. 101. 102.. James 48. Jeroen 107–8 code 202–23. criticism of Chun. 248 206. 152 229–30 Bourgenon. 212–14 Callon. 66–7. Blink (Gladwell) 122 242. 6 Burkean rhetoric 100. 126. 203. 110 captology 36 8-Bit Philosophy 107 Carlisle.

Jay Timothy 14. 246–7 education use of game semiotics 139 creativity and affect 121–2 Elbow. 125 Counter-Strike franchise 100 Easen. 168 rhetorical habituation 66–71 double-law of habit 77. 177. 229–30. Index  265 content and habit formation 244–5 Dream World 174 core mechanism of videogames 109 Dreyfus. as products of environments played 146 78. 121 êthos 67 . 258 ethopoeia 67 Donald. Charles 210 gamification 140 Dataclysm (Rudder) 147 enchantment 201–3. 108 being persuasive 85 embodied knowledge 72 Crogan. 101. 222 Davies. 159 heuretic method 184–7 Economics of Attention (Lanham) 119 craftsman 65–6. 7 (GO) 100. 214 disenchantment 213 ethical responsibility 214 Distant Publics (Rice) 236 ethics 186–7 Dolmage. Adrienne 3 Cow Clicker 20. Sharon 46 shooter videogames 125 cultural-activity theory 52 embodiment 8. Gilles 52. Jenny 51. 143. Thomas 67 dualism 49 Coulton. in first affective design in 114–19 person shooter videogames 102–11 Dewey. 178 Edbauer. 127–8. as a echein 69 failure as satire videogame 171. 109. William 147 Enron FirstEnergy 85 de Certeau. Hubert 150 Corts. 103. reception of meaning 120–1 limitations of 148–50. 259 Crane. 201. structuring bodies 76. 103. Ben 232. 125. 50. 101 cyberethos 68 emotional attachment to pet cynical reasoning 85 encouraging habit change 155–6 Empedocles 70 The Daily Show 237 employee productivity through Darwin. 100. 121. 200. 110 of character formation 66. Patrick 126 embodied repetition 82 cross-platform avataring 231 embodied stimulation in first person Crowley. as ongoing form Doom 99. 88. Michel 83 entrepreneurship of the self 143 Deconstructulator (Fry) 222. 207. 3 ethical action resulting from a habit dietary habits 155–8 69–70 differentiation of emotion and ethical program 159 affect 120 Ethical Programs (Brown) 21. Deleuze. Jennifer 1. eating healthy game 155 criticized by Ian Bogost 181–4. as ecology of practice 54. 120. Aaron 108 Counter-Strike: Global Operations Dys4ia 6. 53. Russell 137 enframing 185. 110–11. Merlin 122 ethos 19. created by videogames cultural spaces where games are 49–50. epistemic rhetoric 47–8. 88. 213 Davies. 82. 103. as Dota 2. not always embodied habits 70. Diner Dash 5 202. John 153 ethea 67 deWinter. Peter 13 critical theory 149 embodied captivation 113 critique: inability to capture how embodied contexts of use and rhetorical reality is composed 84–5. used to 211–12 structure writing 52 Delta 136 Epicurus 52 Democritus 52 epideictic rhetoric 237–42 Destiny 6. 229 environment: producing habits 78. 170. 101. 200. Paul 45 Ducan. 65.

266 Index eudaimonia 70. Douglas A. as bio- affective design in 111–29. Mary 245 137–8. 172. Brigid 101 gamer author 2. 47–8 first person shooter videogames: gamification 2. Alexander R. Toby 246 eudaimonic hexis 172.J. 141. 136 108–11. as stimulation in 125. 75. 139 101. 143. 73. traditional texts in 102–11 (GPTs) 136–60. 178 feedback loop activities 36–7 Gamer Theory 146 Felski. 44. 142 154–8. Malcolm 122 games 172–6 Go Fucking Do It 140. gamification Foursquare 136 and 190–2 Fox. 150–1 200. 75. Kristie S. 6. producing habits 19–20. 20. 145 Gaming Lives (Selfe and Hawisher) 1 Fogg Behavior Model 37 Gay. 138. rhetoric of gamified persuasive technologies 105–11. 33 free-to-play social media games 4. 33–42. 260. 64. 9. 75. Fleckenstein. 136–60. 202. 6. 141. Ben 222. 191–2 FPS see first person shooter Evans. 18–19. embodied eudaimonic practice 190–2. knowledge 153. 243. 148. Rita 84. as a Bogost 43–4 rhetorical actor 159 Fogg Behavior Grid 37. positive reinforcement in gamified habit-shaping apps 5. habit and 105. 83. 155–6. Geri 155 Foggian design elements 39–41. Michel 143. 172 Farmville 2. B. 183 170. 167–93 Facebook 168 Frequent flyer rewards program 136 facts not changing people’s beliefs 42 From Barbie to Mortal Kombat 108 Families First 105 Fry. 138. procedural habits 119. Gonzalo 43 expressive/mundane bias on FreeCiv 20. 8. object of bio-power 137. Michael A. 7. 192 FoldIt 158 gold farming 171 Eyman. 117. as a masculinity in 108. 186–90. in game persuasive [giant]Joystick 245 technologies (GPTs) 137–8. James Paul 2. diminishing emphasis habits 156–7. 155–6. persuasion in rhetorical actor 159 107–8. 116. Foggian design elements in Flanagan. 148–54 GameSalad 230 femininity being docile to Games of Thrones: Ascent 170. defining political object 142–8. 53–4. Foucault. 168. 34. in social media Gladwell. 208 Farman. 72. 113–14. Gibson. Ignacio 51 206. 154 144–5. Jason 120 Game Design Conference (GDC) Farmville 170. 148. 144–5. 222–3. 171. 172. 215–21 scholarship on videogames 3. patriarchy 147 178–80 Final Fantasy series 48 gamespace 146–7 first-person shooters 19 gamework 8. FreeCiv 2. 154–8. Gee. 100. Farias. changing 103–5. 119–24. James J. 110–11. code of geocaching games 255–6 videogames 202. 229 fan fiction 237 Far Cry 103 Galloway. 66 videogames Evenus 69 Frasca. 141. definition 140. 154–5. affordances and Fitbit 5. 174 gameful design 191 Featherstone. 68 as potential source of rhetorical Fogg. as on narrative 110–11. 203–4 18. 137 Freekibbles 188 expressive theoretical preferences 8 FreePoverty 188 externalize memory functions 9–10 FreeRice 187–8 EyeWire 190–1 Freerice.0. being criticized by formed by 137. 119. 83 .

 120 mundane basis for 3. 242. 19. in shaped by WoW 73–5. 179 role in rhetorical medium 258–60. 64–5. Charles A. non. Ronald Walter 142 Halo 3. 112–13 Gregersen. as a priori 35. Lindsay 243 71–5 grammar of gamework 48 habitus 5. 125. Lawrence L. Hernandez. Marguerite 255 habit-knowledge 148–58 hermeneutics of suspicion 149–50 habit memory 19. Jan Rune 72. 188. Hey Baby 108 not influencing thinking 13. 211 Hawisher. 68 habit-shaping apps 141–2. 38 shooter videogames 119–24. 46. Claus Leth 215 happiness 222–3. regularities of The House of the Black Goat behavior produces creativity 77–8. first person shooter videogames of charity 187–8. second in rhetoric 13. 128. of care 189. 102. Lee 155 agencies 154. 213. Katherine 127 (Voorhees. Huizinga. 239 Gut Feminism (Wilsons) 78 Hayward. Adam 15 spontaneity 77–8 Hyde. Debra 16. modulating hexis of enchantment 201–3. 84. 64–5. 201. Gordon 173 gymnasidion 16 Hecker. 9 . 9 A Greek-English Lexicon (Liddell and Half-Life 2. shifting points mechanisms in social media games of critical emphasis for videogame 5–6. 152. Byron 82. rhetoric 72 memory and 127. 184. 122. 50. 209 Guns. negative view of 13. procedural A History of Habit (Sparrow and 64–6. Felix 52. part of hidden persuaders 145 digital rhetoric 19. Johan 239 shaped by human and nonhuman Humphreys. Cynthia 72. 100. content on screen 244–5. Laurie 201 Hariman. Daniel 1 Harry Potter Alliance 237 Grossberg. 112–13 Greene. Chris 173 Helmers. David 80. 245 121. 191 hypertext 10. 17–18. being shaped heuretic strategy of invention 20 by videogames 16. hexis of resiliency 172 mechanistic 14–18. mechanistic 11–14. Index  267 Golumbia. 191–2. 231. hexis 14. for theoretical 3. definition 11–12. formation eudaimonic 172. Call. 15. Michael J. produced in first person HIV Roulette 34. functional being ignored habit-shaping design element 33. 71. being changed by heuretics 87. 84. 210. Elizabeth 15. Robert 74 Griffin. 108–11. Richard J. 258. 257 Grand Theft Auto-San Andreas 105–6 Haier. 126 Hawhee. of enchantment 105. Grenades and Grunts Hayles. 241 design element 120. 53. 170. 171. 211 Hawk. 192. 215. 260. 232. 120. Justin 139 production of by habit-shaping Holmevik. 158. 149. formation and (see hexis of enchantment). 128. 76. 210 Grosz. 178. 103 Scott) 67 Halo 2. of Gorgias (Plato) 13. physiology and Hill. produced by interface design Hutchinson) 15 3–4. forming nature and 68–71. 255 78–9. 1 Guattari. Deleuze’s conception of 211–12. traditional versus 99. 44 free-to-play social media games 34. 42. being enable both virtue and vice 83. individual 171 Gries. and Whitlock) 108 Haynes. as unreflective Hutchinson. 140–1. governmentality 143 procedural habits not dependent on Grace. heightened forms of affect 214. 109–11 habit-shaping mechanism 65. Gail E. 144 187–92 habits 1. Patricia 177 neoliberalism and 128 heuretic models for procedural habits HabitRPG 5. 78. 184–7 gamification 156–7. Hodgson.

James L. 101 Kinneavy. of the interface 245–6. 231. 241–2. Douglas 47 Mass Effect series 103 Kim Kardashian: Hollywood 4–5.S. Peyton 239 Manovich. Matthew S. Bea 4 Joyce. 255 Malskey. Frederic 143 Madden. 64 Johnson-Eilola. 127. Alexandria 206 infinite city sprawl (ICS) strategy 204. 38. Knowles. Johnson. 244. Henry 108. Per 217–18 labor alienation 187 matter’s vitality 52–3 Lacey. 66 intellectual virtues 70 loss aversion 5. 177 playing game (MMORPG) 1. 177. 248 Marx. 191. 47–50. 54. 172 Losh. Jesper 167. 257 Lanham. 51. 44. 172. Bran 45. 175 intense spaces 117–18 low process intensity 43 interface design: to change behavior Lumosity 188 37. 241 Makey Makey devices 21. 2. John 232 Jenkins. 35. functions being lifehacking 187 externalized 9–10. . Catherine 12. 50 law of hospitality 214–15 Meier. Kim 127 McAllister. 46. 154 Jagoda. 20. 9. Elizabeth 33. 7. Karl 187 Kameen. Lancaster. Alfie 42 within videogame rhetoric 50–3 Krishna 239 material metaphor 245 Mathison. 241 Massumi. Patrick 142 machinima 238 James. 35. Peter 205 Isocrates 76 Lynch. 178 246 Johnson. Brian 120 Kjeldbjerg. Lev 205 Kac. 155. Kohn. Paul 49. 202–3 in-game aid 4–5. habit 102. 42. Barbara Z. 156 as products of environments 78. Allan Ove 215 materialist thinking 35 knowledge games 159. Sid 203–4 layering design technique 175–6 memory: in affective design 124–6. 233. Mike 217 235–6 Johnson. 42. 119 McGonigal. 176 72–3. Thomas 117 17. Bruno 16. Eduardo 171. Levinas. Marshall 146 138. 6. Immanuel 12. McLuhan. 19 Lunenfeld. 47. Emmanuel 214 captivation of in first-person shooter libidinal investments 85–6 videogames 99–129. 34. Soren 173 Malabou. 242 Jameson. Malaby. Stuart 3 JoyLabz 232 manipulation technology 43 Juul. 193 materiality 8. massively multi-player online role- 39. 191–2 Latour. King Digital Entertainment 5. 237 Madden NFL videogame series 232. 85. 151–3. 257 mechanistic habits 11–14. logocentralism 255 215–16 logos 44. William 14. 189 Marino. Jing. Michael 3 Malthroupe. 88. 49. 45. Jane 140. 2. England 45 87. 8. Paul 149 masculinity in first person shooter Kant. 211 Madden 25. Ken S. Mark 207 kairos 37. 181. 139. 50 videogames 108 Kellner. Richard 34. producing habits 3–4. 232.268 Index identification and epideictic rhetorics The Limits of Critique (Felski) 148 of play 235–43 Lingua Fracta 258 implacement 120–1 LinkedIn 185 incarnation 239 Lochrie. Mark 45 indecorous speech 74 Lockett. 1. 189 Manning. Johndan 2–3.

code as ontological questioning 79–80 202. 67 205. 103 102. recollective Nieborg. 176–7 Murray. Rikke Toft 80 (MMORPG) 2003 North American electrical grid Moberly. 222 Micropolis 207 non-mechanistic habits 14–18. Maurice 78 nonhuman actors: agency of 243. NBA2K16. 111. Noortje 153 becoming habits 5–6 Merleau-Ponty. Lisa 48. use of technologies and 156 66. 100. Brandon 42 Moore. Janet 9 MyBO 159 Parker. 214 modding function in videogames 111. Ontocartography (Bryant) 222 9. 128. Nicotra. 201. affective design as 102. 64–5. in clicker games 171. 231 Ohl. opportune moment 37 producing rhetorical habits 17 O’Reilly. 110. 128 microtransactions 172. 8. 255 Moeller. Richard W. 176 non-moral virtues 170. non-symbolic motion 41 player online role-playing game Nørgård. 10. 127 254. Michelle 256 moral virtues 70 Obama Hope campaign 201 Morozov. 186–7 nonrepresentational theory 122 mindless clicking 20. Ong. 241 181. 143 Paul. 210. 236. 157. 72 participatory avatars 238–42 Nardi. 155. Tim 20. Donald 13 Overwatch 108. 230 nonhuman agency 85. Carolyn R. behavior online user-generated content 111 change in 33. Barack 159 shooter videogames 107–8 Obama. 257 neoliberalism 125–6. rhetoric and 126–7 Nintendogs 155 menstruation tracking 147 nonconscious in-game behavior Meras. Bonnie A. 68. Merod. 8. 119. 178 Miller. 200–1. Annemarie 139. 54. 178–80 non-rhetorical videogames 46 MMORPG see massively multi. Anthony J. David B. metanoia 87–8 as part of rhetoric 201 Michel. 75 Persuasive Games (Bogost) 42–3. 103 Miller. Christopher A. habituated Nicomachean Ethics (Aristotle) 14. Ryan M. Walter J. 145–6 Murray. 67 non-player characters 74. Nostalgic Angels (Johnson-Eilola) 2. Jim 151 having procedural habits 212–15. Bill 172 Nyhan. Jessy 108 mundane design elements 34. Index  269 proletariatization of 101. 13 178. Kevin 2. 236 blackout 85. Christopher 108–9 moral perspective of first person Obama. being rhetorical 3. plot to colonize leisure pedagogy of videogames 229–49 time into work 110 persuasion: in first person shooter Never Alone 6 videogames 107–8. 34. 192 nudge to shape habits 144–6 Mooney. enable social change 181–7. 74 passively received impressions 77 narrative structure of first person patriarchy producing docile shooter videogames 103 femininity 147 NBA2K12. 1. Jodie A. 111. microsuasion 119 122. 238. 46–7. 255 . Evgeney 146 obesity linked to moral failure 157 multimedia creation 238 Objectivist utopia 106 multimodal forms of composition 230 “Of Habit” (Ravaisson) 76 multimodal public rhetoric 230. habit memory Pavlok wristband 144 and 128. 236 NPCs see non-player characters Mol. Jeremy 143–4 Parmenides 13 Nakamura.

in first person 101. 70. 236 videogames 39 procedural rhetoric 1. diminishing impulses to action 36. 159 pre-frontal cortex of brain 175 Q Question 44 prescriptive persuasion 33. rationalism being rejected 48–51 alternative heuretic models for Ratto. Felix 14. 138. differing from videogame rhetoric 36–41 persuasive technologies 71–87. theorizing 33–89. 34. 101. 66–7. 76–80 being non-mechanistic habits 87. 37 positive reinforcement in first person proletarianization 101. ethical responses to 200. Marcel 13 post-cinematic affect 101. Ellen 69 Principle of Surveillance 141 Quicken 119 Prior. 124–5 Pruchnic. 207 politics of affective design 101 progression in videogames Pollak. Matt 248 187–92. Ayn 106. Peterson. 110 procedural habits 9–11. 254. 142 postcritical reading 84. 65. 8. recollective memory 102. 19. 128 . Paul 150 procedural defamiliarization 243 The Rainforest Site 188 procedural ethos 67 Rand. 43. not dependent on a habit- physiology and habit 78–9 shaping mechanism 71–5. 117 Pong 109 progymnasmata 16. 154–8. of social media Plato 13. player killers 74 as unique forms of rhetorical player’s ambient networked embodiment produced through presence 239 repetition 76–80 player-versus-player encounters in proceduralism 11. 138. 18.270 Index persuasive technologies 6. produced physis 68–9 by interface design mechanics planned incongruity 243–5 19. 157–8. 125–6 shooter videogames 113–14. 117 Proust. Paul 52 Quintilian 44 pristeis 65. in first change 155–6 person shooter videogames 119–24. being expressive 80–3. linking mind phusiopoiesis 76 and body 17. 37. Harry 237 purpose-act ratio 107 power see also biopower purpose-agency ratio 108 power in gamification 137. JP 155. 44. 102 shooter videogames 105–6. 34. 67 problem of answerability 214 Rabinow. public figure of exception 86 148–9. re-orient from critique to plasticity 64–5 composition 83–7. 151 public rhetoric pedagogy 229–49 post-techne 209 publics 153 Potter. Ravaisson. 64–6. 33–54. 144 Quandalh. code contributing to formation 144–5. Jeffrey 127. differing from of 202–23. Anne Helen 141 formed through multiple forces 83. of code in assemblage procedural habits 71–87. 255 games 176–81. 119 121. play spaces (hyper-immersive) in Barter 45–6. pet attachment encouraging habit expressiveness of 80–3. 156 113–14. as form of of play 209–15. PewDiePie 238 in gamified persuasive technologies Phaedrus (Plato) 126 (GPTs) 137. weak Pokemon GO 255–8 defense of 41–6 political meanings within product design to heighten reception videogames 236 of affective cues 122–3 Politics (Aristotle) 72 Programmed Visions (Chun) 202. of nonhuman actors Phylo 158 212–15. Persuasive Technology (Fogg) 33.

204 Rhetorica Ad Herenium 126 The Sims 48 rhetorical embodiment 76–80 simulated violence linked to violent rhetorical engagement 79–80 real-life behavior 105 rhetorical habituation 66–87 Skinner. Jody 52. Anita 108 to soap operas 5. connecting to Saturday Morning Breakfast student writing practices 169–70. 82. Jason 42 score reinforcement 113 repetition 128. 211 190–1. code semiotics of virtuality 127 being 205–7. Daniela 155 self-management through mobile Reynolds. Robert E. Ramin 175 108. being expressive Scratch language 232 80–3. Richard J. creating knowledge Sennett. epistemic September 12. Steven 101. Jr. persuasive Sheard. 201. 230. 35. Karen 119. 86. 13. 50 social dramas of narrative 100 Rudder. procedural habits of Schiappa. memory and 126–7. 178 Rutten. of social media games second order hermeneutics 151 168–9 Selfe. habit and Seung.F. Burkean 106–7. Ruggillist. Cynthia 237 technologies as a form of 36–41. Christian 147 social-epistemic rhetoric 34. Mark 207 socially embeddable 177. 6–8. Judd Ethan 1 83–4. Maneesh 144 videogames 105–11. 65. 47 ecology of play 65. 46–53. epideictic 237–42. Thomas 46. 124 nonhuman actors of 201. 193 Reifler. ambient 65. compared Sarkeesian. procedural 1. 108. 139. Jim 230 games 5 Rivers. 172. Shokrizade. as Shelley. 178 49. 154. 46–8. Jenny 13. materiality sexism of videogames 108 of 50–3. Jay 243–4 Rhetoric (Aristotle) 66 SimCity 88. 236 Sloterdijk. Katie 109 play social media games: being Sample. popularity Schell. Jack 50 behavioral 41. Foggian design scene-act ratio 108 elements in 172–6. role in rhetorical embodiment second nature and hexis 68–71 76–80. 43 47–8. 83–4. repetition of 168–9 . Nedra 52 media 144 rhetoric 1–3. Peter 85. of first person shooter Sethi. Miguel 11. Jeff 153 Sleep Cycle app 141–2 Rice. Selzer. 79–80. 139. 159. Paul 149. 149 resiliency 192 Selfe. 247–8 social-epistemic 34. 222 social as an emerging process 151 Ronell. 36 rhetorical ontology 207–9 Skyrim V: Elder Scrolls 104–5. 203. 79 smart cup 144 Ricoeur. Nathaniel 49. 236 34–5. as active refinement of Scott. 242. 34. 8. Avital 214 social change through mundane Rosenbaum. David M. 190 Silver.. 35. weak and strong defenses of Sicart. Jesse 174 of 167–8. Richard 65. Eric 243 design elements 181–7 Royer. 43. 50. Reid. 66–7. Daniel J. Kris 106 social impact games 190 social media games see also free-to- Salen. Edward 47 176–81. 230 79. 209 soap operas compared to social media Ridolfo. 17–18. Sebastien 190 9–11. 149 Retelny. Bruce 204 pre-symbolic relation to the world Sheridan. 46–8. 184 Rickert. Shipka. Alex 76. Index  271 Recommend feature of Amazon 147 Schrier. Shaviro. B. Cereal 168 criticism of 172–3. Cynthia 1. 116 Rice.

139. Bas 154 155. 110 Steinkuehler. 247 Walker Assault match 39–40 Track-Everything Revolution 144 Walter.L. videogames 102–11. Cass R. 245 Voorhees. Jon 237 Vallor. T. 114 sensory stimulations in 111–14. 14. Tamagotchi 155 116. 155 vitalism 149 to hoti 72 vitality of matter 52–3 Tomb Raider 14. 105 victim narratives 86 symbolic action 41 videogame carpentry 221–2. Bernard 101. 256 Vessyl smart cup 144 Sunstein. behavior 105. 178 Thrift. Gerald A. Martin 106 Stewart. 104. 144–5 vibrant matter 201 SuperBetter 191–2 Vibrant Matter (Bennett) 123. 153 Toward a Composition Made Whole Wagner. 125 vapor theory 205–6 Still Life With Rhetoric (Gries) 201 Venture Guild 72–5 suggestion technology 37. 39–40. habit-shaping 209. 245 Tactical Iraqi 66 videogames: amplification in 113. creating Taylor. 126 Transformers series 124–5 Soda Saga 174 Trash Tycoon 41 software studies 205–7 Sommers. Shannon 170. Nancy 11 Ulmer. 203 embodied affects 49–50. 144–5 life behavior 105 theoretical hypertexts 3 virtual into reality 211 thing power 123 virtual-pet care games 155 thinking not being influenced by virtue ethics 186–7 habit 13 virtues 70. 34. 121–3. 246 space/place theory 121 Unold. Constance 241 Valcke. 102 unpredictable outcomes 40 Sparrow. 177 visual rhetoric 255 Time to Eat (TTE) 139. virtual linked to violent real- Thaler. 231–2. 178 Stiegler. as persuasive Telecycle 36 technologies 38–41. Emily 155 (Shipka) 230. cultivating violent real-life techne 82. Ronald 106 TreeLoot. code of 202–23. 137. 48. Shannon 258 . 87. 117. Verplanken. pedagogy technotext 245 of 229–49. possessing Teleportation in an Unknown State psychophysiological force 49. TaskRabbit 136 core mechanism of 109. Brian 42–3. Nigel 101. 189–90 Soetaert. instrumental 140 elements of 5–6. texts: in first person shooter sexism of 108. 213 Sutton-Smith. 184–5. shaping habits 16. non-moral 170. Tom 15 unthinking mechanism 77 spending currency locally 45 Upper One Games 6 Spinoza 52 users’ ecologies of practice 159 Star Wars: Battlefront 34. Peter 215 spaces of play 101. 153. 116. 33. 108 topoi 139. 113. 48. 171. 203. 242. 101–2.272 Index Socrates 44. Tetris 9. Stephanie 3 textured literacy 238 violence. Richard 20. 43. 229. 189 progression in 113–14. terrorist subject identification 144 reproducing larger ideologies 108. 117–18. creation teaching writing 229–49 230. 20. 128 Vishnu 239 time management game 4–5. 239 space of virtual 211 Undertale 232. of interface stop functioning 242–7 design as carpentry 230 Vie. Gregory 20. 171.

George 67 Wood. R. Katie 104. 87. 173–4 . weak defense of rhetoric 190. James P. Zimmerman. Kathleen Blake 238 Wohl. 14. 108 writing teachers incorporating Wii 167 videogames in classrooms 229–30 Wilsons. Noah 205 Wright. 206 literacy of videogames 139. 78 The Witcher 3. Wendy 154 Young. 33 The World of Warcraft 1 Zdenek. in social What Videogames Have to Teach media gaming spaces 1–2. Eric 109 shaping players’ hexis 73–5 Zombies. Richard 82 wordplay 8. 70 Zynga 172. Gabe 136–7. 178 YouTube 238 Wordplay (Paul) 46–7 World Food Programme 187 Zappen. Run! 137 Wright. Sean 181 World Without Oil see WoW Zichermann. Will 204 Wark. 173. M. 146. Index  273 Wardrip-Fruin. Benjamin 45 Yoos. Barbara 33 environment 52. healer in 80–1. teaching Us About Learning and Literacy using videogames 229–49 (Gee) 100 writing classroom and social media White. McKenzie 143. by game players 2. Eric Charles 241 games 169–70 Whitlock. 148 Yancey. 140 WoW 72–5. Elizabeth A. 148 writing: being structured by the Warnick.