In Bogost’s article, “The Rhetoric of Video Games,” there are many things that make a lot of sense. One thing that stood out to me in the article was that play is usually separated from learning. I know that when I was a kid I loved play because I got to interact with other human beings! This is the most natural and organic way of learning and I think Bogost does a good job of highlighting the fact that teachers need to start understanding that. Another idea that I though was interesting and applicable was the idea of ‘procedural rhetoric.’ In this theory Bogost explains that in its essence, procedural rhetoric is defined by two things: persuasion and expression. The idea of persuasion that he discusses is not forcing behavior upon people (behavior modification), but rather shedding light on new information so that root desires are changed, therefore changing behavior. In this article Bogost incorporates the idea of video games and that rather being distracting and destructive, that they actually make claims about the world in which we live. I would like to tell you about my experience with video games.

“UPLIFTED is a game about being happy. Guide Happ (the main character) through each level, avoiding obstacles. You’ll be asked questions which are designed to get you connected to the good stuff in your life.” This is how the ‘About’ section describes the game I explored: UPLIFTED. The story is that evil has invaded a good planet and Happ is on a journey to take back their perfect world. At the end of every two or three levels the game will ask you questions to try and remind you of good things about your life. Although this game was confusing in terms of usability, it was fun to answer questions that point to the good.

Screenshot from gameplay

Video games are a very real part of our society. Not only are they real, but they dominate a large part of the economy and people will continue to play them for the forseeable future. Uplifted has seized this opportunity and made their goals clear. This is a great example of procedural rhetoric because the creators of UPLIFTED changed behavior by taking an existing desire and redirecting it to point them to the good in their life. They are also very clear in explaining that the objective of the game is to make you happy, not because of the game itself, but because it will remind you of the good around you.