After decades in which American popular culture dominated global media and markets, Japanese popular culture—primarily manga and anime, but also toys, card and video games, and fashion—has exploded into a worldwide phenomenon. From Pokémon and the Power Rangers to Paranoia Agent and Princess Mononoke, Japanese popular culture is consumed by an eager and exponentially increasing audience of youths, teenagers, and adults.
From EverQuest to World of Warcraft, online games have evolved from the exclusive domain of computer geeks into an extraordinarily lucrative staple of the entertainment industry. People of all ages and from all walks of life now spend thousands of hours—and dollars—partaking in this popular new brand of escapism. But the line between fantasy and reality is starting to blur. Players have created virtual societies with governments and economies of their own whose currencies now trade against the dollar on eBay at rates higher than the yen. And the players who inhabit these synthetic worlds are starting to spend more time online than at their day jobs.
Videogames are both an expressive medium and a persuasive medium; they represent how real and imagined systems work, and they invite players to interact with those systems and form judgments about them. In this innovative analysis, Ian Bogost examines the way videogames mount arguments and influence players. Drawing on the 2,500-year history of rhetoric, the study of persuasive expression, Bogost analyzes rhetoric's unique function in software in general and videogames in particular. The field of media studies already analyzes visual rhetoric, the art of using imagery and visual representation persuasively. Bogost argues that videogames, thanks to their basic representational mode of procedurality (rule-based representations and interactions), open a new domain for persuasion; they realize a new form of rhetoric.
The User Manualopens the SwanQuake project up to discursive reflection and expansion through its selection of articles and essays. In the first section, the User Manual takes you through some of the processes of making SwanQuake including sound composition, choreography and computer animation work. Also in section one is a modicum of do-it-yourself instructions and two views on igloo's work in relation to the wider field of digital arts practice and culture.
In the second section, the User Manual broadens the scope of the discussion to include the ontology of game art, analysis of perspective in 3-D spaces, 'uncanny' realism and collisions between game artistry and commerce.