What is the Rhetoric of Gaming?
The Rhetoric of Gaming is a class offered at Stanford University that fulfills the first year requirement in Writing and Rhetoric (PWR 1). Students in the class refine their skills in rhetorical analysis, writing and research by working with texts associated with gaming culture.
What are the assignments?
Like all PWR 1 classes, the Rhetoric of Gaming features three writing assignments, each one of which involves a drafting/revision stage and a conference with the instructor:
- A rhetorical analysis of a text related to gaming culture (usually a gaming trailer or review)
- An essay that reviews and analyzes the existing popular and scholarly conversation on a topic related to gaming culture
- A full-length research-based argument on that same gaming topic, using both primary and secondary sources
What sorts of readings do students do in the class?
We examine all sorts of texts related to gaming culture. In the early part of the quarter, we analyze selections on avatar creation and identity, procedural rhetoric, advertising and gaming, social gaming, game design and theories of “fun,” educational gaming, augmented reality games, and how games can change the world.
By the second half of the quarter, our assigned class readings taper off so that students can focus on reading materials related to their individual research projects.
Our formal reading assignments are complemented by working with and analyzing primary texts — namely, games themselves — both inside of and outside of class time.
What is a typical Rhetoric of Gaming class session like?
One of the fundamental premises of the Rhetoric of Gaming is that serious work can be accomplished through play and more open-based formats. For this reason, our class sessions tend to be very active, with an emphasis on discussion, small group work (including both collaboration and peer response sessions), in-class activities, and sometimes even gaming (as related to the topic of the day). Our class meetings are an hour and fifty minutes long, but there are always multiple items on the agenda for the day designed to help students think rigorously about issues related to writing, rhetoric, analysis and research — and to apply much of what they are learning on the spot.
Our class, as you might expect, takes place in a tech-enhanced classroom so that we have full access to writing and research resources — as well as games — during our class sessions.
What is this website?
This website hosts the materials for the Rhetoric of Gaming class. It was originally created in Fall 2010 for that incoming class of PWR 1 Rhetgaming students and has over time evolved into a repository and archive for the class.
- You’ll find the weekly schedule under the “schedule” menu, adapted for each new quarter.
- You’ll find the assignment sheets under the “assignments” menu, also linked from the top sidebar.
- Under the “blogging” tab, you’ll find not only posts that I’ve written, but also posts written by over a hundred previous Rhetgaming students, chronicling their own gaming experiences as well as their adventures in writing for the class.
When is the next time the Rhetoric of Gaming is offered?
During the 2017-18 school year, one section of Rhetoric of Gaming will be offered in fall quarter, Mondays & Wednesdays from 9:30-11:20am. Yes, it’s early in the morning, but it’s worth it.
Any more questions?
If you have any further questions about the class, feel free to email me (Christine Alfano) directly at alfano[at]stanford.edu.