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Procedural Rhetoric

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Let's start inside the head. There are some games, that instead of teaching facts, try to teach players new ways
Depict1

Depict1

to think. This, for now, is the other thing people tend to mean by "art-game" (besides "games that are pretty). Depict1, for instance, sets the player against a narrator who they cannot trust. In playing, the player must become a little more creative and savvy. Some excellent political games, like September 12th have used this potential to make people rethink what we mean by "terrorism" and "defense." It is a good start.

But thinking-skills are not the only ones we can gain while gaming. Excercise games, whether effective or not, get bodies moving and teach skills that stick around when the game is off. Whether dancing games can teach people to dance remains an open question, however. For now the Cooking Mama games are mostly fact-based games (recipes), because their chopping motions are as unlike chopping as Wii tennis is unlike tennis, but this may change with time. But the team-building and facilitation skills people gain in MMOs could be carried outside of the game, and we do not yet know how multiplayer mobile gaming can teach people to configure themselves in space, but this may be exactly what the hundreds in Liberty Plaza with smartphones need.

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