Rhetoric and Gaming 8.1: Gender, Race, and Sexuality Video Presentations

Today’s plan:

  • A few final comments about project one
  • Presentations
  • Homework

A Few Final Comments About Project One

First, a comment about Tolstoy and what we mean about how art creates community, and another thought on the Walking Dead:

I think Tolstoy is doing something different here. He is thinking about the set of values we hold (outside of art), and the need to renew those values. Religious people renew their values by going to church, where they listen to Gospel (for instance).

But Tolstoy is wondering where else we can renew those values. Although he isn’t atheist, he is interested in how secular culture can communicate a common sense of values that bind a culture or society together. Walking Dead is a complicated piece of art from this perspective–for it keeps expecting us to “do the right thing,” and often penalizes us for doing it! It isn’t an optimistic game, but perhaps we can understand it as a reflection of our contemporary frustration with the political system, one that often feels as if it doesn’t give us a choice. At least, that’s one way I might try to make sense of why a game designed to frustrate us is so popular.

I think that the next time I teach the class I need to find an example of this kind of art. A trivial example might be Independence Day. A more compelling example might be Star Wars: A New Hope.




In preparation for project 3, we are going to do some preliminary reading on board game design. We’ll talk about these principles on Thursday and play a few “simple” but representative games.

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