“Gaming as Writing, Or, World of Warcraft as World of Wordcraft”

My article, “Gaming as Writing, Or, World of Warcraft as World of Wordcraft” has been published in the Fall 2008 Computers & Composition Online special issue on “Reading Games: Composition, Literacy, and Video Gaming.”

Abstract

In Gaming (2006), Alexander Galloway argues that “video games are actions” (p. 2), that video games “come into being when the machine is powered up and the software is executed; they exist when enacted” (p. 2). Might then this provide an opportunity to formulate a homology between gaming and writing? Might writing, in a sense, function as a kind of algorithm? The mind is powered up, critical thinking and language routines executed; writing only exists when enacted, when pen is put to paper, idea turned into word. For Galloway, gaming, playing, and acting invoke the language of writing: process, “grammars of action” (p. 4), diegetic and nondiegetic, and culture as acted document (p. 14). Moreover, gaming (like our students’ writing) does have stakes: “video games render social realities into playable form” (p. 17). Therefore, this webtext is a meditation, an exploration, and a invitation to understand the contours and ways gaming is like writing and depends on usable and teachable logics: narrative, close reading, critical analysis, and ultimately, play. Using the globally popular World of Warcraft, a massive multiplayer online role-playing game, this paper will render how gaming and writing are intellectual, analytical, and critical actions.

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