Dr. Elizabeth Caravella publishes chapter "Procedural Ethics and a Night in the Woods" in new collection

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Dr. Elizabeth Caravella, GI member and Assistant Professor of Visual Studies at York University, authored a chapter in the new edited collection “The Ethics of Playing, Researching, and Teaching Games in the Writing Classroom”. Caravella’s chapter, entitled “Procedural Ethics and a Night in the Woods” examines the procedural rhetoric of the single-player adventure game Night in the Woods (2017). Specifically, she explores how the game mechanics influence player dispositions through the ethical arguments embedded within the game, reinforced by habitual action (hexis).

“Unlike gamification, gameful design focuses on tapping into players’ intrinsic, rather than extrinsic, motivations for playing a game,” says Caravella. “In part because of this, the scaffolded tasks offered in video games that are gamefully designed do not merely build players’ habits within the game itself, but also suggest the potential for video games to influence players’ disposition, or moral character, outside of the game”.

Dr. Caravella specializes in digital rhetorics, multimodal composition pedagogy, and video games. In this chapter, she extends theory about procedural rhetoric to explore how the design of habitual actions might proceduralize an ethical argument: “Video games offer a space where, through hexis, players can develop new understandings and practices both in the games themselves, and the habits that they cultivate outside the game, leading to a change in disposition”.

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