Animal Crossing and Consumer Capitalism
- Animal Crossing creates a debt loop, linking mortgage payments to the urge to buy and expand homes.
- Tom Nook symbolizes the corporate bourgeoisie, simplifying wealth redistribution concepts.
- The game contrasts player’s consumer impulses with the disinterest of animal villagers, hinting at alternative lifestyles.
- This inactivity of animals subtly critiques the player’s consumer behavior.
- Players, especially younger ones, can become more aware of consumer capitalism through the game’s simplified model.
Culture and Community
- Players develop opinions, strategies, and values, creating a culture around the game.
- This culture focuses more on gameplay rather than the social practices depicted.
- The game offers a meta-critique, prompting players to reflect on their participation in consumerism.
Play and Possibility Space
- Play is often dismissed as a children’s activity and not a legitimate learning avenue.
- Play is redefined as exploring the “possibility space” created by constraints, similar to other creative activities.
- Through play, we encounter and uncover meaning in games.
Procedurality and Procedural Rhetoric
- Procedurality structures behavior and creates possibility spaces for exploration.
- Video games, being procedural, have a strong potential for rhetoric, making claims about the real world.
- Procedural rhetoric uses game rules to convey persuasive ideas.
Utilizing Procedural Rhetoric
- Interrogating Ideology: Games can expose hidden ideologies, intentionally or unintentionally.
- Making and Unpacking Arguments: Games can support political or social arguments through their mechanics.
- Learning from Procedural Rhetoric: Games promote literacy in understanding real-world systems.
Implementing Procedural Rhetoric in Game Design
- Intentional use of procedural rhetoric can enhance critical thinking about play and leisure.
- Game creators should incorporate sophisticated procedural rhetoric to challenge and educate players.
Application to my game
I really liked how it explored Animal Crossing’s ability to teach players about consumer capitalism through reducing the phenomenom down to core concepts and then rebuilding it up but with a more fun, kid-friendly approach. It made me realize that I may have been going too far with hitting the nail on the head about my underlying concept for my IF, which if anything made the game feel unapproachable. I will also be making a more conscious effort to ensure that not only the game and built in system, but also the actions that the players make – and thereby the thinking required before and after – also reinforce the learning lessons / evoke the type of care I’m looking for.