Using Procedural Ethics as a Holistic Game Analysis Approach

Man's hands on keyboard and tablet pad.

The post I chose to focus on was an analysis covering and expanding the role of procedural ethics by Alex Layne. In this article, Layne argues that procedural ethics takes a more user-centered and wholesome approach of game analysis by consider the before, during, and after of a digital game being introduced to the world. They link procedural ethics with Ian Bogost's work on procedural rhetoric which had gained quite a bit of notoriety at the time of publication. Layne pushes back on some of the assumptions Bogost laid out in procedural rhetoric to be more inclusive of multiple aspects that pertain to each individual game that is released.

Audience Analysis

Readers of Layne's article would include game studies' researchers and academics, game industry professionals, communication and media studies scholars, game programmers and computer science professionals, professional gamers, and possibly a general audience that is interested in digital games. The needs and wants of this plethora of users in an article such as this one would typically be focused on understanding what procedurality was and to have an introduction to a few of the different theorists that have written on procedurality. Game designers and industry professionals in particular may be interested in incorporating stronger procedural ethics into their games.

The Use of Canva and Multimodality

I chose to use Canva to highlight some of the major differences between procedural ethics (the focus of the article) and it's major theoretical competitor, procedural rhetoric.

An infographic outlining the differences of procedural ethics and procedural rhetoric.

This increases a user being able to gain key information about the article without having to read the whole thing and aids in the definitions of both concepts easily. This also adds to the articles accessibility by allowing for different learning styles and abilities to be able to consume information from the article as stated in Dr. Lucas' article on multimodality.

In addition, I also created a short video essay exploring the differences and practical applications of procedural ethics and procedural rhetoric:

A video essay discussing procedural ethics and procedural rhetoric.

Speaking of accessibility, clarity, and comprehension, I would also suggest adding in some links to extra sources that would provide some background information on procedural rhetoric as well as extra links to the impact of considering more than just the digital game as an impactful form of cultural capital. Some suggestions I have for those links include:

  1. "What is Procedural Rhetoric" by Dr. Dan Lawrence
  2. "Keynote- Ethics of Video Games with Celia Hodent" by Games for Change
  3. "The Gaming Industry | Start Here" by Al Jazeera English

These videos add an interactive element to some of the topics being discussed within the article, including procedural ethics use of a holistic game analysis to understanding the impact of a game.

There is much more that could be done here to increase the diversity and inclusivity of the content for this article. But these are solid starting points.

Ashley Jones

Ashley Jones

I am an Assistant Professor in Communication and Emerging Media at Georgia Southwestern State University. My research expertise focuses on digital games.
Americus, GA