Meritocratic game design is a subtle, crucial component of many contemporary games. Predicated on idealizing balance and an equal playing field, meritocratic features often recede into the background of discussions about games, yet they structure the kinds of games that are produced and shape the culture surrounding gaming. Pulling from elements of communication studies and sociological analyses of meritocracy enables a thorough critique of concepts like balance and meritocracy in video games. Better understanding these preconceptions and their role in the context of gaming enables analysis of how these elements perpetuate certain elements of game culture and our obligation to help create a more positive game culture.
Christopher A. Paul is an Associate Professor and chair of the Department of Communication at Seattle University. His work applies rhetorical analysis to video games and can be seen in his book Wordplay and the Discourse of Video Games: Analyzing Words, Design, and Play (Routledge, 2012) and in his articles published in journals such as Games and Culture, Game Studies, the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, First Monday, and the International Journal of Role-Playing.
Where: The mLab! FB 501, 1250 Guy Street
When: October 15th 2-3pm