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Abstract

In their article "Video Games as Equipment for Living" Ronald Soetaert, Jeroen Bourgonjon, and Kris Rutten postulate that with the emergence of new media there is need of a re-evaluation of all modes of communication and the ways in which literacy is conceptualized. Drawing on the concept of multi-literacy they suggest a rhetorical/ anthropological meta-perspective to describe human beings as symbol using animals and focus on particular symbol systems: narrative, drama, and video games. Specifically, they focus on the perspective of drama as a tool to analyze cultural artifacts in general and video games — as a new art form — in particular. They implement Kenneth Burke's notion of the pentad to illustrate their perspective in two case studies, the video games Civilization <http://www.firaxis.com/> and Heavy Rain <http://heavyrainps3.com/>. Soetaert, Bourgonjon, and Rutten illustrate how video games can be described as equipment for living because video game playing has become part of the many ways people create worlds and construct meaning and sense. Thus, they explore how new forms of media and art can be examined from the perspective of traditional disciplines such as rhetoric and anthropology and how rhetoric can transform itself in a digital world.

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