Procedural Rhetoric and September 12th

Procedural rhetoric is a combination of two completely different processes. Procedural development and rhetoric. Mixing both of these together in a video game gives the player a unique experience each time he/she enters the game. Each choice made weighs in on different variables that run the whole equation in the backbone of the game. In the game September 12th the use of procedural rhetoric as the main driver for the game.

Procedural programming has been used in almost every game. It is the main driver in monster spawns as well as the layout of procedural maps. The definition of procedural gaming is a random algorithm that is guided by a structure. In monster spawns, the constructor is time between spawns and the amount, type and location of these monsters. Another angle would be procedural map layouts where all the tiles have standardised corners. The algorithm runs the events according to the parameters that are given to it. The events that use procedural programming are not scripted and it is almost impossible to get identical outcomes.

Rhetoric is not directly related to programming. Its definition relates to the art of public speaking for legal or civic speech. It is mainly used to convince and move the way of public opinion. Concerning games, this method is used to characterise the variations of input from the user into quantifiable data. This data is then used to feed the algorithm that feeds and guides the procedural coding. The use of rhetoric of this manner allows the game to interpret the user and to adapt the conditions of the game differently with how the user interacts in the game.

The combination is defined by: “Procedural rhetoric, then, is a practice of using processes persuasively. More specifically, procedural rhetoric is the practice of persuading through processes in general and computational processes in particular” (Persuasive Games, The MIT Press). There are two ways to see rhetoric in this game. The view projected by the game and its subject and the view the user projects into the game.

For the view projected, September 12th illustrates the use of violence and missiles on terrorist forces and how the people of the affected villages will react when facing oppression. Each action reflects a change in how the village lives its life and acts as a message towards those who use such methods in the real world.

In the game September 12th procedural rhetoric is the main driver.  The game is about a village with certain terrorists. The user uses a sight in order to shoot at and eliminate a terrorist. However the “gun” shoots missiles and causes collateral damage which affects civilians. The procedural aspect of the game is the population of the village. The initial amount of terrorists to villagers is the starting point. The rhetorical aspect is the launch of the missiles onto the population of the village. More missiles that get launched, the more there are casualties which results in more terrorists. Do the opposite and less terrorists will appear.

Procedural rhetoric is essential to games as it brings a more natural feel to the game as it reacts with how the user interacts with it. The algorithm of the game and its environment will adapt depending on the choices and actions of the user creating a new experience each time the game is played.


Bogost, Ian. “Persuasive Games, The Expression Power of Videogames”. The MIT Press.


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