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The Game of Reading and Writing: How Video Games Reframe Our Understanding of Literacy

Computers and Composition Volume 25, Number 3 ISSN 8755-4615 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


This essay focuses on how video games both highlight our traditional assumptions about reading and writing and suggest alternative paradigms that combine the new and the traditional:•Play. Video games reveal how pleasure and desire are inherent to the reading and writing process. This dimension of gaming helps explain why video games can produce resistance in terms of approaches to writing instruction grounded in maintaining the cultural distinction between play and work.•Authority. The interactivity of video games complicates questions of who authors and authorizes meaning in a discourse community. Video game players are simultaneously readers and writers whose gaming decisions are inscribed within a certain horizon of possibilities but not predictability. The video game is an inherently dialogic discursive space that problematizes the institutionalized distinction between “reading” and “writing”•Return to the visual. The case of video games not only helps restore the understanding of writing as a visual form of communication but also challenges the apparent static quality of the printed text, emphasizing the temporal quality of all communication. In so doing, the study of video games promises to fundamentally rewrite the conceptual binary of process and product in composition pedagogy.


Alberti, J. The Game of Reading and Writing: How Video Games Reframe Our Understanding of Literacy. Computers and Composition, 25(3), 258-269. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved July 8, 2020 from .

This record was imported from Computers and Composition on January 31, 2019. Computers and Composition is a publication of Elsevier.

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