Over the past several decades, the concept of critical literacy has been applied to an increasing range of multimodal texts mediated by digital technologies. Expressive forms such as fan-fiction, digital storytelling, and gaming have presented unique opportunities forunderstanding critical literacy practices. Within the more specific field of game studies, a growing body of scholarship demonstrates how issues of ideology, politics, and power are woven into and expressed through the medium of games–whether digital or analog. This paper builds on this tradition by offering a critical analysis of a semiotic resource that digital and analog games share–the designed processes that shape experiences of meaning-making through acts of play. Examining data from a study of teens’ participation in a library-based board game-making workshop, this paper highlights the ways participants engaged in critical literacy practices when asked to address a social issue through game design. The paper draws on techniques of discourse analysis to demonstrate how participants engaged with ideological dimensions of procedural literacy through design-centered discourse. Findings suggest that viewing game-making through the lens of procedurality can be a generative way to explore critical literacy practices in relation to contemporary social issues.
- critical literacy
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