This paper showcases how the Contract Agency Model can be used to uncover literacy practices in videogame’s own terms as a complement to existing, more ‘indirect’ games literacies, using as an example the videogame Total War: Shogun 2. The paper first situates the Contract Agency Model within approaches to videogames and within approaches to media literacy. The paper then identifies three interesting literacy practices in the videogame, which also exemplify the eight levels of abstraction of the Contract Agency Model. The paper concludes by discussing the model’s implications to media literacy and videogames, namely that videogames effect a second-order mutual signalling with their players – agency as a conversation of commitment to meaning – that is humanizing of those players, and that the model can uncover this as an implicit contract of bio-costs, as a ‘direct’ literacy of videogames, i.e. a literacy in videogames’ own terms.
Game as communication, Game Semiotics, media Literacy, Games Literacy, Agency in Games, Videogames
IJFMA 2020 (by-nc-nd)
Film and Media Art Department/ Lusófona University