Expressive Processing (Hardcover)

Digital Fictions, Computer Games, and Software Studies

By Noah Wardrip-Fruin

MIT Press (MA), 9780262013437, 482pp.

Publication Date: September 1, 2009

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (2/17/2012)

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What matters in understanding digital media? Is looking at the external appearance and audience experience of software enough -- or should we look further? In Expressive Processing, Noah Wardrip-Fruin argues that understanding what goes on beneath the surface, the computational processes that make digital media function, is essential.

Wardrip-Fruin looks at "expressive processing" by examining specific works of digital media ranging from the simulated therapist Eliza to the complex city-planning game SimCity. Digital media, he contends, offer particularly intelligible examples of things we need to understand about software in general; if we understand, for instance, the capabilities and histories of artificial intelligence techniques in the context of a computer game, we can use that understanding to judge the use of similar techniques in such higher-stakes social contexts as surveillance.

About the Author

Noah Wardrip-Fruin is Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is the coeditor of four collections published by the MIT Press: with Nick Montfort, "The New Media Reader "(2003); with Pat Harrigan, "First Person: New Media as Story, Performance, and Game" (2004), "Second Person: Role-Playing and Story in Games and Playable Media ("2007), and "Third Person: Authoring and Exploring Vast Narratives" (2009).