Memoria: A Rhetorical Analysis Of Sticking To And Spreading From JRPG’s And Their Fandoms

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2022-05-02

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Abstract

In this project, I conduct rhetorical analyses of three franchises of Japanese Role-Playing Games (JRPG’s): Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy VII, and Code Vein. I explore their relationships with players surrounding memory: how is it conveyed within and through the game, how do players receive and internalize it, how is it then dispensed through the fandom, and what do these movements say about video games as rhetorical texts. I ground my analysis in understandings of stickiness, spreadability, and accessibility, utilizing these theoretical underpinnings to explore the movement of sensation between video games and players, as well as players between each other and within themselves. In particular, I define these three paradigms using Kingdom Hearts as a fulcrum: connection and intimacy are explicit themes within the narrative, and fans latch to this intimacy and build off of it towards accessibility and spread of the text itself. The games act as texts and opportunities for future rhetorical engagement, and I carry this forward into Final Fantasy VII by taking an intimate look at how trauma and healing are handled via both the games and the fandom, especially around death and “remaking” narratives. The power of choice and narrative agency that I note in FFVII takes full shape in my final data chapter, where I explore how Code Vein engages with both character creation and a failure-centered composing process to draw players into the intimacy in more explicit ways. Finally, I posit how the relationship between rhetoric, memory, researcher positionality, and stickiness/spreadability/accessibility can be carried forward within the field and into other datasets.

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Keywords

Rhetoric, Composition, Memory, Video games, Stickiness, Spreadability, Accessibility, Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy VII, Code Vein

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