I finished my first run through KRZ’s three available acts three days ago. During my first run, I mostly followed the game prompts to move from Point A to Point B. This produced a fairly quick run through the game, and I didn’t really understand much of what I was experiencing during play. The next thing I did was start the game again, from the beginning. I did this because I wanted to spend more time exploring the KRZ world in hopes of making more sense of the game. So, my latest in-game experiences are from the first few scenes of Act I.
Now, I will discuss procedural rhetoric in terms of my recent experiences in KRZ. Bogost defines procedural rhetoric as “the practice of using processes persuasively.” I need look no further than Act I, Scene I for an example. Down in the ominous basement at Equus Oils, Conway encounters Emily, Ben and Bob playing a table-top game. Upon careful inspection of the situation it should be apparent to the player that Emily, Ben and Bob are playing a game named Kentucky Route Zero.
Emily, Ben and Bob are KRZ’s instructions. Carefully exhausting all choices during the encounter with Emily, Ben and Bob will reveal: basic rules, concepts of game-play, and even a general outcome for the game. All three discuss the rules and game-play, sometimes opining on the rules and the randomness of the game. At some point Bob says, “I don’t think you can win. It says it’s a tragedy.”
The other part of the encounter with Emily, Ben and Bob persuades the player to proceed with the next step in the game, finding the missing glow-in-the-dark twenty-sided die, by repeatedly hinting that the game does not continue until the player takes the action appropriate actions. Emily say to bob, “OK, so just to get started we need that twenty-sided die.” Ultimately, the encounter with Emily, Ben and Bob uses the process of playing the game to explain the process of the game and persuade the player to play the game. Especially when Ben tells Bob, “It gets easier as you go.”