Article by Matt King; Web text prepared by John Jones and Matt King
Graduate students at the University of Texas at Austin have been developing Rhetorical Peaks, an interactive video game for use in introductory rhetoric and writing courses. The game is loosely based on David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, and it follows the player / detective / rhetor into the fictional town of Rhetorical Peaks in order to get to the bottom of a murder most vile—that of Lisa Sophist, the town’s best speaker. Why would anyone do this to someone who could argue so well? It’s up to Agent Rederick to get to the bottom of things. Of course, in a town like Rhetorical Peaks, there is no bottom to things and thus no right answer to the question of who killed Lisa. The best hope we have is that a sound argument can be made as to the killer’s identity. It will take all of the player’s rhetorical skills to be able to make this argument after questioning the locals, viewing the crime scene, and perhaps being witness to a few unexpected twists and turns.