Gran Stylissimo: The Audiovisual Elements and Styles in Computer and Video Games

Järvinen Aki
2002 Computer Games and Digital Cultures Conference Proceedings

The audiovisual appearance of computer and video games is varied. Still, the interplay of sounds and images in games has not been studied in any rigorous way. In this paper the concept of audiovisual style is introduced to grasp these variations, and categorize existing games into three styles. They are called photorealism, caricaturism, and abstractionism. Moreover, elements that make up the audiovisual appearance of an individual game are defined: dimensionality, point of perception, visual outlook and soundscape. Naming and analysing different styles and elements helps us to understand both what kind of audiovisual techniques persist and what has changed in the developing fi eld of computer and video games. A continuum is sketched that ranges from the caricaturistic Pongs and Space Invaders of the 1970s to 'the year of Doom' (1993). The rise of three-dimensionality and photorealism during the 1990s is explored, up to recent developments where new stylistic directions have began to emerge.