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.


The Diverse Worlds of Computer Games: A Content Analysis of Spaces, Populations, Styles and Narratives

Brand Jeffrey E. Knight Scott Majewski Jakub
2003 DiGRA '03 - Proceedings of the 2003 DiGRA International Conference: Level Up

The Diverse Worlds Project analysed 130 computer and video games (CVGs) to understand their textual landscape. Titles were sampled from the five gaming platforms dominant in 2002. Blending the quantitative content analytic tradition and the Bordwellian approach to formal film analysis, characters, settings, narrative and stylistic factors were studied in four units of analysis including box, handbook, opening cinematic sequences, and game-play. “Diverse Worlds” contradicts the popular stereotypes about CVGs presenting exaggerated, violent characters in simplistic, formulaic, worlds lacking in aesthetic nuance and texture. Games are painted using a vast array of visible features and locations. Narrative structure and progression varies depending on genre and goes beyond “shoot the bad guy.” Graphic stylisation tends toward a mid-point between animation and photo-realism with the latter more often used for rendering environments and the former for characters. Limitations of character representation include the use of stereotypes found in traditional mainstream media. An earlier version of this work was presented at the International Ratings Conference in Sydney, Australia, September 2003.