Construction of space with narrative elements and point of view in computer games

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/10878
Title: Construction of space with narrative elements and point of view in computer games
Author: Rauramo, Suvi
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Communication
Date: 2000-04-01
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/10878
Thesis level: master's thesis
Abstract: The principal purpose of this study is to examine the narrative conventions that computer games employ to create a spatially immersive storyworld. Adopting a comparative approach, the study seeks to trace similarities and disparities across media. Thirty-six PlayStation and PC games released between 1996 and 2000 constitute the material for analysis. Informed by narrative theory, the study investigates how computer games utilize elements of audiovisual narration. The study establishes that the world structure is the most important organizing entity in computer games. The underlying logic structure ultimately governs the gameplay. The world restricts the actions of the player significantly, even if it often attempts to hide the restrictions diegetically. The coherence and continuity of the world is a vital aspect of spatial immersion. The study confirms that navigation in the world is a central narrative force in computer games. The unfolding of the story, the movement of the camera, the shot transitions, and occasionally changes in the narrative point of view are induced either by the player's maneuvering the focalizing character in the story world or by the player's manipulation of the nondiegetic view. After analysing the basic narrative elements of the games - namely the world, its framing, and the transitions within the world - the study constructs the narrative points of view typical for computer games. Computer games use a variety of narrative points of view, which are labeled the first person point of view, the follow-up point of view, the fourth wall point of view, the bird's eye point of view, and the play god point of view. However, usually only one or two narrative points of view are utilized in a given game. Even when the character is the focalizer, the character's status is inferior to the world. This is highlighted by the preference for long shots, in which the character is minuscule, while the surrounding world features prominently. Furthermore, narration is often nondiegetic: the view is not connected to the character at all. Consequently, the world is the centre of the player's attention. Narration in games seems to be developing towards shorter shot lengths and more versatile usage of camera position and movement. The trend seems to be towards multiple narrative points of view and levels of narration, which is a fundamental requirement for sophisticated storytelling. Central sources are Edward Branigan's Narrative comprehension and film (1992) and Lev Manovich's The language of new media (forthcoming).
Description: Endast sammandrag. Inbundna avhandlingar kan sökas i Helka-databasen (http://www.helsinki.fi/helka). Elektroniska kopior av avhandlingar finns antingen öppet på nätet eller endast tillgängliga i bibliotekets avhandlingsterminaler.Only abstract. Paper copies of master’s theses are listed in the Helka database (http://www.helsinki.fi/helka). Electronic copies of master’s theses are either available as open access or only on thesis terminals in the Helsinki University Library.Vain tiivistelmä. Sidottujen gradujen saatavuuden voit tarkistaa Helka-tietokannasta (http://www.helsinki.fi/helka). Digitaaliset gradut voivat olla luettavissa avoimesti verkossa tai rajoitetusti kirjaston opinnäytekioskeilla.
Subject: computer games - narration - points of view


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