The Aesthetics of Early Adventure Games: A Reflection of Film History

By Veli-Matti Karhulahti.

Published by The Arts Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper examines the artistic potential of videogames by concerning the early aesthetics of a genre generally referred to as adventure games. The main argument is that the development of adventure game aesthetics correlates with the aesthetic development of film. The argument will rest on two technical turning points that took place within the initial stages of videogame and film industries: the use of voice as a sonic and the use of color as a visual component. Whereas in the history of cinema those technical improvements represent the shift from silent film to film with sound and color, for adventure games they meant text-based interactive fiction stepping aside for graphic adventures with voice-acted characters. The paper will focus on examining the corresponding impacts that this technical development had on their methods of artistic expression.

Keywords: Videogames, Film, Literature, Aesthetics, Adventure, Interactive Fiction

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp.31-38. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 605.574KB).

Veli-Matti Karhulahti

PhD Candidate, Department of Media Studies, University of Turku, Turku, Finland

During my philosophy of art studies in University of Eastern Finland, I started a career as a film critic following my lifetime relationship with film and literature. Eventually, I was driven to widen my writings on other arts as well, especially visual arts. After supplementing my knowledge with the Film Studies Program of University of Oulu (2006) and the Art Criticism Program of University of Montana (2009), I finished my Master’s Thesis “The Limits of Objective Art Criticism – Establishing an Objective Concept for Evaluating Artworks” to become a Master of Social Sciences in 2010. When I got convinced that videogame industry was facing the same situation that the arts of film and literature went through during their early years, I commenced a PhD Program in University of Turku to find out whether videogames—my spare time passion so far—will be capable of following them and obtaining the status of respectable art.


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