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The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies, 7 Volume Set by Fabienne Darling-Wolf, Radhika Parameswaran, Erica Scharrer, Vicki Mayer, Sharon Mazzarella, Kelly Gates, John Nerone, Angharad N. Valdivia

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21

Transmedial Aesthetics

Where Form and Content Meet – Film and Videogames

Tanya Krzywinska

ABSTRACT

Videogames may offer new ways of telling stories and engaging players by virtue of their interactive characteristics, but do they offer any differences from cinema in terms of content and representation? While videogames are formally distinctive, this chapter shows that, to a lesser or greater degree, they nonetheless draw on vocabularies developed within cinema. Through an examination of Final Fantasy XII, as well as with reference to a range of other games, this chapter analyzes how, through an interlacing of form, content, and representation, videogames work in convergent and divergent ways to create for the player an emotionally resonant aesthetic experience.

Convergences and divergences between film and videogames have been the subject of some quite considerable analysis within the context of recent academic work, conducted mainly within the emerging field of digital game studies. Within this is a pivotal engagement with the way that form shapes content. This relationship is the focus of this chapter, which further takes as a central analytic example the game Final Fantasy XII (Square Enix, 2006). While by no means all academic work focused on videogames is conducted by those with a scholarly interest in film, several game studies academics have a film studies background, including myself, Diane Carr, Geoff King, Bernard Perron, Bob Rehak, and David Surman. What is remarkable ...

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