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Graphical technologies

Under the supervision of Dominic Arsenault

This research project is a historical examination of the videogame industry’s transition from the paradigm of 2D to that of 3D graphics during the 1990s. It will in turn inform a theoretical study of the relationships between visual technologies and innovation, as well as an ontology of visual digital media. A comprehensive review of the decade’s important publications (namely articles from the specialized press, game reviews, video game magazines, corporate and marketing documents) will serve to build a database organized by subjects, technological objects, techniques and type of promise implied by the discourses on technological innovation. The database will work towards two main goals:

1) to show the incremental and uninterrupted establishment, the types of use, the justifications and the centrality of a rhetoric of material culture coming from the industry, the review press and the gamers themselves, all of which readily promote graphical technologies;

2) to build a typology of innovation in the videogame industry that accounts for the foremost importance of graphical technologies, both in their technical and aesthetic dimensions.

The project ultimately aims to demonstrate how the emergence of new graphical technologies may lead to new possibilities in interaction schemes as well as reiterations of known formulas. It will also highlight how the different agents within the videogame industry mobilize these innovations in their discourses and practices.

Grant FRQSC: "Graphical technologies, aesthetics and innovation in the videogame industry: a historical study of the 2D-3D transition during the 1990s" (2012-2015)


Research Assistants


Academic contributions

Game FAVR


PublicationsTop of the page



Du média au postmédia

Arsenault, Dominic [to be published in 2019]. "Pourquoi l’image vidéoludique n’est pas (que) cinématographique : Les racines plurielles des technologies graphiques dans l’historiographie du jeu vidéo". In Nicolas Dulac (ed.), Du média au postmédia : continuités, ruptures. Lausanne : Éditions L’âge d’homme. [Pre-publication PDF]

Super Power, Spoony Bards, and Silverware

Arsenault, Dominic. 2017. Super Power, Spoony Bards, and Silverware: The Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Cambridge (MA) : The MIT Press. [PDF: Introduction: Welcome to the Dark Side]

Loading…Journal of the Canadian Game Studies Association

Arsenault, Dominic, Pierre-Marc Côté and Audrey Larochelle. 2015. "The Game FAVR: A Framework for the Analysis of Visual Representation in Video Games". Loading…Journal of the Canadian Game Studies Association, Vol. 9, No 14, p. 88-123. [Online][Sample cases and quick reference guide]

G|A|M|E: The Italian Journal of Game Studies, Re-Framing Video Games in the Light of Cinema

Arsenault, Dominic and Bernard Perron. 2015. "De-Framing Video Games from the Light of Cinema". G|A|M|E: The Italian Journal of Game Studies, Re-Framing Video Games in the Light of Cinema, No 4. [Online]

G|A|M|E: The Italian Journal of Game Studies, Re-Framing Video Games in the Light of Cinema

Arsenault, Dominic, Pierre-Marc Côté, Audrey Larochelle and Sacha Lebel. 2013. “Graphical technologies, innovation and aesthetics in the video game industry: a case study of the shift from 2D to 3D graphics in the 1990s”. G|A|M|E. The Italian Journal of Game Studies, Technology, Evolution and Perspective Innovation, No 2. [online]

G|A|M|E: The Italian Journal of Game Studies, Re-Framing Video Games in the Light of Cinema

Arsenault, Dominic, and Pierre-Marc Côté. 2013. “Reverse-engineering graphical innovation: an introduction to graphical regimes”. G|A|M|E. The Italian Journal of Game Studies, Technology Evolution and Perspective Innovation, No 2. [Online]

Digital Games Research Association 2013

Arsenault, Dominic, and Audrey Larochelle. 2013. “From Euclidean space to Albertian gaze: The visual traditions of representation in video games”. Proceedings from “Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) 2013” (Atlanta, August 26-29, 2013). [Online]

G|A|M|E: the Italian Journal of Game Studies, Technology, Evolution and Perspective Innovation

Larochelle, Audrey. 2013. “A new angle on parallel languages: The contribution of visual arts to a vocabulary of graphical projection in video games”. G|A|M|E. The Italian Journal of Game Studies, Technology, Evolution and Perspective Innovation, No 2. [Online]


Other relevant publicationsTop of the page

Encyclopedia of Video Games

Therrien, Carl. 2012. "Graphics". In Mark J.P. Wolf (ed.), Encyclopedia of Video Games, p. 269-274. Westport : Greenwood / ABC Clio Press.

bianco e nero

Perron, Bernard and Therrien Carl. "Da Spacewar! a Gears of War, o comme l'immagine videoludica è devintata più cinematografica". bianco e nero, n° 564 (May-August), p. 40-50.

The Video Game Explosion

Therrien, Carl. 2008. "Graphics in Video Games". In Mark J.P. Wolf (ed.), The Video Game Explosion. A History from PONG to Playstation and Beyond, p. 239-250. Westport : Greenwood Press.


EventsTop of the page

eSpaceS
Ludiciné Symposium on the visual treatment of space across media and digital imageries.


Selected Conference PapersTop of the page

Arsenault, Dominic and Audrey Larochelle. “From Euclidean space to Albertian gaze: The visual traditions of representation in video games”. DiGRA 2013 international conference, “Art History of Games”, Atlanta, August 26-29 2013.

Arsenault, Dominic et Pierre-Marc Côté. “Beyond Pixels and Polygons: The Visible Edge of Technological Innovation”. Canadian Game Studies Association (CGSA) 2013 National Conference, Univeristy of Victoria, June 4 2013.

Arsenault, Dominic. “Rise Against Cinema! On the Importance of Assessing the Multiple Roots of Video Game Graphics”. Panel “The Moving Image Beyond Film: Promises and Pitfalls in the Film/Games Connection Canadian Game Studies Association (CGSA) 2012 National Conference, University of Waterloo, May 30 2012.

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