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Video game genres and discourse communities

Under the supervision of Bernard Perron, Dominic Arsenault and Carl Therrien.

In the beginning, we set out to delineate and study a corpus of breakthrough games for five major genres (first-person shooter, adventure game, roleplaying game, platform game, and strategy game). We were confronted to the disparity of canons for each genre. Who were we to decide which games were worthy of scholarly attention, for instance by excluding the “best games” listings produced by the fan communities on Youtube?

This research project addresses epistemological and methodological issues about the production and dissemination of knowledge in various communities. We are studying more specifically four broad “discourse communities”: gamers, industry workers, game critics and scholars. Our goal is to reflect on discursive and interpretive strategies for each of these groups. We are studying a variety of “discursive genres” (top list, editorial, essay, audiovisual presentation, etc.) in order to highlight how these constructions structure (more or less consciously) the way in which members of a community share their conception of a video game genre, and determine relevant games. We are delineating the modes of production and diffusion of discursive practices, and argue that these modes determine in part the imaginary conception of video game genres.

In short, this project seeks to propose an open-minded conception of game genres by acknowledging and analysing the points of view of many discourse communities, in order to better understand how certain conceptions of game genres crystalize over time.

SSHRC grant: "Video Game History as a Challenge to Video Game Theory: A Study of the Formal Aspects and Reception of Video Game Genres" (2013-2017)


Research Assistants


Academic contributionsTop of the page

Video game genres and discourse communities


PublicationsTop of the page

Books and journals
New Media and Society

Therrien, Carl, and Martin Picard. 2015. “Enter the bit wars. A study of video game marketing and platform crafting in the wake of the TurboGrafx-16 launch”. New Media & Society, Vol. 18, No 10 (April 29th), p. 2323-2339. [Online]

The Archives: Post-Cinema and Video Game Between Memory and the Image of the Present

Perron, Bernard, et Simon Dor. 2014. "Addressing the Preservation of Gameplaying: Archiving Actional Modalities (Execution, Resolution, and Strategy)". In Bernard Perron and Federico Giordano (eds.), The Archives: Post-Cinema and Video Game Between Memory and the Image of the Present, p. 177-200. Milan : Mimesis International.

The Routledge Companion to Video Game Studies

Arsenault, Dominic. 2014. "Action". In Bernard Perron and Mark J.P. Wolf (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Video Game Studies, p. 223-231. New York and London : Routledge.

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This essay describes two different phenomena: action games, understood as a genre of games in which the player’s sensori-motor skills prevail over his cognitive activity, and a general theory of action-taking in context of the game-playing practice. Through a short history of the main genres and sub-genres traditionally identified with “Action games”, and the conclusion that such a categorization pertains to a mode of action rather than a given genre, the properties of action games are identified as involving a standardized repertoire of actions, emphasis on sensori-motor skills, and short-term action sequences.

Book chapters and articles
Cinémas

Deslongchamps-Gagnon, Maxime, and Hugo Montembeault. To be published in 2019. "The Walking Simulator’s Generic Experiences". Press Start.

Cinémas

Perron, Bernard, Maxime Deslongchamps-Gagnon and Hugo Montembeault. To be published in 2019. "Le jeu vidéo et la notion de montage : se “couper” du cinémato-centrisme". Cinémas (Montreal). Le montage à travers le prisme des mutations.

Kinephanos

Perron, Bernard, Hugo Montembeault, Andréane Morin-Simard, Jean-Charles Ray and Pascale Thériault. 2019. "Introduction : Splendeur(s) et misère(s) des genres vidéoludiques". Kinephanos, p. 1-8. [Online]

Cinémas

Perron, Bernard, Hugo Montembeault, Andréane Morin-Simard and Carl Therrien. 2019. "The Discourse Community’s Cut: Video Games and the Notion of Montage". In Jeff Thoss and Michael Fuchs (eds.), Intermedia Games—Games Inter Media, p. 37-68. New York : Boolmsbury.

Cinémas

Perron, Bernard. 2018. "“You have once again entered the world of survival horror. Good luck!”". The World of Scary Video Games: Study in Videoludic Horror, p. 31-65. New York : Bloomsbury.

Other relevant publicationsTop of the page

”Conserveries

Montembeault, Hugo, and Simon Dor. 2018. "What do gameplay archives think of? A historiographic approach to videoludic experience". Conserveries mémorielles, No 23. [Online]

gamestudies_thumbnail

Dor, Simon. 2018. "Strategy in Games or Strategy Games: Dictionary and Encyclopaedic Definitions for Game Studies". Game Studies, Vol. 18, No 1. [Online]

The Routledge Companion to Video Game Studies

Perron, Bernard. 2014. "Conventions". In Bernard Perron and Mark J.P. Wolf (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Video Game Studies, p. 74-82. New York : Routledge.

Thèse

Arsenault, Dominic. 2011. "Des typologies mécaniques à l’expérience esthétique. Fonctions et mutations du genre dans le jeu vidéo". Doctoral thesis (not-published), Bernard Perron (ed.), Université de Montréal. [Online]

Loading...Journal of the Canadian Game Studies Association

Arsenault, Dominic. 2010. "Introduction à la pragmatique des effets génériques : l’horreur dans tous ses états". Loading...Journal of the Canadian Game Studies Association, Vol. 4, No 6. [Online]

Eludamos. Journal for Computer Game Culture

Arsenault, Dominic. 2009. "Video Game Genre, Evolution and Innovation". Eludamos. Journal for Computer Game Culture, Vol. 3, No 2. [Online]

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Examining the usage of video game genre labels through a brief survey of a few generic taxonomies will reveal multiple different ways of organizing them according to a multitude of criteria. If we accept genre to be a fruitful model to identify the multiple kinds of video games that are out there, we have to account for its transformations, adaptations and reinventions. Admitting genre evolution requires us to properly address the topic of innovation that lies at its basis. Consequently, a model of innovation specific to the video game industry has to be devised. Such a model will reveal that, far from being reducible to a simple checklist of specific game mechanics, video game genres play the part of the middle-man in a complex ecosystem of functional considerations and aesthetic ideas.

EventsTop of the page

Cinémas

Deslongchamps-Gagnon, Maxime, and Hugo Montembeault. 2018. "Cartographier les effets génériques du walking simulator au-delà du genre : Les cas de The Long Dark et de Kona". Proceedings from "Journée d'études LUDOV 2.0" (Montreal, June 13, 2018), University of Montreal.

Cinémas

Deslongchamps-Gagnon, Maxime, and Hugo Montembeault. 2018. "Profil Ludique et LUDOV : Portrait d’une synergie". Proceedings from "Symposium des laboratoires universitaires de recherche francophone en études du jeu et de la ludification" (Montreal, May 14-16, 2018), Université du Québec à Montréal; Université de Montréal; École des arts numériques, de l’animation et du design; Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue.

Cinémas

Montembeault, Hugo. 2017. "Repenser l’histoire “condamnée” du FPS". Splendeur(s) et Misère(s) des Genres (vidéo)ludiques. Proceedings from "Symposium Annuel Histoire du Jeu 2017" (Montreal, June 28-30, 2017), Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.

Cinémas

Morin-Simard, Andréane, and Hugo Montembeault. 2016. "The Discourse Community’s Cut: Video Games and the Notion of Montage". Energizing Communities / L’énergie des communautés. Proceedings from "Association Canadienne d’études cinématographiques / Film Studies Association of Canada (FSAC 2016) – Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences" (Calgary, May 31 - June 2, 2016), University of Calgary.

Cinémas

Therrien, Carl, Hugo Montembeault. 2015. "The Authority of Discourse Communities. Disseminating Techno-Industrial Glorification from Marketers to Academics". Diversity of Play : Games – Cultures - Identities. Proceedings from "Digital Games Research Association (DIGRA 2015)" (Lüneburg, May 14-17, 2015), Leuphana University.

Cinémas

Morin-Simard, Andréane, Hugo Montembeault, Bernard Perron and Guillaume Roux-Girard. 2015. "Les genres vidéoludiques au cœur de l’imaginaire des communautés discursives". Les Imaginaires de la Communauté. Proceedings from "Colloque international FIGURA RADICAL" (Montreal, March 5, 2015), Université du Québec à Montréal.

Cinémas

Perron, Bernard, Dominic Arsenault, Hugo Montembeault, Andréane Morin-Simard and Guillaume Roux-Girard. 2014. "Video Game History as a Challenge to Video Game Theory: A Study of the Formal Aspects and Reception of Video Game Genres". Borders without Boundaries. Proceedings from "Association Canadienne des études vidéoludiques / Canadien Game Studies Association (CGSA 2014) – Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences" (St. Catharines, May 29, 2014), Brock University.

Cinémas

Montembeault, Hugo and Carl Therrien. 2014. "Négocier le First-Person Shooter : Exemplification méthodologique". Atelier sur les Jeux Vidéo. Proceedings from "Centre de recherche Interdisciplinaire sur les Technologies Émergentes de l'Université de Montréal (CITÉ 2014)" (Montreal, March 21, 2014), Université de Montréal.


Selected conference papersTop of the page


Recommended linksTop of the page

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