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Abstract

In the 2012 video game Journey, music is an important component of the playing experience. This study adopts an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on narratology, semiology, and film-sound theory to examine the relationship between music, narrative, and emotion in Journey. After first discussing video games’ interactivity in general, philosopher Dominic Lopes’ theory of digital art is presented as a means of articulating the interactive aspects of Journey’s soundtrack. Theories set out by scholars Jochen Kleres and Michel Chion—which deal with the narrativity of emotions and audiovisual meaning, respectively—are then integrated to produce the “synchretic network”: a theoretical framework for analyzing the effect of the juxtaposition of music, moving images, and an emotional response that occurs when a viewer or player engages with audiovisual art. This is followed by an analysis of a personal experience of Journey using the synchretic network to understand how the game’s music performs narrative functions. Finally, this study reflects on the synchretic network and its potential to be broadly applicable, including in the study of other audiovisual media such as film.

Keywords

Journey, synchresis, narrative, emotion, audiovisual media


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