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VOICEVocal Aesthetics in Digital Arts and Media$
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Norie Neumark, Ross Gibson, and Theo van Leeuwen

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780262013901

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262013901.001.0001

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Voice, Videogames, and the Technologies of Immersion

Voice, Videogames, and the Technologies of Immersion

(p.267) 14 Voice, Videogames, and the Technologies of Immersion

Mark Ward

The MIT Press

This chapter examines the technologies of voice within videogames and how the voice is used as an extension not only of the principles underlying cinematic sound design but also of gameplay and game design. Drawing on an interview with Emily Ridgway, the Audio Lead of the game BioShock, it demonstrates how videogames rejuvenate the principles of sound design for the screen arts by transcending the limitations placed upon them by the technical apparatus of cinema. The chapter argues that the digital technologies and audiovisual designs of videogames create an “emotion-machine” which immerses and engages the human perceptual and emotion systems, thus intensifying the player’s sense of involvement and implication in the scenes under negotiation. It also looks at BioShock as an example of the interplay between sound design, vocalization, game mechanics, and narrative. The chapter concludes by suggesting that videogame sound designers employ voices to insinuate and integrate emotions familiar from the world which prevails not far from the game’s world.

Keywords:   Emily Ridgway, videogames, BioShock, voice, sound design, cinema, emotion-machine, vocalization, digital technologies, emotions

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