Robin Jansson , pp. 24. DSN/School of Planning and Media Design, 2012.
As video games have evolved, the focus on impressive graphics and surround-sound has become increasingly prominent. Stepping away from their roots, video games have toned down the interaction and put the cinematic parts of the experience on the forefront. However, some games stand outside the norm, taking down the sound-level to a minimum, even going as far as removing text entirely. In my essay, I explore the functions of silence, specifically in two works: the computer game Machinarium, and 2001: A Space Odyssey, the film, along with the novel. By analyzing these works, I highlight how silence can have widely different effects on how the users experience the work. Employing different techniques, the authors manipulate the experience, using visuals as well as audio to increase the sense of immersion and connectedness to the characters on screen. In my essay, the close ties between video games and film is central, and it discusses how the former has been influenced by the latter. Comparing the use of silence to techniques found in literature, I discover surprisingly many similarities to the narrative techniques used there. My research shows that video games employing silence can, even while being influenced by more cinematic media, still retain its core essentials and provide an experience that encourages exploration and imagination of the individual user.