Visual Narratives in Videogames: How Videogames Tell Stories Through Graphical Elements


  • Alessandro Soriani University of Bologna, Department of Education Studies
  • Stefano Caselli University of Malta, Institute of Digital Games



videogames, narration, graphic elements, storytelling


Videogame is a unique and, at the same time, widely diversified medium. The typical elements of oral, written, musical, visual –but also interactive, spatial, environmental– narration are found merged together in different ways creating 'elsewheres' capable of telling stories and generating experiences in ways that other media are hardly able to replicate. Visual and graphical elements can provide great narrative potentials in videogames as they take part in the wider process of meaning and narrative conveyment, both shaping countless possible scenarios and helping players to make sense of them.This contribution addresses the narrative potential of visual elements in videogames by merging the perspectives of game studies and semiotics. The first part will be devoted to the framing of videogames’ expressive power within the field of game studies and will deal with specific fieldrelated concepts such as procedural rhetoric and evocative narrative elements. The second will delve deep into the understanding of videogames as texts, following the work of Agata Meneghelli and Espen J. Aarseth on the matter. The last part will deal with how videogames can use their visual elements for narrative purposes, providing a framework of five different visual narratives based upon Henri Jenkins’ videogame narrative theory.




How to Cite

Soriani, A., & Caselli, S. (2020). Visual Narratives in Videogames: How Videogames Tell Stories Through Graphical Elements. Img Journal, 2(3), 474–499.