Playing in Synch: A Three-Part Typology of Synch Points Between Image and Sound in Bioshock Infinite

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Brewer, Robert Patrick Bruce




Video games make extensive use of image and sound, as well as player interactivity to communicate narrative and gameplay information. While scholars (e.g., Kaae, 2008 and Collins, 2013) have made significant contributions to understanding these forms of communication, there are still fruitful directions to explore. This thesis adds Chion’s (1994) concept of points of synchronization to the discussion by addressing how they might be used as a tool to create emphasis and to provide an auditory and visual setting around a video game’s narrative and gameplay elements. I will argue that it is useful to divide synch points into three types (narrative, gameplay, and serendipitous), and will explore how Chion’s concept, originally developed for cinematic sound, can be expanded to include the complexities afforded by interactive gameplay. I will use Bioshock Infinite (2K Games, 2013) as a case study to demonstrate the utility of this typological approach to synch points.






Carleton University

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Master of Arts: 

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Music and Culture

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Theses and Dissertations

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