The Game FAVR: A Framework for the Analysis of Visual Representation in Video Games


  • Dominic Arsenault Université de Montréal
  • Pierre-Marc Côté Université de Montréal
  • Audrey Larochelle Université de Montréal


This paper lays out a unified framework of the ergodic animage, the rule-based and interactiondriven part of visual representation in video games. It is the end product of a three-year research project conducted by the INTEGRAE team, and is divided into three parts. Part 1 contextualizes the research on graphics and visuality within game studies, notably through the opposition between fiction and rules and the difficulties in finding common vocabulary to discuss key visual concepts such as perspective and point of view. Part 2 discusses a number of visual traditions through which we frame video game graphics (film, animation, art history, graphical projection and technical drawing), highlighting their relevance and shortcomings in addressing the long history of video games and the very different paradigms of 2D and 3D graphics. Part 3 presents the Game FAVR, a model that allows any game’s visual representation to be described and discussed through a common frame and vocabulary. The framework is presented in an accessible manner and is organized as a toolkit, with sample case studies, templates, and a flowchart for using the FAVR provided as an annex, so that researchers and students can immediately start using it.

Author Biographies

Dominic Arsenault, Université de Montréal

Dh.D student in film studies at Université de Montréal. Working on video game genres, narrative, game design, and immersion.

Pierre-Marc Côté, Université de Montréal

Département d'histoire de l'art et d'études cinématographiques, student (master in film studies, option: video game studies)

Audrey Larochelle, Université de Montréal

Département d'histoire de l'art et d'études cinématographiques, graduate (master in film studies)