A1 Journal article (refereed)
Story beats in videogames as value-driven choice-based unit operations (2021)

Mochocki, M., & Koskimaa, R. (2021). Story beats in videogames as value-driven choice-based unit operations. Images : The International Journal of European Film, Performing Arts and Audiovisual Communication, 29(38), 5-31. https://doi.org/10.14746/i.2021.38.01

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Mochocki, Michał; Koskimaa, Raine

Journal or series: Images : The International Journal of European Film, Performing Arts and Audiovisual Communication

ISSN: 1731-450X

eISSN: 2720-040X

Publication year: 2021

Publication date: 15/06/2021

Volume: 29

Issue number: 38

Pages range: 5-31

Publisher: Adam Mickiewicz University Poznan

Publication country: Poland

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.14746/i.2021.38.01

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/78603

Additional information: Vol. 29 Nr 38 (2021): The Special Issue: The Structure of Video Games.


We present a framework of story beats, defined as microunits of dramatic action, as a tool for the ludonarrative analysis of videogames. First, we explain the Goal - Action - Reaction - Outcome model of the story beat. Then, we present six types of story beats, Action, Interaction, Inaction, Mental, Emotion, and Sensory, providing videogame examples for each category. In the second half of the paper, we contextualise this framework in the classic game studies theory of videogame narrative and player action: unit operations, gamic action, anatomy of choice, and game design patterns, wrapping it up in the most recent trends in cognitive narratology. Ultimately, we present the story beat as a ludonarrative unit, working simultaneously as a ‘unit operation’ in the study of games as systems, and as a microunit of character action in narrative analysis. The conclusion outlines prospective directions for using story beats in formal, experiential, and cultural game research.

Keywords: games; video games; computer games; digital games; narratology; narrativity; narration; playing (games and sports); tales; transmedia; game research; game design

Free keywords: transmedia; narrative; beat; narratology; character; videogames; game studie

Contributing organizations

Related projects

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2021

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 13:37