Led On Line
Presentazione - About us
Novita' - What's new
Lededizioni Home Page Ricerca - Search
Catalogo - Catalogue
Per contattarci - Contacts
Per gli Autori - For the Authors
Statistiche - Statistics
Cookie Policy
Privacy Policy

Lost in Transmediation. Transmedial Adaption of Videogames and GDNA Theory

Sven Dwulecki


Videogames and their transmedial adaptations share common persuasive messages. Their rhetoric is diverse, encompassing political as well as economic messages for the players. Yet, the possibilities to analyze the translation from videogames towards other media is so far limited. Without a systematic approach to address all circumstances behind videogame-rhetoric, the resulting insights for their transmedial satellites are difficult to compare. Therefore, this paper introduces the GDNA model. The Game Dynamic Narrative Analysis is crafted as a holistic approach. Based upon the notion of videogame as artificial orator (homunculus digitalis), it compares videogames analysis with DNA sequencing. Identifying rhetoric sequences within a game’s genome is marked by the interplay between those elements specific to games (like procedural rhetoric) and those transferred from other fields (like speech act analysis or visual rhetoric). Thereby, the GDNA model unifies narratological and ludological perspectives of game studies through incorporating both positions into every rhetorical analysis of games. As a result, it grants better understanding how game-specific elements are treated in their respective transmedial translation. In order to illustrate this, the Metal Gear Solid franchise was examined. Metal Gear Solid demonstrates different strategies for transmediation. With novelizations, comic books, digital graphic novels, audio drama and analog board games, the storyworld of Solid Snake and Big Boss became accessible for a wide audience. However, Hideo Kojima’s legacy contains a unique element that poses a problem to transfer from its videogame origin: immersion fractures. Those speech acts directly address the player and persuade her to change gameplay behavior. Examining scenes from the first two installments with the GDNA model illustrates that immersion fractures require specific adaptations to preserve their specific messages. Their respective novels, comics and digital graphic novels addressed this challenge quite differently. However, some messages got lost of in their transmediation.


Rhetoric; Video games; transmedial franchises; game analysis; genetics; Metal Gear Solid; immersion fractures

Full Text:



Ashcraft, Brian. 2010. “Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker Product Placement Explained!” Kotaku.com. Last modified September 4. http://kotaku.com/5513122/metal-gear-solid-peace-walker-product-placement-explained.

Ashcraft, Brian. 2015. “Let the Final Fantasy XV Product Placement Begin!” Kotaku.com. Last modified March 13. http://kotaku.com/final-fantasy-xv-features-coleman-camping-gear-1691226545.

Barthes, Roland. 1981. Camera Lucida. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Beatty, Liam and Stéphane Rakotondrainbe. 1999. Metal Gear Solid – The Official Strategy Guide. London: Piggyback Interactive.

Benson, Raymond. 2008. Metal Gear Solid. New York: Ballantine Books.

Benson, Raymond. 2009. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. New York: Ballantine Books.

Bogost, Ian. 2007. “Persuasive Games.” Cambridge: MIT Press.

Bogost, Ian. “Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Video Games.” Researchgate.net. Last accessed 29.06.2017. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273947142_Persuasive_Games_The_Expressive_Power_of_Video_Games.

Burch, Ethan, Jeremy Fernsler, Robert Brulle and Jichen Zhu. 2016. “Echo Chamber: A Persuasive Game on Climate Change Rhetoric.” CHI PLAY Companion ’16: 101-107. doi: 10.1145/2968120.2987741.

Cleger, Osvaldo. 2015. “Procedural Rhetoric and Undocumented Migrants: Playing the Debate over Immigration Reform.” Digital Culture & Education 7 (1): 19-39.

Crick, Francis and Watson, James. 1953. “A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid.” Nature 171 (3): 737-738. https://www.nature.com/nature/dna50/watsoncrick.pdf.

Darnton, Robert. 2015. Censors at Work: How States Shaped Literature. New York: Norton & Company.

Dawkins, Daniel, eds. 2015. A Hideo Kojima Book – The Ultimate Guide to Metal Gear Solid 1987 > 2015. Bath: Future Publishing.

DerfsonicGaming. 2013a. Metal Gear Solid Digital Graphic Novel (HD Legacy Version) [1080p]. Youtube.com. Last modified August 7. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PHReMw0zVE&t=4134s

DerfsonicGaming. 2013b. Metal Gear Solid 2 Digital Graphic Novel (HD Legacy Version) [1080p]. Youtube.com. Last modified August 8. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hB8EgZXKG8Y&t=8049s.

Dwulecki, Sven. 2016. “‘Building the future and keeping the past alive are one and the same thing’. A rhetorical analysis of the Metal Gear Solid-Saga.” In More After More. Essays Commemorating the Five Hundredth Anniversary of Thomas More's Utopia. Edited by Ksenia Olkusz, Michał Kłosiński, Krzysztof M. Maj. Kraków: Facta Ficta.

Dwulecki, Sven. 2018. Der Mastermind – Eine Kommunikatorrolle des Marketings. Kraków: Facta Ficta. In print.

GhostFoxGaming. 2016. “Metal Gear Solid - Meryl Codec Frequency - First Conversation With Snake” Youtube.com. Last modified 26.03. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41sitUsd_TE.

Isbister, Katherine. 2016. How Games Move Us. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Itzkoff, Dave. 2008. “Obama Ads Appear in Video Game” NYTimes.com. Last modified October 14. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/15/arts/15arts-002.html.

Kapell, Matthew Wilhelm. 2015. The Play Versus Story Divide in Game Studies. Jefferson: McFarland.

KefkaProduction. 2013. Metal Gear Solid 2 - The Movie [HD] Full Story. Youtube.com. Last modified October 13. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5AunfmI8bs&t=15743s.

Klastrup, Lisbeth and Susana Tosca. 2004. “Transmedial worlds—Rethinking cyberworld design.” Proceedings of the 2004 International Conference on Cyberworlds: 409–416. Los Alamitos, California: IEEEE Computer Society.

Knape, Joachim. 1998. Kairos. Persuasion. In Historisches Wörterbuch der Rhetorik Vol. 6, edited by Gert Ueding, 874-907. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer.

Knape, Joachim. 2000. Was ist Rhetorik? Stuttgart: Reclam.

Knape, Joachim. 2008. “Rhetorik der Künste”. In Rhetorik und Stilistik. Vol. 1. Edited by Ulla Fix, Andreas Gardt, Joachim Knape, 894-927. Berlin: HSK.

Knape, Joachim. 2013. Modern Rhetoric in Culture, Arts and Media. Berlin: De Gruyter.

Knape, Joachim. 2015. “Das Othello-Reaktiv : zur Funktion des Zweifels im rhetorischen Persuasionsprozess” In Kognition - Kooperation – Persuasion. Edited by Frank Duerr, Florian Landkammer, Julia Bahnmüller, 151-180. Berlin: Weidler.

Lipscombe, Kris. 2012. “Metal Gear Solid Omnibus Book Review.” TheSixthAxis.com. Last modified January 2. http://www.thesixthaxis.com/2012/01/02/metal-gear-solid-omnibus-book-review/.

Makuch, Eddie. 2016. “Why Video Game Movies Are Often Bad and How to Fix Them, According to Hollywood Vets.” Gamespot.com. Last modified February 17. http://www.gamespot.com/articles/why-video-game-movies-are-often-bad-and-how-to-fix/1100-6434880/.

Martin, Michael, eds. 2002. Metal Gear Solid 2 Sons of Liberty - The Official Strategy Guide. London: Piggyback Interactive.

Murray, Janet. 1997. Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace. Cambridge: The MIT Press.

Neitzel, Britta. 2014. "Narrativity of Computer Games" In the living handbook of narratology. Edited by Peter Hühn et al. Hamburg: Hamburg University. Last modified April 22. http://www.lhn.uni-hamburg.de/article/narrativity-computer-games.

Nelva, Giuseppe. 2016. “Ogle the Beautiful Final Fantasy XV Audi R8: a Peculiar Product Placement. Dualshockers.com. Last modified March 31. http://www.dualshockers.com/ogle-the-beautiful-final-fantasy-xv-audi-r8-a-peculiar-product-placement/.

Oprisko, Kris, Alex Garner, Matt Fraction. 2014. Metal Gear Solid – Deluxe Edition. San Diego: IDW Publishing.

Pulsipher, Lewis. 2008. “Why Immersion Shouldn’t Be the ‘Holy Grail’”, Gamasutra.com. Last modified December 19. http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/112545/Opinion_Why_Immersion_Shouldnt_Be_The_Holy_Grail.php [accessed: 30.11.2016].

Sato. 2016. “Final Fantasy XV’s Latest Product Placement Is With Nissin’s Cup Noodles.” Siliconera.com. Last modified September 19. http://www.siliconera.com/2016/09/19/final-fantasy-xvs-latest-product-placement-nissins-cup-noodles/

Schmulzke, Marcus. 2012. “Campaining in the Digital World: Obama’s Use of Dynamic Advertisments.” Journal of Information Technology & Politics 9 (4): 338-351. doi: 10.1080/19331681.2012.700444.

Scole. 2017. The Social Stigma of Comic Book Reading. theArtifice.com. Last modified January 30. https://the-artifice.com/social-stigma-comic-book-reading/.

Šisler, Vít. 2016. “Procedural religion: Methodological reflections on studying religion in video games.” SAGE journals 19 (1): 126-141. doi: 10.1177/1461444816649923.

Totilo, Stephen. 2009. “Beat A Man Into A Urinal, Consider Buying Deodorant” Kotaku.com. Last modified November 24. http://kotaku.com/5411102/beat-a-man-into-a-urinal-consider-buying-deodorant.

Vogt-Roberts, Jordan. 2017. “Metal Gear Solid could be first ‘great video game movie,’ says Kong: Skull Island director.” Last modified March 10. http://www.polygon.com/2017/3/10/14880910/metal-gear-solid-movie-kong-skull-island-director.

Wallin, Mark Rowell. 2007. “Myths, Monsters and Markets: Ethos, Identification, and the Video Game Adaptations of The Lord of the Rings.” Game Studies 7 (1).


DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/ijtl-2018-002-dwul

International Journal of Transmedia Literacy (IJTL)
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (22/10/2014 n. 328)
Online ISSN 2465-2261 - Print ISSN 2465-227X

Editor in Chief: Matteo Ciastellardi
Managing Editor: Giovanna Di Rosario
Managing Committee: Matteo Andreozzi, Stefano Calzati, Ugo Eccli, Cristina Miranda de Almeida.
Board Committee: Alan Albarran (University of North Texas, United States), Rogério Barbosa Da Silva (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil), Giovanni Baule (Politecnico di Milano, Italy), Laura Borràs Castanyer (Universitat de Barcelona, Spain), Derrick de Kerckhove (Politecnico di Milano, Italy), Henry Jenkins (University of Southern California, United States), Marsha Kinder (University of Southern California, United States), Raine Koskimaa (University of Jyväskylä, Finland), George Landow (Brown University, United States), Paul Levinson (Fordham University, United States), Asún López-Varela (Universidad Complutense, Spain), Lev Manovich (City University of New York, United States), Nick Montfort (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States), Marcos Novak (UCLA - University of California, Los Angeles, United States), Massimo Parodi (Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy), Bruce W. Powe (York University, Canada), Kate Pullinger (Bath Spa University, United Kingdom), Marie-Laure Ryan (Indipendent Scholar), Alexandra Saemmer (Université Paris 8, France), Carlos Scolari (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain), Susana Tosca (IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark), Alessandro Zinna (Université Toulouse II, France)