Comments on: The Immersive Fallacy Wed, 10 Sep 2014 18:53:13 +0000 hourly 1 By: Jeremiah Chaplin Tue, 19 Apr 2005 22:50:00 +0000 Craig has it right on the nose, so to speak , in that immersion is simply one of many tools that a game designer can use to keep the player entertained and interested. I have come to believe that engagement is one of the fundemental goal of the game designer; if a game is engaging then people will keep playing. In some sense it is the first goal that a designer needs to achieve. Without an engaging game whatever other meanings or lessons you included are never conveyed because you’ve lost your player.

By: Darren Torpey Tue, 19 Apr 2005 12:22:00 +0000 Indeed.

It seems that the key is to recognize that we’re never actually intersted in completely re-writing player’s perceptions of reality. (In fact, as Craig said, this may not even be possible. At any rate it certainly ruins the idea of games-as-a-safe-place-for-experimentation.)

Rather, we wish for players to change the rules by which they make decisions and get ahold of their emotions.

The first part of that leads me to a discussion I’ll leave for my own blog, which will probably include a rebuttal of sorts to Craig’s sentiments on quick-saving.

As for the second… well, that’s the real reason we seek out immersion, right? I mean, the point is that players are willingly opening their emotions to those the game inspires, as we do when we watch movies or read books.

The trick is, then, to not give the player a chance to let the ultimate triviality of the excercise get in the way of their enjoyment. For a time, at least, we want them to feel like they are a soldier in World War 2 so that they can play around with the experience (and possibly so that we can predict their emotional responses to some extent).

By: Darius Kazemi Mon, 18 Apr 2005 22:15:00 +0000 Evan, Earthbound is one of my favorite games of all time. In fact, I was just playing Katamari Damacy and realizing that the two games are stylistically very similar (especially in the music).

The self-aware stuff is what Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin call a “hypermediated” piece of software, which actively calls attention to the fact that it is software. As game developers, we spend so much time seeking immersion that we sometimes forget that a hypermediated product can be awesome, too. But we risk screwing up when we aren’t careful about balancing the two styles of media in our work. Sometimes, like in Earthbound or in Eternal Darkness, hypermediacy can be excellent. Other times, it can be a pain in the butt, and truly ruin the experience by breaking the fourth wall.

These rules of thumb that I criticize are still mostly valid, we just have to be more intelligent about their application.

By: Evan Storer Mon, 18 Apr 2005 21:37:00 +0000 But what about games that actively disrupt immersion, like Earthbound? Signs that say “I can sense…that…you have a controller…in your…hands…”, among other stimuli, remind the player that they’re playing a game, and nothing more. I think there’s something to be said for that kind of experience. It introduces a certain novelty to video games that is rarely seen.

By: Craig Perko Mon, 18 Apr 2005 21:20:00 +0000 As you know, I’m huge on immersion. But that isn’t to say that I believe the player should “forget he’s playing a game” or any other trite crap like that. That NEVER HAPPENS. Players may ‘zone out’ entirely and stop considering the outside world, but at no point does the game actually BECOME reality to them.

This, however, does not lessen the importance or power of immersion. It simply means that immersion draws the player into the game such that they want to keep playing, keep exploring this world. It does not mean the player believes he is a cyborg trying to defeat an alien armada.

Although it may have memetic side effects. ;)

Side note: I notice you’ve put a highly useful gaming feed on the left side of your page. Thanks!