BONUS CONTENT: Immersion in Gaming: Believing the Fantasy

This is something that I’ve discussed in many of my reviews and discussions in the past but have never really explained. I thought this week I would delve into what immersion is, how it can be achieved as well as examples both good and bad.

Immersion is just that, how immersed into a game the player can be. Believing in the fantasy and feeling as though the player is really in the game. Be it racing at Le Mans or storming the beaches of Normandy or exploring the furthest reaches of space. The are also the type of games that leave an impact on the play both while they are playing and after they have walked away from it.

So what makes a game immersive? I think the most important characteristic for creating immersion is believability. You can have the best graphics, the best gameplay but it means nothing if the player doesn’t believe they are there. For example if a game’s frame rate drops to a level where the games movements suffer from lag or if bugs cause the game to act strangely such as objects clipping into each other or animations not working as they should, they break the fantasy being built up by the player causing players to disconnect with the game. The game also has to entice the player into the game, be that an expansive gaming world/universe dripping in lore, a gripping & engaging story, fluid & smooth gameplay or something completely different.

Now, how about some examples? An example of a game lacking in immersion is Fallout 3. The story drew you in and the gameplay was smooth but with the bugs and the creepy stare everyone gives the play when talking to them breaks any believability the game has. On the other hand, both Red Dead Redemption games oozed with immersion. Everything about the game was made to lure the player in and keep them there.

Immersion is what separates a good game from a great game but on the other hand it also won’t make a bad game into a good game. For example, icing a cake will make it taste better but icing a turd will still make it a turd.

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