Meet the Team Question for The Escapist Issue 57

Meet the Team Question for The Escapist Issue 57

Each week we ask a question of our staff and featured writers to learn a little bit about them and gain some insight into where they are coming from.

This week's question is:

Which sense gives you the greatest feeling of immersion?

Allen Varney, "Immersion Unexplained"

tend to become immersed based on more abstract, non-sensuous stimuli, like a vivid story or a fascinating tactical situation. But there's a lot to be said for a slow, hypnotic voice, like Garrison Keillor on the public radio show A Prairie Home Companion.

Joe Blancato, Associate Editor

I'm all about sound. Graphics, gameplay, whatever. But sound is what completely envelopes me in a game.

Russ Pitts, "Not with a Bang, but a Click," Associate Editor

I prefer sensory depravation.

Jon Hayter, Producer

Well - maybe it's because I'm an artist, but it has to be visually immersive. It's funny how our demands on visuals change with general expectations. Years ago I found UO incredibly immersive. I felt surrounded by all the trappings of a detailed fantasy world.

Nowadays, it's not possible for UO to immerse me. Only Oblivion has managed that.

Julianne Greer, Executive Editor

Hmmm. This is tough; each of our senses is limited by our own technology. Sound can be very immersive, for example hearing footsteps coming from behind, but that would require an audio output device behind the head. Same with sight - we are limited by our own televisions or monitors. Oddly enough, with some games, I think that touch would be the easiest way to immerse people. Holding the guitar controller while playing Guitar Hero, or swinging the Wii controller while playing tennis felt very Real. Game and hardware developers ultimately have more control over tactile input devices than other aspects of the game experience.

Now, we turn it over to you: Which sense gives you the greatest feeling of immersion?

Permalink

Thief.
That is to say:
Narrative in a level through overheard conversations and texts leading to charecters
Complex interaction with AI
Visually stimulating architecture, which works as a real place
Sound
Power
Danger

I think it has less to do with any one part of a game (graphics, sound, story etc) and more to do with if the game as a whole can draw you in so that you forget that other things are going on around you, like say, not realising that day is turning to night around you, or forgetting that you are actually holding a controller and pushing buttons. I felt this way last while playing god of war, right up until one of the little button press mini-games came up and I had to actually look at the controller to see which button was which (I've only owned a PS2 for a couple weeks).
Some other examples of games that have made me completely forget my surroundings are various zelda and mario games, mario kart DS, starcraft, warcraft 3 and prince of persia: sands of time.
Plenty of other games are fun, sure. But immersion is, IMHO, when you start playing early on a sunday morning and the next thing you know it's time for bed again and you haven't eaten all day.

Oddly enough, I don't find that popular game everybody's playing called "life" to be that immersive. I mean sure, its graphics are great and the physics and AI really can't be beat, but the gameplay sucks. The learning curve is just way too high, I hear that it takes years just to get basics. Too many games nowadays are trying to imitate it; it's not a game we need more of.

When I was younger, eight or nine, I was a huge WWII buff. I'd hang out at the library pulling all the Time compilations off the shelves and reading them cover to cover. I'd catch re-runs of Midway, A Bridge Too Far, or The Final Countdown on WGN TV and marvel at it.

One day my dad brought home Battlehwaks 1942 from the local Egghead and I flipped. I would take the manual to bed with me, along with those Time books, and read about Coral Sea, frigate drafts, torpedo design, stall angles, pitch, Immelman's, and medals. I started a career and made it my mission to stop every asault, American and Japanese, that was thrown at my task force. Dive bombing took months to master. My folks made me take a break when I started having nightmares of spiraling down, flames ripping into my back, and scattering pieces of my plane into the sea. I still remember that moment, after a crash, when the screen went blank and I didn't know if if I had ditched or dissintegrated on impact.

I tried to capture the same feeling with The Blue Max, or Heroes of the 357th, but it just wasn't the same.

Meophist:
Oddly enough, I don't find that popular game everybody's playing called "life" to be that immersive. I mean sure, its graphics are great and the physics and AI really can't be beat, but the gameplay sucks. The learning curve is just way too high, I hear that it takes years just to get basics. Too many games nowadays are trying to imitate it; it's not a game we need more of.

This just made my Monday morning. Thank you.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here