Immersion in Games: Are You Into It?

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Even pretty buggy games can still be immersive, up to a point. Some people regard to STALKER games to be some of the most immersive and atmospheric games ever made and they were also famous for their quirks and bugs. But i suppose in hindsight the systems in those games actually held up a lot of the time even though there was a lack of polish. Many 'AAA' games have been just as buggy, if not more buggy, than some famous diamonds in the rough.

If a game is a little rough all over i think it's easier to see past those shortcomings than it is to have a mega polsihed blockbuster game, so over designed it is devoid of any charm, suddenly develop a systemic failure. Some games are almost anti-immersion, especially those that try to be 'cinematic' but fail to secure your suspension of disbelief or become monotonous and make you fail to invest in the gameplay.

Final Fantasy 13 i think is a good example of what i would consider an 'anti-immersion' game; some people even defended that by saying it was nice you could just press a couple of buttons and have the combat system do everything for you whilst you got on with something else. I honestly heard people say they liked it because 'you could play it in the background'. In every way a game is supposed to hook in a player i see it fail.

The only game where I felt truly immersed in (however briefly) was Mass Effect 2.

Shepard was standing there looking at the city of Illium...for 5 minutes. Before I realised that I was not actually there and I was playing a game. It's those moments in games where you actually stop interacting with the game and 'soak-in' the atmosphere to get immersed.

Thanatos2k:
Regarding the argument on the first page, Yahtzee is falling into the same trap many people use when defending their subjective opinions - not realizing there is a difference between saying "I like this thing" and "This is a quality thing."

Some people are arrogant as to think that they ONLY like quality things, but this is not the case. You can like something that is bad. It's ok. It doesn't mean you're an idiot, and it also doesn't make the thing you like good.

For example, I like Cross Edge. However, I would never suggest that it's a good game. It's a terribly designed game.

Similarly, I despise Halo and everything it stands for, but I admit it is a well designed quality game.

And so on and so forth with everything subjective in the world. YES, your opinion about the quality of something can be wrong. Just having an opinion doesn't make it as valid as other more informed opinions.

Do not agree.

People like Bioshock Infinte. Fine. Like it. Love it even. Praise it.

But as far as I am concerned it has a underpresented and mediocre storyline, bad commentary on its themes, poor gunplay, pathetic AI, VERY bad level design and is obviously unfinished.
I respect the love for the games as I do for all games. I respect the dev's hard work. I respect your opinion if you like it.

I do not respect the Critic score nor the amount of awards it got.

Thanatos2k:

Again, we have shared metrics of quality in games, even if they are not entirely concrete. We know what good and bad writing is, we know what good and bad pacing is, we know what good and bad graphics are, we know what good or bad voice acting is, we know a good or bad save system (See: Shadowrun Returns), and so on. We even know what makes a good or bad tutorial.

Some stuff is more subjective than others (What makes a good battle system in an RPG?) but many things are not.

See, I'm not sure all of that is true. Now, this example is for a book not a game, but just bear with me.

A few members of my family recommended that I read Cell by Stephen King. They told me it had a fantastic, break-neck pace and powerful use of language.

I found the pacing felt rushed, everything simply happened too fast and had no weight or meaning as a result. I found the writing to be borderline amateurish; it had no "flow", it felt very stop-starty to read. The very points that we disagreed on were the pacing and quality of writing. I didn't just not-like the book, I thought it was terrible.

I'm not saying that there isn't any way to say these things are good and bad at all; a five book series that uses the entire first book to get the main character to, say, leave his hometown and actually do anything is going to be poor pacing for basically anybody, but I do think that it's more subjective than not.

ScrabbitRabbit:

Thanatos2k:

Again, we have shared metrics of quality in games, even if they are not entirely concrete. We know what good and bad writing is, we know what good and bad pacing is, we know what good and bad graphics are, we know what good or bad voice acting is, we know a good or bad save system (See: Shadowrun Returns), and so on. We even know what makes a good or bad tutorial.

Some stuff is more subjective than others (What makes a good battle system in an RPG?) but many things are not.

See, I'm not sure all of that is true. Now, this example is for a book not a game, but just bear with me.

A few members of my family recommended that I read Cell by Stephen King. They told me it had a fantastic, break-neck pace and powerful use of language.

I found the pacing felt rushed, everything simply happened too fast and had no weight or meaning as a result. I found the writing to be borderline amateurish; it had no "flow", it felt very stop-starty to read. The very points that we disagreed on were the pacing and quality of writing. I didn't just not-like the book, I thought it was terrible.

I'm not saying that there isn't any way to say these things are good and bad at all; a five book series that uses the entire first book to get the main character to, say, leave his hometown and actually do anything is going to be poor pacing for basically anybody, but I do think that it's more subjective than not.

It's a documented psychological phenomenon that the more something is praised to you beforehand, the less you'll think of it when you experience it yourself.

Thanatos2k:

It's a documented psychological phenomenon that the more something is praised to you beforehand, the less you'll think of it when you experience it yourself.

I've had hype-backlash before and the reaction is usually "it's not as good as everyone says" not "this is actually horrendous." On top of that, I'd heard a ton of praise for things like Planescape: Torment, 1984, SMT: Nocturne and Jacob's Ladder before watching/reading/playing them and these are some of my favourite pieces of media, ever. They each received far, far more praise from both my peers and (in the case of 1984 and Jacob's Ladder) from culture in general than Cell did and they're still my two favourite games, favourite book and film respectively. Hype backlash is a thing, certainly, but it's not powerful to reduce something you'd have enjoyed to something you vehemently dislike.

And besides, if pacing and quality of writing were truly objective, then would it still happen?

I could pull out a ton of other examples of disliking the pacing, writing even visuals of things that were highly praised without knowing about said praise beforehand if you like. Most people probably could.

See, while you can certainly say something like "good pacing makes for a better story" and everyone would agree, it's much harder define what good pacing is and come to a consensus. It's the same with writing and, well, most things that go into making media.

Thanatos2k:
Regarding the argument on the first page, Yahtzee is falling into the same trap many people use when defending their subjective opinions - not realizing there is a difference between saying "I like this thing" and "This is a quality thing."

This is something I worked out a few weeks back- while opinions cannot be wrong, not everything we think is an opinion is necessarily an opinion. Saying "I like Michael Bay's Transformers movies" is an opinion and you cannot be wrong about that; no-one can tell you "no you don't like them". But saying "I think Michael Bay's Transformers movies are the best sci-fi films of the last decade" isn't an opinion. It's a belief. And just like the beliefs that the world is flat, people can choose NOT to be homosexual and Scientology has a real basis in fact, it can be proven false. The Michael Bay Transformers films are PROVABLY awful movies from a cinematic and narrative standpoint. But no-one can challenge your right to enjoy them.

Also, while everyone is entitled to their opinion (or as I've already clarified, their own belief) that doesn't mean that everyone's opinions are equally valid.

Arcane Azmadi:

Thanatos2k:
Regarding the argument on the first page, Yahtzee is falling into the same trap many people use when defending their subjective opinions - not realizing there is a difference between saying "I like this thing" and "This is a quality thing."

This is something I worked out a few weeks back- while opinions cannot be wrong, not everything we think is an opinion is necessarily an opinion. Saying "I like Michael Bay's Transformers movies" is an opinion and you cannot be wrong about that; no-one can tell you "no you don't like them". But saying "I think Michael Bay's Transformers movies are the best sci-fi films of the last decade" isn't an opinion. It's a belief. And just like the beliefs that the world is flat, people can choose NOT to be homosexual and Scientology has a real basis in fact, it can be proven false. The Michael Bay Transformers films are PROVABLY awful movies from a cinematic and narrative standpoint. But no-one can challenge your right to enjoy them.

Also, while everyone is entitled to their opinion (or as I've already clarified, their own belief) that doesn't mean that everyone's opinions are equally valid.

Exactly.

Immersion is one trait that I feel tends to bounce around a lot... FFT is my recurring example for this...

I love it when I can throw myself into any part of the game and get lost in it... Story-immersion is easy, even in the PSX version, I tended to skip the typos with little more than a "huh". The depth made me care. Gameplay immersion is even more intense, because I wanted to know how everything worked. When you first pick it up, it's simplistic, and half the actions are arcane, but everything can be altered, made to work better; that level of reverse-engineering is itself enjoyable.

In-world immersion and in-game immersion are plenty different, and both are things worthy of note. ME1 was a mechanical mess, and ME3 had some horrid lines that felt like they were canned in the early 90s, but ME2 had a decent balance of both. None of them could touch Starflight (GEN), because they shot for more than they could make with what they had.

Pretty easy distinction there.

I think immersion of a game is the most important aspect. Which is why I think most multi-player games are terrible. Nothing ruins immersion like an idiot bouncing around being annoying, it destroys the atmosphere that a game is trying to create.

Well, if we're going by this definition of immersion, then I have been immersed in pretty much every game I've played.

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