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”
I 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?