In The Game

One the things you’ll hear from gamers on the Internet is that certain things “pull them out of the game.”. Weather it has to do with cut scenes, graphics, QTEs, and so on, some things just break immersion for some gamers. I understand this completely, but a lot of the times when I hear these things it feels like their treating it like an objective fact that applies to every gamer and every game.

I honestly just don’t agree with that.

Now look, I hate reality, it’s dingy, tasteless, quality control is a joke, there aren’t quests to do or dragons to kill, nobody can cast magic or psychic or super powers, all the dinosaurs are dead, 99% of people either bore me or just piss me off, AND THERE ARN’T ANY CAT EARED GIRLS! I watch movies and anime, reads books and manga and, yes, play video games to get away from this crap.

I appreciate escapism and immersion, but I still acknowledge and accept that reality exists; when I’m playing a video game, I am still very much aware that I am playing a video game. Which seems to be what some of these guys are complaining about when they say something pulls them out of the game, that their video game is being a video game, and that’s just stupid.

Some people say cut scenes will pull them out of the game unless they have QTEs, some will say that non-realistic graphics pull them out of the game, sometimes it minor things that shouldn’t really matter much like invisible walls that pull them out. But it’s about the game, more specifically, it’s the player-character-world connection that makes me immersed in the game, which is different for each game.

Yakuza immerses me because the characters are actual humans, with their own thoughts, feelings, interests, styles, and behaviors. Skyrim doesn’t quite do the same because my character is a customizable avatar, they’re not a another person in Tamriel, they’re whatever I want them to be so I don’t have any real reason to care about them. What DOES immerse me in The Elder Scrolls however is how the settings, races and mythology of it all represent one in the real world; the Nords are Norse, Bretons are French, Cyrodil resembles Rome, Talos resembles Thor, etc. It’s immersive to me because the The Elder Scrolls is a fantasy world that parallels our own.

To me, immersion isn’t about making the game feel or look real, or making me feel like I’m in the game, It’s about unifying my character with game’s world. Think about it; have you ever once thought that a Super Mario or Zelda game had something that pulled you out of it? No, because the worlds and setting in those games are very abstract, and the characters, being speechless and their actions up to you, are just as abstract, unifying them with the games world. It’s the same reason why the cheap effects in black and white movies look more real then the effects in color movies; because the costumes, effects and actors were all in black and white, they were all rendered abstract and unified in a more immersive way.

Again, what immerses you in a game is entirely subjective and you don’t have to agree with me, but if your complaining that your video game is being to much like a video game or reminding you that you’re playing one, then maybe it’s time to rethink WHY your playing it in the first place.