: Editorial: What Is Immersion To You?

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Editorial: What Is Immersion To You?

The entire purpose of interactive entertainment is to immerse the participant in an engrossing, exciting alternate reality that fulfills us in a number of different ways.

However, there is no such thing as "universal immersion;" i.e., there's no video game that has the capability of dragging in and embracing every last player on the planet. So the question is, what absorbs you? What allows you to forget your real-world cares and responsibilities, if only for a short while at the end of a hard day? What is the type of game that makes you look at the clock after a seemingly short span of time and go, "damn, I've been playing that long?!" For some, it's a long, epic RPG with a gripping storyline and addictive gameplay. For others, it's the endlessly invigorating online action in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 or Killzone 2. Some immerse themselves in a virtual season with their favorite sports franchise, many require a bit of innovation or originality to feel truly swept away, and a few need the challenge of brain-busting puzzle titles.

Personally, as I get older and being the ardent reader of literary classics that I am, I'm putting a large emphasis on atmosphere and overall polish, with a dash of originality. For instance, no game made me smile as much as Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and no game sucked me into the story and made me appreciate plot intricacies as much as Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. And say what you will about turn-based, but I still say the old-school RPGs like the older Final Fantasy, Suikoden, and Wild ARMs games kept me pinned to my seat. Sometimes, though, it's for a very special reason. Take Lost Odyssey, for instance (one of my favorites): the writing of the actual story itself wasn't exactly fantastic, but the writing in those dream sequences was downright spectacular. I know not many will appreciate that, but they were truly a highlight of the game for me.

And as games become more and more like movies, I'm starting to rely on artistry, emotional sensibilities, and/or solid character development. I received glimpses of unique artistry - in both the environment and gameplay - with the likes of ICO and Shadow of the Colossus. For the latter, it was the beautiful contrast that got to me; the mere fact that a little, albeit dedicated, hero must take down a mammoth creature a hundred times his size and strength. These days, I think I just have to believe in what I'm playing. I'm not merely talking about realism or authenticity...it's more that I have to understand exactly what the developer is attempting to do, and then relish that effort because it resonates within me. In other words, I guess it's becoming more like viewing pieces of art in a museum.

I can enjoy various genres for various reasons, provided they're done well. So in the end, immersion for me comes down to how well the designer completed his or her vision, and that's the best way I can explain it.

2/5/2010 Ben Dutka

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Legacy Comment System (60 posts)

Friday, February 05, 2010 @ 10:00:00 PM

Love the pic Ben. You couldn't have chosen a better image for this article. Immersion is all about atmosphere to me. For all it's simplicity, SOTC is one of the most immersive games I've ever played. I was completely drawn into it.

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Friday, February 05, 2010 @ 10:17:46 PM

Same here, I just played the whole game again a few weeks ago.

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Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 11:18:13 AM

SotC is a great example of what can be done in a videogame as far as immersion. The story isnt huge and complex like an RPG, and theres not a ton of little things to customize and make personal, theres not a whole lot of anything, to be precise, and thats what makes the game so great. Theres an atmosphere of mystery and authenticity that makes the player want to learn more about the world, much like the character. Much like ICO, SotC works by connecting the player's curiosity with the character's, and thats something most games miss when they try to cram everything down the player's throat.

While i enjoy big, huge rpgs they tend to fall short in the immersion aspect because they often try to do too much and it doesnt always flow together into something the player can get emotionally involved in.

But then we can look at a series like MGS and see a massive complex story that can immerse the player instantly as well. Theres just enough little details to make everything believable and make Snake a character one can relate to. Games like Mass Effect have a huge detailed universe, but everything feels so distant from the player, like you are controlling the character from far away instead of being there in the action.

So i suppose it all comes down to finesse. Its not about how much or how little the game has, its all about the delivery. Giving the right amount of information at the right time and making sure the character and the player are always on the same page, always thinking alike, and completing the journey as one, instead of feeling like you are just guiding the character through the story.

Last edited by NoSmokingBandit on 2/6/2010 11:19:41 AM

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Friday, February 05, 2010 @ 10:06:39 PM

The last game that totally absorbed me was BioShock. Before that, Fallout 3.

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Friday, February 05, 2010 @ 10:38:58 PM

somehow i just couldn't get into fallout 3, i loved the game for a while but then it just started losing me, great game, just didnt turn out to be for me, the last game i played that REALLY drew me in was killzone 2, it was the first FPS that i actually clocked in 120+ hrs, and i loved evry minute of it.

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Friday, February 05, 2010 @ 11:01:04 PM

Funny thing. I actually hated Fallout 3 and traded it in a long time ago. However I seen it cheap in a bargain bin just yesterday and I bought it thinking it would just kill some time and I was desperate for an RPG fix. I started playing tonight at 7pm, just looked at the clock right now and it's 5am. wtf?

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Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 4:35:03 AM

I can understand very well why Fallout3 seems to be disliked by many - even RPG fans. It's rather slow paced and kind of confusing, especially at first, and it was only because I loved the post-apocalyptic setting that I had the patience to play long enough to start discovering the amazing amount of content that is well hidden behind the grey ruins. Amazing.

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Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 6:42:50 PM

fallout 3 and infamous did it to me

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Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 10:39:51 PM

I love fallout 3, but because bethesda was lazy and decided to just make a crappy port for the ps3, I can hardly even play it without it freezing constantly now.

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Kiwi of DOOM
Friday, February 05, 2010 @ 10:06:54 PM

I think for me it's a mixture of the story, the characters, and the 'world' for me- in that order. I find it's the story that makes me pay attention and get drawn in, the characters that make the situation feel real, and the world to wrap it all up into one.

Final Fantasy X really did that for me. Legend of Dragoon and MGS did too back in the ps1 days as well.

Last edited by Kiwi of DOOM on 2/5/2010 10:07:47 PM

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Friday, February 05, 2010 @ 10:29:32 PM

I absolutely agree about the dream sequences of Lost Odyssey. I found myself wishing that writer had done the rest of the game as well those were some intensely powerful stories.

I actually find myself getting immersed in many games fairly easily so I tend to play a broad range of genres depending on my mood.. but above all story is key for me.

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Monday, February 08, 2010 @ 11:12:51 AM

Yeah man ,Ocarina of time ...Definitely got hooked in the land of Hyrule.Agreed also with the rest of the list.

Last edited by Silent_J on 2/8/2010 11:13:38 AM

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Friday, February 05, 2010 @ 11:15:17 PM

I'd only disagree with GTA4, but only because I feel that Liberty City & Niko resemble where I'm from far less than San Andreas & CJ. I cannot relate to it as much, therefore I found San Andreas more immersive. But for me, an immersive game is one that has a good, unexpected storyline. Also I would like to obviously be looking at an enviroment that I could relate to, & be able to say "wow, I feel like I've been here before".

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Friday, February 05, 2010 @ 11:23:19 PM

I think most of the games I've ever owned have done that. Because I like to play around in all my games they all have a tendency to pull me in and make me forget about the real world.

Take Skate for example, towards the end I would spend so much time trying to perfect the tricks for the beat the pro challenges.

Or when I'm playing Socom, No story line to speak of, but you get online with a good group of guys, and next thing you know you've played all day. (Helps if you've joined the super fantabulous PSX Socom clan too! Head to the forums to sign up! We're recruiting!!)

Unless the game is unbelievably brutal, (which I don't usually buy them, thanks for the reviews Ben! lol) then I can get sucked into them pretty good. Doing all the little side quests in Fallout 3 kept me well entertained, as well as collecting feathers in AC2.

I do remember a couple games on the PS2 that did not grab my attention, Such as 4x4 EVO...but for them most part if it's a well done game, I'll spend hours getting absorbed in the world that is created for me.

Like the old Sony Motto goes, Live in your world, Play in ours.

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Friday, February 05, 2010 @ 11:39:56 PM

Oh and I took french immersion in school, but that doesn't really apply here...;p

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Friday, February 05, 2010 @ 11:26:59 PM

<<< demon souls >>>>>>

concentrating so hard i forgot I had class an hour ago. lol

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Kiwi of DOOM
Friday, February 05, 2010 @ 11:34:42 PM

The only thing that game brought out in me was rage. The pure, unbridled fury of a true rage-quit. Good though it was, my stress level became way too high for me to finish.

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Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 12:16:45 AM

Definitely Demons Souls. Unbelieveable atmosphere.

Other recent immersive games:

Dragon Age
Mass Effect
Fallout 3

Usually I think a game needs to have a deep story and characters (and good gameplay). If thats the case I usually get sucked in.

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Friday, February 05, 2010 @ 11:36:49 PM

For me it's not really the story at all. I'm all about the gameplay. The story can be great, but if the gameplay sucks, it's hard to keep going. I can lose hours exploring worlds, crafting objects, blasting baddies and collecting loot.

Take SotC as an example. When you start that game, what's the story? Save a loved one. Nothing to get too excited about. Then off you go doing some awesome gaming. At the end, the story kicks it high gear and you're left with a game that was both fun and satisfying. But it wasn't the story that got me there, it was the jaw dropping gameplay.

Now when you have a game that has great gameplay AND a great story, then you're really in for a treat. Therefore just about all RPGs are my favorite time wasters, but I can just as easily hop online with MW2 and play Domination until the sun comes up.

Oh, and I loved Lost Odyssey too, but as you say, the story was just ok. The turn based battles were the best I've ever played.

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Friday, February 05, 2010 @ 11:41:52 PM

The Kingdom Hearts series and all the Zelda the wind waker games. I personally don't like the other ones (Including Ocarina).

Last edited by SnipeySnake on 2/5/2010 11:45:53 PM

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Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 12:19:03 AM

wow, what? how can you like the wind waker series and not the others? wind waker wasn't nearly as great as Ocarina of Time or A Link To the Past (my fav haha) I actually didn't care for wind waker at all, maybe that's why there's such a difference...oh well I love me some KH tho =) want some KH3 soon as possible, also Birth By Sleep

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Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 9:38:38 AM

Donno, I've played them all but wind waker was the funnest. Mainly because of exploring on sea, the awesome graphics, and...well everything about it.

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Friday, February 05, 2010 @ 11:51:24 PM

for me its a combination of everything the full package if you will. in my ps1 days it was ff7 anything resident evil and just about anything else, because i was just so blown away at the playstation id engross myself into any game i could get my paws on. then, in my ps2 days it was SOTC GOW 1 and 2 and anything GTA. this gen has been MGS4, uncharted 1 and 2 killzone 2 and i know that heavy rain is going to make me lose the entire concept of time until i get my hands on GOW III! there have been many more but those just stand out to me right now.

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Friday, February 05, 2010 @ 11:55:49 PM

God of War gets me every time with how much everything feels pleasant and theres not blood stains everywhere, even though you are killing everything in sight. It's relaxing, yet still fun to slaughter people.

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Friday, February 05, 2010 @ 11:58:29 PM

I forgot Ratchet and Clank, TimeSplitters, and Katamari Damacy. Those games have burned up so much of my life.

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Friday, February 05, 2010 @ 11:58:16 PM

The picture is spot-on.

For a game to be totally immersive to me, a few things have to happen:

1. Realism. This can be literal realism (like how the guns feel in Killzone 2) or fantasy realism (I know the geography of Spira just as well as Earth's; FFX contained a brilliantly realized, and to me believable, world).
2. Character development. If I don't know why a character is doing the things they are doing, why should I care? It's a drawback if a character's motivations seem impractical or unbelievable.
3. Exciting gameplay. This can take many forms of course. The word exciting is a little misleading too, I suppose. SOTC was not constantly "exciting," but I consider it one of the most immersive experiences of all time, much like ICO. inFAMOUS was immersive (on a smaller level) because the gameplay was fast-paced and empowering.
4. Epicness. I want to feel like I'm part of something big, like my actions are important and shape the consequences of the characters. Games don't always give you full control of these things, but a game like Uncharted 2 can certainly make you feel connected to the character and give you the sense that you are influencing the story. God of War is a perfect example of this. It has a linear gameplay style, but I feel like I am a part of Kratos' experience and a part of me wants vengeance just as much as he does.
I'll come back to this if I think of anything else.

Last edited by Kowhoho on 2/6/2010 12:01:57 AM

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Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 5:09:06 AM

Great points, and I agree with them.


"i am home"

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Sunday, February 07, 2010 @ 5:13:16 PM

Thank you! I had to think about it for a minute.

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Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 12:01:21 AM

For a game to be immersive, I have to like the characters in the story. I have to care about them and about what they are trying to achieve or save for it to matter to me.

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Deleted User
Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 12:33:49 AM

Last game that absorbed me was Prince Of Persia for PS3. I loved the simplicity, artistry, character animation, the dialog between the Prince and Elika, etc. I beat that game in 8 hours! I beat it last May.. been almost 7 months and not one single game has engulf me thereafter. THANK YOU, UBISOFT!!

Last edited by n/a on 2/6/2010 12:34:25 AM

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Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 9:53:48 AM

I can't beat the fat boss D;. Everytime i try to knock off a cliff or something, i click square like my life depended on it, yet he still beats me....

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Deleted User
Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 12:43:31 AM

Like to add, Final Fantasy VII was the first game to ever hit me enlightenment. Amazing characters, god-hearing music, etc. I even mourn Aeris (screw the new name :P ) My poor young mind. ( btw I was 10 when I played thru FF7)

Also Indigo Prophecy engulfed me specialy the freedom of choices, though scripted, still gave me much joy. That leads to Heavy Rain!! I could care less about reviews. I bought my PS3 February 2008 on the assuption Heavy Rain was to be release. It did not happen. It's a year later.. and a wait I definitely joyed! THREE MORE WEEKS! THREE MORE WEEKS!!!

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Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 5:01:44 AM

lol, it's not a new name, in english it was spelled Aeris, it was always Aerith, haha

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Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 11:16:50 AM

Have you heard vinyl fantasy VII.

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Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 1:15:08 AM

2 words.
heavy rain.

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Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 1:15:12 AM

Personally, I cannot get immersed during online play of any game.

I will have to agree with most that story and character development are what get my attention. I would play UC2 until my fingers went numb. Also, Batman:AA really had my attention.

I would say out of all the first person shooters, Call of Duty: World at War had the best SP story and characters. I loved that game and played through the campaign probably 8 or 9 times.

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Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 1:16:19 AM

God of war 2 was the most recent last-gen gem for me not surprisingly. Bioshock was the first of this generation, normally I get bored by FP games but I loved its atmosphere. Dragon age was the most recent timesink, finally beat it about a couple weeks ago but I know I'll have a couple more characters started before the expansion comes out.
And of course tactics is my all-time fav for ps1.
So graphics help,ie uncharted 2, but gameplay and story are the real meat of a game.
I hardly ever go online either,if I want action with no story whatsoever I prefer it be splitscreen since its hard to care about beating someone I can't see.

Last edited by Nerull on 2/6/2010 1:19:45 AM

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Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 1:51:40 AM

An excellent and thought provoking article Ben.

Immersion. Well I have to say that it depends - on the game genre.

I can spend hours tinkering away at the various things in a 'God' game such as Civilization, Sim City and RTS games. Click - click - click - click....Oh dear, 4 hours just passed, where did they go?

However, true immersion? Not the kind where time disappears but where there is involvement in the game/game world? The kind of immersion that has me glued to the game like when I read a novel that I literally can't put down until it's done? The last game that did that was Uncharted 2, I played that game for hours on end, my wife was captured by the adventure aspects of the game, but got fed up when I played through on Crushing mode...LOL

Another game that sucked time was Burnout Paradise, I think that was because it was just so 'right'. It felt like you were really free to drive anywhere and there was so much to do.

However the ultimate immersion for me was the Xenosaga games. Especially Xenosaga Episodes 1 and 3. The first time I played Episode 1, I got about a third of the way through before my wife was hooked. We watched cut scene after cut scene way into the small hours of the morning, and she even stuck with it through the game play. We got sucked in by the story, the characters, the voice work, the music, everything. Bu the final climactic scenes we were at about 3 in the morning when I hit the final battle and work beckoned later that day, yet we could not tear ourselves away until it was done. With Episode 3 it was similar, but in the end we were glued to the spot despite the melancholy ending, we both shed a tear or two because of the fate of a couple of characters.

But we were literally glued to the spot for that.

I think the biggest thing for us was the characters, and with it being an RPG we were able to choose which character led the party and customize to our heart's content. So perhaps there is more connection with the characters in the game due to that? The story, and atmosphere created by the music and presentation all count for something in that, but I think that the characters and story are the key elements for 'immersion'. Without immersion, it's just a game.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 10:42:18 AM

I always loved Xenosaga. :)

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Kiwi of DOOM
Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 12:39:05 PM

Even now, though i'm on my first play through of the series (halfway through part II) it has the power to draw me away from the next gen graphics and online gameplay of my ps3. I don't know how many time i've been sitting there playing any game from MW2 to Dragon Age and finding this urge to play Xenosaga because i simply feel draw to it. I think that right there shows that graphics and multiplayer aspects of games don't mean everything. They're nice, don't get me wrong, but not 100% vital.

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Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 10:58:54 PM


My wife and I have talked about the plot/story of the three games over and over, trying to figure out what the ending meant, and what the story really means. Probably the biggest talking points revolve around (perhaps unsurprisingly) Shion's personal history and her connections with both Momo and KOS-MOS (and of course Kevin, Mizrahi and Jr.). They really manage to pack in a lot of characterization and story in these games.

I think that one of the oddest aspects of immersion in this game is that when playing it there are time when you find yourself getting angry on behalf of certain characters and sometimes you find yourself playing with more pace, hurrying through things just as the characters would be doing. Uncharted (1 & 2)is really the only other game I've played in the last 10 years that has managed that.

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Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 3:06:09 AM

I gotta agree with what you said at the end there Ben. I need to understand what the developers were trying to give me, and yet still enjoy it.

When I say enjoy it I mean most all games I can enjoy from the typical little puzzle game like bejeweled, to the vast vareties of RPG's. There are some games I can look at and say ok that wasn't fun. But the genre does not matter to me. In fact I had more immersion in Uncharted 2, than I did Oblivion for example. Both games are awesome an among my favorites (UC2 being on top) but the reason I use that example is because given the obvious reasons Oblivion puts you deep in this fantasy world, that could arguably put any gamer into a deep immersion with tons of quests, lands, and story. That goes for alot of RPG, but for me that isn't necessarily the most immersive game. Even a linear experience like Uncharted 2 stands out above all. Well I should correct myself and say the Uncharted series. Those games immersed me into a beatiful environment, with classy characters, that I wanted to see a happy ending for. I wanted to know the outcome so much more. Point is a linear experience regardless of how deep people say RPG's are can create a very meaningful experience.

Aother game I'm immersed in right now is MAG. I contemplated this game for awhile was very skeptical. But regardless picked it up a few days ago, and I cannot put it down, no other game has been in my system since. The MP is just so well done, and the giant maps have me glued to my controller.

All in all before this gets any longer. I need a game where one, I knew what the devs were trying to do for me as a gamer, and where they were taking the game. Second I need an angaging story and when I say that it has to drag me in, with characters, the land which the game plays, and the plot all included. Third I'm not a graphics whore, I look at MAG and say yeah ok its got average graphics but the game itself is magnificent. But I will say looking at beautiful landscapes such in those of UC2, or KillZone 2, even MGS4, and obviously tons of others, put me in my own paradise where I can escape for sometime. I honestly have gotten lost in games a bunch, and I couldnt even name all the one's that grabbed me the most. Most all grab me in some way whether it be the action or the scenery, or the story.

I have no excuses for playing games, it's a hobby of mine that I hope I can enjoy with my children someday. But if I had to tell someone why I love games so much is the IMMERSION of them. Not to escape my life but to feel free and releaved and have my mind elsewhere for a given time, and actually enjoy that time while im at it. Conclusion teer may be a few factors that set other immersive games apart but all in all, any game can get me to dive deep into it all things considered.

Sorry so long. Havn't posted in awhile, making up for it I guess.

Last edited by bigrailer19 on 2/6/2010 3:10:22 AM

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Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 3:12:01 AM

MGS4 was the last game that i really grabbed me. Others are fun interesting enough, but the last game i played that completely took my attention away from time and reality would have to be MGS4.

Before that, Final Fantasies did it to me.

Last edited by Jawknee on 2/6/2010 3:13:05 AM

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Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 4:49:22 AM

Immersive games to me are games I classify as experiences rather than just a game. This generation aside, glancing at some of my collection, Metroid Prime, Burnout 3, Midway Arcade Classics, SSX3, and Timesplitters 2. Really too many games to list. Another way to put it would be games I wanted to keep playing even after I beat them because they were so fun rather than chasing trophies. Games before the days of people who stress out over K/D ratios and win percentage. Games when we were too young to care...

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Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 5:12:25 AM

Well every other GTA kept me stuck to my seat as I felt there was a LOT to do. Its funny how I doze off at the beginning of any new Final Fantasy, when you're being tutored on the gameplay and roaming aimlessly in the 'towns' and all, its quite boring. When you get past that, then the real FF begins.

Last edited by www on 2/6/2010 5:12:45 AM

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Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 5:43:16 AM

LI's dream sequences were a high point for me too... Which makes me say that immersion to me is being sucked into a new but convincing world. Something that inspires emotion and peaks my curiosity like story(when I was young I felt sad when Lavitz died, and more recently I gave The Boss a salute when I stood in front of her grave...).

I guess the point I am trying to make is that what gets me into a game is the character. Playing a video game is like reading a good book, I fuse my own mind with the qualities of the character that I am using be it Dart, Solid/Naked Snake/Raiden, Dante, Jasper Rogue, or any other of the many main characters I've had the pleasure of being. When I play the games I become the main characters.

I see their worlds through their eyes, I feel their pain,emotions, weakness, and strengths (LIMIT BREAK!). Becoming these characters offers an escape from the monotony of reality. The only times that I cannot entirely become the other character is when it is a multiplayer game or is like Monster Hunter where you create your own... In the latter case I can just place myself in that world, seeing it as if I were there, and I'll tell you... the Tigrex scared the s*** out of me.

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Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 6:06:14 AM

simple, a game that involves me with it's story. a good story, good acting. uncharted 2 did this and i really felt for the characters, i did feel a little sad when elena was 'dying'.
MGS4 did this too, the wedding scene at the end, where otacon explains to sunny where snake has gone, i cried a little, it was that good. and when drebin was explaining all that stuff, i really got into it.
if you can hook me with the characters and the story and the emotion, you've got me.
addicitiveness, no. i play mw2 a lot online. but im not immersed. i just wanna PWN!

just remembered fallout 3. wasn't as good as the previous two, but by far still very good.

Last edited by Zorigo on 2/6/2010 6:07:03 AM

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Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 6:23:29 AM

Let's see, on the first Playstation the games which immersed me most were the those of the crash bandicoot series and believe it or not, tekken 2, couldn't get away from that, especially with a friend over, just playing through every characters story line fights. Never actually had a final fantasy on the PS1...
On the Playstation 2, it was most of all, my first game on that system, Kingdom Hearts, followed by it's sequel Kingdom Hearts 2, just awesome games those were to me.
My first and only final fantasy was a great immersive experience too, Final Fantasy X.
Next to those lie the Ratchet and clank and Jak and Daxter series, those can just tick time away. The tekken on the PS2, in contrary to the PS1 one I have, didn't do such a good job, probably because I was older then and had played those awesome RPG's.
Moving on to the last system. We'll start with Assassin's creed, even though it was a bit on the slow end sometimes, it did a good job on dragging you into the world, haven't gotten a chance to play the second one though, maybe after a couple of games I relly need to buy the following months. Next up was Infamous which was really awesome. also the continuation of the Ratchet and clank series.
And the of course Uncharted one and two, with the first one me and my best friend played through it in one eight hour run(if you don't count dinner), we could, since I was home alone for ten days, though I was never really alone in my home, had other peepz over most of the time. Now I've worked through those, let's get in to one demo I played today which did a very good job at immersing the player too, if you've read my story on one demo's article from yesterday you know it is Heavy Rain, with awesome looks and an intruiging story I would give the game, just based on the demo at least a 9/10, I knew I was immersed when a certain quick time event got me clinched to the screen, moving from side to side talking to the TV screen.
AND NOW a very special message concerning two games which were mentioned in this thread already: my copy of the god of war collection arrived!!! whilst I was writing this message, so now I'll immerse myself in the first of the trilogy.
Good day, good night, and good morning, cyaz all soon on my next post...

Last edited by FullmetalX10 on 2/6/2010 6:24:17 AM

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Banky A
Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 6:40:27 AM

Shadow of the Colossus. That's one definition of immersion.

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Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 8:24:56 AM

The Team Silent Silent Hill games had the ultimate immersion, specifically 2.

The mystery of it, the mysterious tone, the dream-like oddness of it all and the fact that it all makes you want to know as much as you can about the situation.
And it's done in an extremely artistic way, the story speaks to so many players in different ways, the fact people are still discovering more aspects of the deepest game ever made, is astonishing.

I love it when im reading a brand new write up about its depth and meaning and the writer begins to inject new thought like "There is enough evidence to maybe suggest that the body of Mary is in the car he used to get to Silent Hill" it just makes me wow at the thought that went into the experience.

9 years on, Silent Hill 2 is still being deciphered today by players who got so immersed by its unrivalled atmosphere, arthouse storytelling, music, sound, acting and just about everything else that they can't help but, keep studying the picture until all is seen.

Ultimate immersion.

Other notable ones:

Team Ico
Deus Ex
Heavy Rain
Many Rpgs
Broken Sword
Demons Souls
Fallout 3
Metal Gear Solid

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Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 10:50:13 AM

immersion is, to me, making me feel like my actions have consequence. Lots of great old RPGs will make you feel this way on the first run through, but it takes a truly special game to do it every time.

games try to do it nowadays, but really the ambiguous story types in SOTC, where the player interprets the majority of what's going on on a personal level, is the best example of this, but its a slippery quality that often eludes studios that try to bring it to the forefront.

that said, immersion isnt the end all be all for me. im a firm believer that a game should be fun to play; if its not something i enjoy doing on a shallow level its not going to be a game i remember fondly, regardless of imagery, voice acting, graphics, or how "immersive (sp?)" it is.

a tech demo could show any of the above qualities. granted, these add to the experience, but if the game isnt fun the rest is wasted energy. least thats how i see it.

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Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 11:36:54 AM

Damn this made me go back a few years but for me the JRPGs (final fantasy X to be specific), Metal Gear Solid and Gran Turismo those games really get me out of my world and responsibilities and the new Kid who did this was Uncharted 2.

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Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 1:59:15 PM

For me it is the story that keeps me coming back. This is because I always want to know what happens to the character(s)/story next. Always been a GTA and MGS fan though.

Playing online makes me lose a lot of time especially now that I have joined a gaming clan for MW2. We all jumped ship the other night and downloaded Battlefield Bad Company 2. I ended up playing till the early hours of the morning and not realising the time. This was of course after the usual "Oh go on then one more game before I go" :)

Last edited by tlpn99 on 2/6/2010 2:03:13 PM

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Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 4:51:31 PM

Nice piece. It takes a story driven jrpg for me, but recently even a wrpg can do it. I lost myself so much in Fallout 3 that I thought it would be cool nukes killed the world in 2012 and I could become a wasteland scavenger. THATs commitment. The clock melted on that game.

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Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 7:37:05 PM

Immersion or sucked in? Dead space is immersive since there is no HUD so I FEEL LIKE I AM THERE, Civilization is a suck in because I can play for days with out feeling time pass BUT I DO NOT FEEL LIKE I AM ABE LINCOLN.
I think most people in the comments don't understand the nuance, but to answer: SotC and Ico are immersive (yes, I felt a real love for Yorda), Uncharted2 sort of, . FPS are the opposite of immersive (my vision doesn't bob when I walk (it's like dressing as a girl for Hallowe'en when you are overly aware you are in drag).

Last edited by chucknasty on 2/6/2010 7:37:47 PM

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Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 9:37:22 PM

I'd say any game that has an intriguing story, which, where i empathise with the characters in wrapped in a strong, plot. I have to get emotionally involved and care otherwise i have no reason to perform the action on a game and go through the situation.

While there are some games which i enjoy just for the gameplay, the nice thing about most online games is that you can personalise your character, which to me makes it me more involved. I cant stand playing a game then feel like ive just wasted my day... I even feel like that sometimes on some good games at times for instance Metal Gear Online, i used to be obsessed with it, i'd be on there for hours but i eventually got to the point question the point of playing it and lead to Existential issues.... Now i'm at uni i cant really play online games.... They wont let me have the rigfht connection i need, but overall i guess i dont mind. If i want to play multiplayer games, i'll play Crash Team Racing with my flatmates :D

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Saturday, February 06, 2010 @ 10:37:09 PM

I've been playing MAG non-stop lately, I've always been a fan of fps games, so I was overjoyed when I found a shooting game that actually required teamwork and skill, instead of a game in which your entire team gets owned because some 12 year old noob found a good spot to camp *Cough*Modern Warfare 2*Cough*

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Sunday, February 07, 2010 @ 9:02:48 AM

Relevancy and urgency of the story is my answer. A rare and fleeting treat of late.

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King James
Sunday, February 07, 2010 @ 11:26:59 AM

Uncharted 2. U2 had my pull an accidental all-nighter. Games haven't had one of those effects on me since my High School days. I wanna say GTA3, maybe?

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Sunday, February 07, 2010 @ 7:57:19 PM

For convenience's sake, whenever you see h/h, and h/s, It's simply his/her, and he and she respectively.

There are a collection of features that pull me into a game.

In order of importance, at first I'd say the depth of the main character (protagonist) in the story. The protagonist can do one of these two things for you. One, h/s can drag you through the story, or h/s can guide you through it (the latter being the positive). To be completely logical, the main character won't always be as interesting as we want h/h to be. Most developers possess different values and the developers values will be in a way, displayed in the game they create. Some focus on story, others gameplay, some push visuals to their limits, etc. However, to me, the main character is the most important inclusion.

The protagonist will be the one who (in most cases) you will be playing as the entire story. The protagonist's voice, h/h appearance, h/h ultimate goal in the story, h/h values, h/h personality, h/h love interest(s) if any, h/h intentions, and h/h past all affect what we know about the protagonist and therefore it affects what we may feel for h/h depending on what level of depth the character has. Simply put, the more defined the protagonist is, the more we are able to connect and bond with that character (It goes for other characters too).

The reason why I didn't make story the #1 element for my immersion in games is because a good story can only be carried through by the character who you are playing as. A shallow character with no ambitions, no personality, no motivation, and overall just lacking character, will make a potentially great story in dreamland, a nightmare. I say this because usually the protagonist contributes a lot into the story. He usually does his share in shaping the events in the story for the better or for worse. Kratos in GOW, Keats in Folklore, Isaac in Dead Space, take your pick. The story can revolve around the main character in Kratos's case. As for the reverse, the main character can follow events revolving around another person, time, place or thing like with Keats (even though he isn't the main character, he still contributes).

Anyways, to sum this pile of words up, the protagonist plays a very important role in the game and it's best if you enjoy h/h role.

Story comes in a very close second because a story is what keeps you hooked. Playing a game with a horrible story is like fishing with no hook. I guess I'll say that both the story and protagonists have a symbiotic relationship, where if one fails, the other will surely fail as well. Back to the fishing example...if we are the fish, how are we ever able to latch onto a hook-less fishing pole. It's the same with the story. Throughout a great story, feelings should surge, you should never feel the same emotions constantly throughout the entire story. The story uses the characters in whatever way it pleases and leaves us out of the loop with seldom foreshadowing moments hinting as to the fate of their choices. Story is up there in immersion for me.

Won't explain the rest like I did story and the protagonists but I will state them.

Other important elements to a game:

Art Design
General Character Development
Mystery Elements
Sorry to drag...seems like I got carried away... ;)

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