When I think of a immersive environment in the digital era, I immediately think of two things: 1) Movies and 2) Video Games. I think of movies, specifically movie theatres, because they are an early attempt to engage the viewer in a separate world or environment and I think of video games because the interactivity allows viewers to almost become part of the game itself.
Movies generally seem to be a lot more fun, entertaining, or emotional when being viewed in a movie theatre. The surrounding sounds from all sides help engage the viewer, making them believe that they are in the movie itself. The darkness in the theatre allows for everyone to let their guard down and to connect to the characters in the movie and feel what they feel. I even find that when a theatre is more empty, it is harder to laugh out loud or to empathize with the characters on screen. Movies have even explored the thought of physical digital immersion with movies like Tron, where the main character gets sucked into a computer and needs to bring down an evil master computer system.
Video games have brought on a whole different kind of immersion. As Val has mentioned before with the game Sims 3, “The user more or less plays God,” which allows for enormous amounts of self customizations and brings on a whole kind of digital immersion. This kind of control, the power to change what a character looks like, what a character does, creates a kind of addictiveness that can only be fed with this type of digital immersion. It makes things that are as simple as going to work or doing the dishes extremely fun and very satisfying. Jonathan has also mentioned the Nintendo Wii and it’s added feature of allowing the user to feel and act out certain actions in the game. This type of immersion has made things even more engaging in a game. For example, instead of just pressing a button on a controller to swing a sword, you can now use the Wiimote to physically swing the sword. In ‘Patterns in Game Design’, by Staffan Björk and Jussi Holopainen, they mention six different kinds of immersion that draws users into video games which are:
- Sensory-motoric Immersion (goals to overcome that involve skill)
- Cognitive Immersion (the need to use the mind to solve a problem)
- Emotional Immersion (becoming invested into the story of the game)
- Spatial Immersion (the world in the game is extremely convincing that players believe they are actually there)
- Psychological Immersion (the game is confused for real life)
- Sensory Immersion (the players experiences a unity of time and space with the game itself)
Several of my classmates have already mentioned each type of immersion at least once which shows just how in-depth video games can be. One type of immersion I’d like to focus on is Spatial Immersion, the actual environment and place the game has created. Although games have become more and more engaging with new innovations like the Nintendo Wii, the environment of the game has always been one of the biggest reasons why games are so immersive. Like Monica has mentioned before, immersion can be easily achieved by first-person views. Take this video of F.E.A.R 2 for example:
Now, you must have been at least a little creeped out from the game. And this is just a video, think of immersing with the game by actually playing it in a darkened room all by yourself, it’s quite scary.
Patterns in Game Design By: Staffan Björk, Jussi Holopainen
And from classmates