‘Gameplay’. ‘Replay value’. ‘Systems’. ‘Balance’. I hear games advertised as many things, but immersion is no longer one of them. When watching the video in the post below about Shadowgate, the reviewer makes a great point with how much immersion the game made. In fantasy based video games, immersion is very important.
What is the difference between Super Mario World and New Super Mario Brothers U?
Super Mario Brothers games immersed the player. No one feels immersed in the New Super Mario Brothers games anymore. NSMB feels more like playing someone’s obstacle course than going through a world. I feel this way with Zelda as well. The games feel so artificial. Perhaps this is what I was getting at with complaints that the games are no longer about content.
Above: Super Metroid’s magic is its immersion.
Take a look at this game. It is from 1990. It is 22 years old.
You can just feel the immersion oozing through your computer monitor. Not only do you have face to face talks with pilots in the bar, the briefing is done in first person. Note how you play the game. It is as if you are actually there. If you press the F1 keys, you could look out the windows. So if you thought someone was shooting behind you, you could look over your shoulder and be like, “Yep! I’m getting shot at!” While the later Wing Commander games devolved more into the ‘story’ and having you watch other characters, Wing Commander 1 is the most fun with how it nailed the immersion.
The games responsible for the RTS explosion utilized immersion to great effect. Check out how everyone talks to you as if you were actually there.
Warcraft 2 addressed the player in first person as well.
Above: See 2:05 to see the game briefings address the player as if you were actually in the game.
Perhaps the magic of some well loved classics is due to the immersion. Notice how everyone talks to you as if you were in the game. They don’t talk to an avatar. They talk TO YOU.
Why are first person shooter games so popular? Perhaps it is because immersion is fun.
I remember Richard Garriott saying Ultima differentiated itself from the other RPG games (even though Ultima invented the genre) because it focused more on the immersion and not on the stats.
Minecraft’s success is likely due to how much immersion the game creates.
I do distinctly remember during the early 90s and late 80s, games focused on being about immersion. Why do you need better graphics? Immersion. Why do you need background music? Immersion. Would Super Mario Brothers have the player in immersion if not for the blue sky? Probably not.
I think the complaints about NSMB series is about how the series is not even trying to go for immersion. Miiverse will take us out of immersion. Super Mario Brothers is more than just level design.
Above: Remember when Zelda was an experience into immersion?
I’m very frustrated that video games are focused on anti-immersion. ‘Social media’ is not immersion. Focus on characters is not immersion. Reusing old content is not immersion.
Where is the immersion!?