Hello Mr Malstrom, I was seeing your last post where you defend
immersion and I was a it surprised with your take. I wrote an article
long ago about the same theme, actually dismissing immersion, as
something that only hardcore gamers are interested.
Immersion is a strong point to the hardcore, who play games for
escapism, running for their boring lifes, but it’s not a strong point
for regular players, who play as a form of entertainment to complement
their lifes. While hardcore gamers want to get in the TV, inside the
game’s world, to run from theirs, normal players actually want the
game’s world to come out of the TV so it can complement their already
That might not sound like a big difference now, but it sure shows why
Virtual Reality or 3D is not appealing to anyone, except for the
hardcore, who branded 3D was great for immersion since it makes it
easier for them to escape. Normal players will be much more interested
when the game world comes out of the TV and they can touch it with
their hands and interact with objects directly like holograms or
I can see what you’re saying. My post on immersion wasn’t a hardcore vs normal gamer thing but more of a ‘why is there no effort on this anymore?’
Reggie Fils-Aime remarked that part of the reason for the Wii’s success was that the software was not aimed at drawing people into a fictional world. Instead of trying to immerse the player into like a real world tennis, it was getting the player to interact with motion controls and with real life friends (and the Miis represented the people). But this isn’t a hardcore versus normal gamer thing. Super Mario Brothers doesn’t do that and the game certainly isn’t ‘hardcore’.
Take Blizzard games lately. At one point, the games tried to draw in the player into the game world (ex: Starcraft 1 briefings talked to the player as if he was a commander in the story). By drawing the player in, the idea is to make the game more intense. The nature of the video game is that the player is not the audience sitting in the rows but the actual actor who is on the stage. In Starcraft 2, the player is not the actor. The actor is actually the Blizzard employee writing the script for Raynor. Your job is to just do the missions. Perhaps a big reason why the story feels so bad is because you are never actually in the game.
I’m asking myself, “Why does Nintendo not care that NSMB games don’t give you the feeling of Alice falling through the rabbit hole?” A big difference then was that games were designed as an effort to immerse the player.
This example from Zelda 2′s manual does much to immerse the player. My favorite example of game immersion is Ultima games’ cloth maps, fictional books of the game world inside, and the little trinket. The fictional book would be written by a NPC inside that game world. It was fun stuff.
What differentiates the hardcore from every other gamer is that the hardcore sacrifice parts of their lives so they can play more games. Do you get a job or do you play more games? The hardcore will play more games. Do you take a shower or do you keep playing the game? The hardcore keep playing the game? In WoW, this difference really does become pronounced. The normal WoW gamers play with friends and family. The hardcore WoW players guild hop and server hop for their own personal progression.
I believe the core principle of the hardcore is that they lack a sense of achievement in the outside world so they try to ‘make achievements’ from their video games. They brag about the games they have ‘beaten’. Elementary children do this as well, but children cannot get a sense of achievement in the outside world because they haven’t grown yet. This is what I suspect is generating the stigma of gamers being ‘manchildren’.
The issue of immersion is something found in all mediums. Writers are concerned about how to create immersion with their novels. But what is a ‘hardcore’ book reader? Most normal people read books before they fall asleep or if they are on an airplane. A ‘hardcore’ book reader reads books for the sake of reading books. A reader wanting good immersion in a book isn’t someone who wants to become a ‘hardcore’ book reader. It is just someone wanting a good book.
And wanting good immersion from games isn’t someone wanting to become ‘hardcore’. It is just someone wanting a good game. The art of fiction is the art of immersion.