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Lame Discussion: Immersion – Part 1

posted on June 27th, 2006 by jay

Jay: Someone who isn’t me want to talk about how gameplay mechanics are what makes shooters good, not immersion?

Horatio: I’m not arguing about what makes it good, but why do you buy Halo 1 then 2 then 3? The weapons aren’t *that* different.

Jay: Because it’s more of what I liked. The same reason I buy cherry nerds after I enjoyed the box of watermelon nerds. Best analogy ever.

Horatio: But why do you need more levels? Shouldn’t it be fun just to feel the same mechanics over and over again? It’s more like if you had an infinite supply of cherry nerds why would you buy more? You wouldn’t but if someone offered you lemon nerds you’d buy those.

Jay: I think you’re mixing level design and immersion.

Pat: I agree with Horatio to a point. All the little nuances that change from game to game within a universe do enhance immersion, but simply making sequels doesn’t do much. The analogy is Tolkein’s books. They are the best fantasy ever written because he created a universe to play in before he ever wrote a story.

Jay: I think simply offering sequels does do something if it offers new levels to enjoy the game mechanics in.

If you’re going to play through a Megaman, make it this one.

Horatio: I think for the hardcore you’re right Jay. But the average person didn’t buy every Megaman game because mechanics can’t keep drawing you in alone. And I totally agree about Tolkien.

Stefan: I never played through more than one Megaman, because eventually I became more aware of the pattern memorization than I was of the game.

Jay: I keep buying more Advance Wars and Fire Emblems even though they’re all the same fucking game. I’m not sure what that proves and for which side, though.

Horatio: Well I mean I guess my point is for you to keep buying Advanced Wars, Jay, you must already be immersed so maybe you just get immersed really easily.

Jay: I think it’s the opposite, the dialog isn’t Shakespeare and the mechanics are basically the same in every game, but each offers new levels to strategize in. So it isn’t that I’m immersed, it’s that I love moving units on a grid.

Pat: A final note before I go. I think there are certain things about games that severely inhibit immersion such as the need for a controller and the fact that rarely does someone die permanently.


On to part 2 of this discussion.


  1. Stefan said on June 27, 2006:

    It actually was Megaman II that I played through.

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