An Immersion Loop

Something I noticed when watching everyone play Wii Tennis and Mario Kart 8 was a cycle of interactivity and immersion with the game. First both the player and the game were rather static, a menu with no buttons being pushed. The menu of course prompted the player to input which in turn caused something more to happen on the screen. In response, the player once again input controls to make trigger more events and reactions on the screen. As the screen got more active the player got more excited and the two dimensions of play seemed to build off each other. The activity of one prompted further and more interesting activity from the other. The player was in a positive feedback loop with media that was unique to gaming.

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What I found fascinating about this was how this aspect of video games and platforms could affect development and game creation. Specifically, the differences in the construction of narrative, character, and environment in this form of media versus others because of the aspects of interactive play and immersion. The actions of a listener or reader when interacting with music or a novel do not affect the how the artist’s creation is presented and so the experience of the person experiencing these forms of art can be predicted, to an extent. In video games, this is not as true and the interaction can change and even what portions of the creation the player can be exposed to is in fluctuation with each occurrence.

I don’t have significant experience in video games development, but I imagine that this aspect significantly affects the mindset of the developers as artists relative to artists working in other mediums. If anyone could express their experience with this distinction between thought process in various art forms I would be greatly interested.

One thought on “An Immersion Loop

  1. Reading this post made me automatically think of programs like Pandora. Recorded music does not have the same level of interactivity as videogames, but there are programs like Pandora that take in user input and history and generate a playlist from that. Also, during live performances, there could be a lot of interactivity between the audience and the performers, like a rapper telling everyone to put their hands in the air.

    I also thought of Walt Disney and his reason for creating Disney Land. He said that he wanted to make a live creation/work of art that he continually adapt and improve upon. Since much of his work was in animation, once the final product was finished, it was finished for good.

    This aspect also reminds me of old console games before downloadable content was being released. Game developers often had a finished product and could not work out any bugs or really modify their final product once the games started to hit the stores. Now, with more internet integration, there can be a bit more feedback with game developers, at least with online games and phone apps.

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