Hey, tell me the truth… are we still in the game?

We have been talking an awful lot about immersion on this blog. Every time we discuss it, and mention that immersion is something that a game must have, I can’t help but think about eXistenZ. eXistenZ is a film about videogames, where the two main characters, Ted and Allegra, play a game on a bioport, which is basically a game that plugs into your spine. Instead of managing their characters on an interface, Ted and Allegra become their characters, fully and completely. In fact, this level of immersion becomes downright scary, especially after a certain point, where neither the characters themselves nor the spectator knows whether they’re still playing or not.

Allegra: So how does it feel?
Ted: What?
Allegra: Your real life. The one you came back for.
Ted: It feels completely unreal.
Allegra: You’re stuck now, aren’t you? You want to go back to the Chinese restaurant because there’s nothing happening here. We’re safe. It’s boring.
Ted: It’s worse than that. I’m not sure. I’m not sure here, where we are, is real at all. This feels like a game to me. And you, you’re beginning to feel like a game character.

Terrifying indeed, at least in my own personal opinion. And, while in the game, they were led by ‘game urges,’ which were sudden actions that controlled them to keep moving the story along, it apparently mirrored their real lives. Still, the boundary between game and real life became very hazy throughout the entire game, and I couldn’t help but wonder: sure, we all appreciate immersion in video games, but, could there be such a thing as too much immersion? How much immersion can there be before the boundary between the different worlds becomes too blurry to see?

Ted: I’m feeling a little disconnected from my real life. I’m kind of losing touch with the texture of it, you know what I mean? I actually think there is an element of psychosis involved here.

Terrifying. I think the best word to describe how I felt while watching this movie is: inception’ed. I do recommend it, however. I really enjoyed it. Also, yes, that is indeed Jude Law 😛

3 thoughts on “existenZ

  1. I was also surprised by how many children were there at 1 o’clock in the afternoon. I guess they got out of school early or something. Also, I did not notice the instructions on the game some of them I knew how to play are ready. It was a good experience trying to figure it out as I went along just as I usually do with current video games.

  2. oops that comment went to something else. I do believe there is a such thing as too much immersion and we can see that through current use of ourselves phones for example. Immersion does not only come through video games but it does involve the player more so since they are in a position of power in that world. There have been several movies about players becoming their character and the line between reality and fantasy have been so obscurely blurred that it becomes scary. I hope our world will turn back before it reaches that point.

  3. Man, what a scary premise. This film definitely looks like it’s worth a watch. When it comes to immersion, I feel like there definitely needs to be a limit- if it gets to the point where you can’t tell the difference between the game and reality, that’s just a recipe for disaster.

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