Aug 30, 2009

Video Game Immersion

Immersion is the point at which reality slides toward the background and whatever medium you're consuming takes over the foreground. In other words, you are fully "immersed" in the game, so that you become less aware of your "self" and more in-tune with what's happening onscreen. Immersion also occurs in movies and books and television and even music, to a certain extent, which is what gives them such monstrous appeal. We can ostensibly be in another universe for a limited time.

Now, losing the self is a pretty interesting idea, considering how self-aware and self-conscious we all tend to be most of the time. Think of the ways you act and react in public, given a certain situation. You're almost always cognizant of your body movements or facial expressions. When you're not, you are, again, basically immersed in reality, which is a strange idea in and of itself.

In video games, your face can often be an interesting marker of your level of immersion. The goofier or more intense the face, the more immersed you are in the game. That's why it's great that people have actually taken to studying this phenomenon. Robbie Cooper is a photographer and visual artist living in NYC, and this video is one in a long line in studies of this sort, called The Immersion Project.

You can read more about The Immersion Project here.

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