Thursday, December 18, 2014

the immersion factor

It's occurred to me that my fondest memories in life, are mostly of the video games I've played.  Sometimes hearing a clip from a game soundtrack brings me back to experiencing the gameworld for the first time, from exploring grand vistas, to crawling through deep dark dungeons.

My real life has been a wreck of constantly struggling to get from one day to the next, in a far more monotonous and unremarkable sense.  I can't even remember most of it, but I remember the flood of sensory input I soaked up, as I wandered via pixel surrogates, through each of these new worlds unfolding before me.  Interestingly enough, not so much the battles, or the characters, and certainly not the stories.  Mostly the environments, the visuals, the music, sometimes the flavor of the hot cocoa I drank as I played.

Lots of disappointment though, especially these days, as gaming focuses less and less on that, and more on the superficial entertainment of it, akin to seeing a movie or watching television.  I guess it's not mainstream to actually want to live in a game-world.  At least, not in the sense that enough consumers would be ready to admit to it.

Of course, I am well aware of how pathetic it must seem.  Bad enough that my life is that sad, but that I've even forgone trying to make anything of it, in favor of immersing myself in something blatantly artificial.  This is just cause and effect, though.  We are coded to do whatever we ascertain to be the most rewarding.  That is the very reason for having a reward system in the first place.  It is nature's guidance system.  As a species, we've put vast amounts of effort into fooling it, into enjoying things that aren't really all that beneficial.

Still, the rewards of living life tend to be a lot to compete with, and what people find rewarding varies heavily.  For many people, living life is naturally rewarding, and that makes it so easy to scorn those who are just trying to be less miserable.

Really though, it is a bit shocking, to me, too.  I guess it is a really good thing I had video games, at least.  I just wish they still moved me the way they used to.  Maybe it's the direction the industry has gone, or maybe the process depends too heavily on the novelty of new experience, while it gets more and more difficult to develop games that don't just rehash old ideas.  Or maybe something has changed in me, maybe I no longer believe in make-believe the way I used to.

I'm really not sure.  I just want to feel that again, that immersion, almost like actually feeling alive.  There are always new games coming out, so who knows.

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