Immersive Story, RPGs, and Puppetry

edited August 2006 in Play Advice
Over the last year, and more intensively in the past few months, I've been reading about a lot of different RPG theories. Most are interesting, but few compare RPGs to other performance arts. I found this article on Immersive Story covered a lot of familiar topics from my academic background (Film + Theatre studies), and I think it outlines an important element in RPG design -- immersion.

After reading the article it seems that more traditional RPGs (D&D et al) are "Immersionist", and more like traditional western puppetry:
In Western puppetry, the puppeteer is generally above or below the puppet and hidden by a screen so the audience cannot see. Because of this limitation, puppets are strictly limited in their action. This furthers the illusion, but it limits the type of stories which can be told.
Many "Indie Style" RPGs are "Dramatist" and more like Bunraku:
In the Japanese tradition of bunraku, the puppeteers are visible to the audience. This permits a greater range of action for the puppet, which can allow much deeper performances. However, the experience for the audience is arguably lessened by having the illusion broken.
The greater Immersive qualities of traditional RPGs can explain the continued appeal of older games (D&D et al), especially for players seeking a strong immersive / escapist experience. Players who want more control over the range of stories that can be told (even at the expense of immersion) favour shared-narrative-control games. Not surprisingly a lot of game designers and GMs would naturally fall into this category.

This might all be old news to some of you, but I don't often see Immersion discussed as a central topic in RPG theory, so hopefully some of you will find this interesting as well. :)

Comments

  • I am not really convinced that the split between "traditional" and "indie" styles is one of player prominence; it is equally plausible to me to think that the "traditional" form seems less player-prominent for its familiarity.

    I'll take your two analogies and raise you a third: That's the sort of contrast that I see in animation; I am often remarking on the quality of anime voice-acting, but very rarely on that of American cartoons. I think this is simply because I'm less acclimated to the Japanese voice-acting style. That doesn't make it more like bunraku; I'm just looking up at the top of the stage more.

  • I am not really convinced that the split between "traditional" and "indie" styles is one of player prominence; it is equally plausible to me to think that the "traditional" form seems less player-prominent for its familiarity.

    The puppetry analogy is pretty rough. ;-)

    What I think is more solid is the idea that as a player has more control over the overall story, their sense of immersion decreases. On one end of the spectrum you have an old school RPG player, with a very immersive experience. On the other end is an old school GM - not very immersive at all, but with the most control over the story. Someplace in the middle, you'll find games which are GM-less, or GM-light, or otherwise give the players more control over the narrative.

    While very generally it would seem GM controlled games offer more immersion, and shared-narrative games offer less, it's worth noting that a lower level of immersion in a higher quality of story might be an overall better immersive experience than a high level of immersion in a really poor story.
  • What I think is more solid is the idea that as a player has more control over the overall story, their sense of immersion decreases.

    I misspoke when I posted earlier; this is central to my critique of your puppetry analogy. I don't think that there is any such relation.

  • edited August 2006
    I think the article explains this fairly well...
    Within rpg theory, there is often perceived to be a clash over the concept of story. One type of play, known as Immersionist, tends to be characterised by terms like immersion, simulation, and realism. The other type, known as Dramatist, tends to be characterised by terms like drama, story, and performance. This split has been discussed in the Threefold Model (Kim 1997) and its revised form as the Three Way Model (Bøckman 2001).
    If the style of play is more of one, it's less of the other.

    Edit: I'm interested in why you reject this idea -- can you offer any details?
  • Posted By: Stuart RobertsonThe greater Immersive qualities of traditional RPGs can explain the continued appeal of older games (D&D et al), especially for players seeking a strong immersive / escapist experience.
    While it can be escapist, I don't think the D&D game rules support immersion any more or less than other tabletop game rules. I've heard people make the claim that playing D&D is more immersive than playing DitV before, but I sense that what they really mean is: (1) the game procedures are worn into memory through practice, and (2) the genre conventions are very, very well-understood. Just say, "You're in a tavern..." and a flood of memories and images pop into a player's head: you know what the game is going to be like. You know, already, how the world probably works.

    It's not D&D that's immersive. Calculating XP, rolling all those differently-sized dice, initiative, saving throws, damage modifiers? No way. It's the fact that all these things are memorized and can be done by you automatically, without much thought -- the practice is what makes D&D seem immersive. Go away, play an RPG of your choice over and over again, and after a little while it'll seem immersive, too.

    Actually, I find that playing for immersion can sometimes be a lot of fun, but in my experience it requires a virtuoso GM to create the required depth of illusion to pull it off and make it a really satisfying experience. With a lesser GM, you get into the "more guards" problem (and other problems), and you just realize how lame and artificial the experience really is. Somehow, a masterful GM of the kind I'm talking about makes the game feel a lot more whole, with my character right there in a meaningful centerplace. Also, as a skilled player, you can sit in awe at the skill of this GM as they react to anything you might imagine your character doing. This call-and-response between players (or player/GM) can be a wonderful, spontaneous thing. And a lot of people in our hobby really value that spontaneity and buffered intimacy. Inserting any rules at all, or disrupting the unfolding thoughts of the "immersion trance" detract from the value of this playstyle in a way that I don't really understand.

    -JasonN
  • Stuart, um...it is not complicated but I feel somewhat at a loss to explain.

    Very simply, I do not feel that these goals and practices are exclusionary--for my value of immersion, I've had strongly immersive experiences playing, like, HeroQuest and Exalted equally. John Kim's description talks about the discourse around these styles and I don't disagree, people talk about them in very different ways.

    But the creative experience, to me, is much the same.

    Maybe this is relevant here, maybe not: I grew up a writer and storyteller; that entails being able to simultaneously juggle several mental models of characters and a dramatic framework at once. This is what I always do when I am playing games; I'm more or less unable to suppress my ability to anticipate how the other characters are going to react to mine, and where that points the resulting interactions, and that colours my play pretty deeply, when I have good enough models of the other characters.

    Single-character modelling, to me, is something that you do in an extremity, when you're isolated from the information you need to play effectively.

  • Posted By: Stuart Robertson The greater Immersive qualities of traditional RPGs can explain the continued appeal of older games (D&D et al), especially for players seeking a strong immersive / escapist experience. Players who want more control over the range of stories that can be told (even at the expense of immersion) favour shared-narrative-control games. Not surprisingly a lot of game designers and GMs would naturally fall into this category.
    I tend to agree with Shreyas and JasonN here. I don't see traditional tabletop play as being particularly immersive. For example, I'm fairly certain Petter Bøckman would see tabletop D&D as being nearly the diametric opposite of his coined term "immersionist". There are many aspects of directorial control which fit very well with immersion, I think. For many people, it is far more immersive for the player to simply speak in character than for the player to stop and start asking questions of the GM. i.e.

    Player: "Good plan. I'll head down over to that bakery across the street. You stand over by the mailbox outside and drop in a letter when you're ready."

    vs.

    Player: "Good plan." (to GM) "What's on the street? Is there any public places that I can go to?"
    GM: (consults notes) "Sure, probably. What are you looking for?"
    Player: "I'd like to see if there's someplace I could wait for him to give me the signal."
    GM: "Let's see. There's a hairdresser's, a bookstore, and a bakery."
    Player: "OK. Is there anything outside the bakery, like a wastebasket or sign."
    GM: "Sure, there's a mailbox."
    Player: "Great." (to other player) "I'll head down over to that bakery across the street. You stand over by the mailbox outside and drop in a letter when you're ready."

    Arguments can be made either way, but hopefully people can see how the former might be less interrupting to character than the latter for some players.
    Posted By: planetaryWhile it can be escapist, I don't think the D&D game rules support immersion any more or less than other tabletop game rules. I've heard people make the claim that playing D&D is more immersive than playing DitV before, but I sense that what they really mean is: (1) the game procedures are worn into memory through practice, and (2) the genre conventions are very, very well-understood.
    Definitely. Objectively, I think Dogs is a fairly character-immersive game. Unlike, say, something like Polaris, there is very little which drags you outside of character thoughts and actions. It's small bit of director stance is narrating successes (and blocked attempts) against you as "Blocking" or "Taking the Blow".
    Actually, I find that playing for immersion can sometimes be a lot of fun, but in my experience it requires a virtuoso GM to create the required depth of illusion to pull it off and make it a really satisfying experience.
    Interesting. The most immersive of my games were larps which didn't have a GM -- or at least one who rarely if ever intervened.
  • See the wierd thing I get from reading the above is "GM Screen aids immersion." because it hides mostly the "strings".

    But that's a wierd stray thought from the above. But its interesting to consider that the earlier era games encouraged/made GM screens. Newer games are far less likely to do so.

    I don't use one btw, but its kinda an interesting stray thought that would be fun to experiment with.
  • Posted By: jhkimInteresting. The most immersive of my games were larps which didn't have a GM -- or at least one who rarely if ever intervened.
    Most larps that support immersive play tend to have heavy preparation work which, usually, ensures that there's little or none GM intervention. You actively discourage intervention by eliminating the need for it beforehand. This can be felt very strongly in games where the preparation work is sketchy or outright badly done; for example, not having a suitable amount of information that your character should know and which you have to ask during the game, wreaks havoc. Or when different characters should know the same thing, but they don't - or worse, they have a different version of something.

    I don't know if this can be thought as "virtuoso GMing", but it usually helps to have experience in doing such games - you (usually) don't make same mistakes twice.

    As for D&D, one of the only virtues for supporting "immersive" playing is that most of the actions done in it are done from the viewpoint of character (you hack the monster to pieces, etc) instead of relying to rules that are done from the viewpoint of a player (you have resources which you bid). I guess this can be a learned thing as well.
  • Inserting any rules at all, or disrupting the unfolding thoughts of the "immersion trance" detract from the value of this playstyle in a way that I don't really understand.
    Yes, I agree with this. Let's say:
    The more players need to step out of the immersion trance* to do something else**, the less immersive* the game becomes.

    * Immersion means something slightly different when talking about videogames for example. Here, I mean the literary/cinematic immersion of emotionally identifying with the protagonist, rather than an engaging overall story, or richly descriptive world:
    In an rpg, the player emotionally identifies most with his own player character (PC). So the center of the story in his view is not how the other characters are portrayed, but the emotions and decisions of his PC. This fits perfectly with what Egri says about the purpose of the protagonist in traditional fiction: "the viewer will experience a sensation so great that he will feel not as a spectator but as the participant of an exciting drama before him." (Egri 1965, 18-19)

    ** Stepping outside the immersive trance to help shape the meta narrative of the game and control other characters in the drama (more narrative control). But other distractions would affect this as well: interuptions in the game; very poor story-telling or performance from other players; uncomfortable topics; confusion about the rules; math and paperwork; focusing on boardgame / wargame type play; etc. More time spent shaping the meta narrative could therefore be compensated for with more elegant rules. More familarity can remove confusion about the rules as well.
  • edited August 2006
    The more players need to step out of the immersion trance* to do something else**, the less immersive* the game becomes.
    Yes.

    To sum up the link: The more easily the player can integrate all of the parts of the gaming experience (at the table, in the emspace (SIS) and the mechanics of the game), the more immersive the experience is.

    Immersion has very little to do with having your head in any one space, and more to do with pulling all of the spaces of the game together so that you don't have to make conscious decisions and breaks with the flow of the game.
  • edited August 2006
    We're getting there! [And I appreciate everyone's input! :) ]

    I read Kuma's article before posting last night -- it's why I made the point about meaning Immersion as something slightly different than when talking about videogames.

    In the article linked from Kuma's (and which he builds on), they're talking about Videogames and immersion... From the article: "Narratives and games inspire contrasting kinds of immersion; different brain-states."

    Kuma is talking about game-immersion. "being the game instead of playing the game" which is interesting and relevant, but also describes non-narrative games including most sports.

    I'm talking here about narrative-immersion in a literary/cinematic sense -- being drawn into the story through close identification with the protagonist.

    The other type of immersion is being "in the zone" and it's very real, but not what I'm referring to. I mean being immersed in the story world, not being immersed in your work, or immersed in the basketball game.

    I'm trying to find other words for the two concepts to differentiate them...

    I think Game-immersion is closer to Focus (or attention), while the Narrative-Immersion is closer to Identification.

    Edit: Sorry for talking about Kuma in the 3rd person. Stuart hasn't had enough coffee yet today. :D
  • Cool article, Kuma!

    I'd agree that there are different types of immersion. I've generally used the term "character-immersion" for what James Wallis called "Mask-play". And game-immersion / focus and narrative-immersion / identification are similar but distinct.
    Posted By: MertenPosted By: jhkimInteresting. The most immersive of my games were larps which didn't have a GM -- or at least one who rarely if ever intervened.
    Most larps that support immersive play tend to have heavy preparation work which, usually, ensures that there's little or none GM intervention. You actively discourage intervention by eliminating the need for it beforehand. This can be felt very strongly in games where the preparation work is sketchy or outright badly done; for example, not having a suitable amount of information that your character should know and which you have to ask during the game, wreaks havoc. Or when different characters should know the same thing, but they don't - or worse, they have a different version of something.

    I don't know if this can be thought as "virtuoso GMing", but it usually helps to have experience in doing such games - you (usually) don't make same mistakes twice.

    Well, the prep work and who does it varies. I'd agree that larps tend to require greater preparation in general than tabletop, but the person who does the prep work might not even be at the game. (Such as when using a larp scenario someone else wrote.)

    My point was about interactions during the game more than prep-work. I find that there is a less immersive class of "adventure-style" games are more focused on interacting with the GM -- i.e. probing mysteries, overcoming NPC opponents, etc. That's typical of D&D in my experience. In contrast, I find more immersive games depend much more strongly on the fellow players.
  • Posted By: jhkimMy point was about interactions during the game more than prep-work. I find that there is a less immersive class of "adventure-style" games are more focused on interacting with the GM -- i.e. probing mysteries, overcoming NPC opponents, etc. That's typical of D&D in my experience. In contrast, I find more immersive games depend much more strongly on the fellow players.
    I absolutely agree; the more immersive games (which, usually, happen to be larps) have no or very little interaction with GM's or other players outside the context of their characters. In my experience, though, almost all these games have had heavy preparation work and I'd link scenarios done by someone else than the people running the game with that.

    I'd also point out, in the light of your earlier example, that larps might be more immersive to some people because the lack of need to negotiate or discuss about the imagined reality; you don't have to ask if there is a mailbox somewhere - there either is or is not and you find out this by yourself.
  • edited August 2006
    I'm reading about the Turku, Meilahti, Post-Bjorneborgan and Durmstrang Schools right now. I'm also listening to Nightwish and Apop. Three cheers for Scandinavia! :D

    Edit:

    Beyond Role and Play
    Tools, Toys and Theory for Harnessing the Imagination
    (download the book)
  • I think that not only are there different paradigms for what you immerse in, but that the whole "trance" phenomenon is additional to immersion. Part and parcel sometimes, but not always.

    That is, I've said before that the trance occurs when the virtuoso GM is acting somewhat like a cult leader, and we're the swaying cultists, to use an analogy. You trust in the GM to the extent that you can cease with certain concsious level functioning. Much like hypnosis, I believe. For instance, I've developed actual tunnel vision during moments like this (actually lose my peripherial vision). So there are actual physiological responses going on here.

    Oh, and its rare.

    Mike
  • You're giving over some of the functions of your consciousness to the GM and letting your own consciousness rest. Yes, the same dynamic happens with cults, but don't let that put you off - the key difference is trustworthiness and what you're trusting them to do.

    Interestingly, they've done some experiments with brain scanning of people in trance, and the part of the brain that exerts conscious filtering or censorship is still involved - the stimulus still routes through there - but the filtering part seems to be deciding not to intervene. If anything crosses a line which reactivates the conscious filter, it will wake back up and propel you out of the trance.
  • We're talking about tabletop character-immersion here, right?

    Among the self-identified tabletop immersionists that I've known, they are often quite vehement that neither the GM nor the mechanics can have any input into their character's thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. So that seems like it's extremely unlike cults. Have other people's experiences been different?
  • Posted By: jhkimWe're talking about tabletop character-immersion here, right?

    Among the self-identified tabletop immersionists that I've known, they are often quite vehement that neither the GM nor the mechanics can have any input into their character's thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. So that seems like it's extremely unlike cults. Have other people's experiences been different?
    Hm.

    The question is, though - is that the truth, or is that simply how they've interpreted the experience? The GM might not have direct input into the character's thoughts (as the player perceives them), but the GM has influence over the player's thought process, which must then carry over into the character's reality. It's all mediated by the player, of course, but unless we're talking about entirely freeform ARG, the player must be receiving input from the GM and the mechanics of the game.

    I think that in the immersion state, however, those inputs become invisible to the player, to the point of deniability.
  • Posted By: Kuma
    The question is, though - is that the truth, or is that simply how they've interpreted the experience? The GM might not have direct input into the character's thoughts (as the player perceives them), but the GM has influence over the player's thought process, which must then carry over into the character's reality. It's all mediated by the player, of course, but unless we're talking about entirely freeform ARG, the player must be receiving input from the GM and the mechanics of the game.
    As far as I've seen, it's the truth that GMs can't control the characters. Yes, the GM and mechanics affect the player and character -- but receiving input is different than cult-like control. For example, you're receiving input from me right now, and you're also receiving input which you can't consciously detect (like subsonic/supersonic background, and so forth). However, none of these things control you.

    My experience of character-immersion, matched by a number of others that I've talked to, is that immersive players are notoriously hard to control or direct. I remember in particular a story I think of Mary Kuhner's where out of game, the GM discussed with her at length various hypotheticals and how she thought her characters would react. However, when the actual game happened and he presented the situation, her character reacted completely differently than any of her predictions.

    Similarly, I know that I've driven some GMs batty when my characters took off in unexpected directions.
  • Posted By: jhkimAmong the self-identified tabletop immersionists that I've known, they are often quite vehement that neither the GM nor the mechanics can have any input into their character's thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. So that seems like it's extremely unlike cults. Have other people's experiences been different?
    I'd turn the cult-trust issue the other way around; immersive players (whom I know) like to retain a complete control of their characters thought-process and behaviour, yes - but they tend to surrender the trust of everything else to someone else. The control of other characters to other players and the control of world at large (everything outside the characters) to GM.

    So, an immersive player trusts that:

    Other players control their own characters and act as them (them being whatever parameters the character has been made of; background, stats, etc).
    The GM controls everything else in any manner he wants.
    Everyone is here to fullfill whatever social contract has been explicitly (or not) agreed upon.
  • Posted By: MertenSo, an immersive player trusts that:

    Other players control their own characters and act as them (them being whatever parameters the character has been made of; background, stats, etc).
    The GM controls everything else in any manner he wants.
    Everyone is here to fullfill whatever social contract has been explicitly (or not) agreed upon.
    I'd agree with that, or at least specifying "character-immersive" to distinguish it from other types of immersion discussed. And also depending on whether or not there is an active GM in play.

    But yeah, control your character and trust other people to control their parts of the game.
  • control your character and trust other people to control their parts of the game.

    Yes, I'd say that's a good description of a game with greater potential for character-immersion.

    Assuming two games with equally elegant rules and talented roleplayers, the experience would be most immersive in the game where you only control your own character/protagonist, rather than when you spend part of your time controlling your character and part of your time exerting a greater influence over the game world beyond your character's responses.

    Deeper Character Immersion < - - - > Greater Narrative Control
  • Posted By: Stuart RobertsonAssuming two games with equally elegant rules and talented roleplayers, the experience would be most immersive in the game where you only control your own character/protagonist, rather than when you spend part of your time controlling your character and part of your time exerting a greater influence over the game world beyond your character's responses.

    Deeper Character Immersion < - - - > Greater Narrative Control
    Exactly (said with the power that only uncertainty can grant) so.

    Controlling your character, only your character and totally your character equals, well, being you. It's easy to slip into something you know (being a person) and challenging, but not impossible, to be act upon different restrictions and parameters (being yourself versus being a member of local biker gang who probably has quite a different view on things like morality).

    Asserting Greater Narrative control means stepping outside of You and doing things with Surrounding World, which you normally, in real life, don't do. Shooting fireballs from fingertips is not something you usually do either, but it's easier to imagine doing that than looking at yourself and your pals from outside and discussing if there should be A Grave Danger just behind the corner or not.

    It could be a matter of switching perspectives and a learned thing for all I know.
  • edited August 2006
    See, this is why my main point was that the trance state was orthogonal to the other immersion inputs. The trance state seems to me to occur to an extent where outside stimulus isn't interfering, but it's mostly involved with the trust issue. This isn't the same as giving the GM control, John. Not at all. Indeed, the whole channeling phenomenon may make you a loose canon.

    What you're ceding over is the sense that you're playing a game, and instead you think of the GM as the source of the world as though he's some infallible, or objective, source of some alternate reality. Given that, the GM could seriously fuck with you. So the trance state is where you drop your critical function and just assume that the inputs are as valid to as those that come to the player from reality. Something that can only occur with a lot of trust. Because, rationally, we know that the GM is making this all up. So we want to be critical of it, as we know it's fictitious. It takes a serious committment to shut down that critical sense.

    And, as he said above, the critical filters are still in place remaining passive. What's interesting is that, if the GM shoves BS at you, the critical filters pop back on, and it throws you precipitously out of the trance state. The one thing that everybody will agree destroys "immersion" at any level is something non-sensical occuring.

    And, as Kukka says in the post just previous to this, for many (maybe most), this "non-sense" includes the appearance of player priorities behind the seeming illusional objectivity of a pre-existing world. So, in many cases, the trust in question is that the GM (note this goes for other players as well) will not show his motives in displaying the world.

    For those who are used to certain rituals or techniques, however, I posit that these don't neccessarily cause the critical filters to pop back on. In fact, the whole die-rolling thing can be seen as giving trust to a certain ritual to produce "right" results. No different than trusting the GM in this way. Many people find that the rules do not, actually, produce the sorts of results that they want to see, so, of course, find that they set off their critical filters.

    The Scandanavian LARP scene has never found any mechanics that facilitate their play, so assume that none exist and that all mechanics prevent the trance state. Of course, then they also may make claims about it with regards to the other two orthogonal immersion factors listed above.

    Mike
  • Posted By: Mike HolmesWhat you're ceding over is the sense that you're playing a game, and instead you think of the GM as the source of the world as though he's some infallible, or objective, source of some alternate reality. Given that, the GM could seriously fuck with you. So the trance state is where you drop your critical function and just assume that the inputs are as valid to as those that come to the player from reality. Something that can only occur with a lot of trust. Because, rationally, we know that the GM is making this all up. So we want to be critical of it, as we know it's fictitious. It takes a serious committment to shut down that critical sense.
    Hm. But immersive players do generally have a very strong wall between reality and fiction. Much moreso than non-immersive players, in my experience. So, an immersive player may have his character tortured and then shot in the head -- and then come out of it smiling and excited because it was so cool. (I'm thinking of the gas station larp from Knutepunkt 06 here.)

    I recall in particular in the Ripper game (a variant Call of Cthulhu campaign), my character Grimmond and Jim's Hayward character were at each others throats. Grimmond beat Hayward into unconsciousness and then dragged him along, and then eventually ditched him. Hayward eventually died that session through his delusions. The thing is, Jim and I were both fairly immersive and were fine with it. Another player, Mark, was absolutely shocked at this.

    In my experience, immersives are usually much less concerned about bad things that happen in the game -- because once they come out of character they don't have a strong attachment. In a sense, I think this is greater criticality. I think this is related to what's sometimes called "My Guy syndrome", when non-immersives complain about bad things which immersive players do.
  • So, an immersive player may have his character tortured and then shot in the head -- and then come out of it smiling and excited because it was so cool. (I'm thinking of the gas station larp from Knutepunkt 06 here.)
    It could be a sort of Catharsis.

    I've also seen players deeply immersed in their characters become very upset if something happens to the character. When I was in highschool I saw a guy start to cry when his character was killed -- and while that certainly isn't typical behaviour for most players, I don't think he would cry if he lost at cards or chess.
  • Posted By: Stuart RobertsonI've also seen players deeply immersed in their characters become very upset if something happens to the character. When I was in highschool I saw a guy start to cry when his character was killed -- and while that certainly isn't typical behaviour for most players, I don't think he would cry if he lost at cards or chess.
    Could you describe a little more about your experiences? I tend to agree that the term "immersive" is fairly broad and is used to describe a number of different things. So it doesn't surprise me that your experience of "immersive" is different than mine. Would you say that such emotional attachment corresponded to the players ignoring metagame during play?

    I've seen some cases of people who became attached to long-time characters, but often from an out-of-character point-of-view. i.e. Someone had a high-level D&D character with a lot of stuff. They never particularly got into the head of the character during play, but were very attached to it and became upset if it was threatened.
  • Could you describe a little more about your experiences? I tend to agree that the term "immersive" is fairly broad and is used to describe a number of different things. So it doesn't surprise me that your experience of "immersive" is different than mine. Would you say that such emotional attachment corresponded to the players ignoring metagame during play?

    I think it's similar to the emotional identification people have with the protagonist in a book or film. It's not uncommon for people (particularly sensitive people) to cry when something sad happens in a movie. I don't have a lot of experience watching other people as they read, but from personal experience I've felt "sad" when reading a book I'm really enjoying and something sad has happened in it.
  • Posted By: Stuart RobertsonI think it's similar to the emotional identification people have with the protagonist in a book or film. It's not uncommon for people (particularly sensitive people) to cry when something sad happens in a movie. I don't have a lot of experience watching other people as they read, but from personal experience I've felt "sad" when reading a book I'm really enjoying and something sad has happened in it.
    I think I get this. However, I would call that "emotional involvement" and/or "identification" rather than "character-immersion". I would liken it to the difference between an audience member who cries at a drama versus the method actor who gets deeply into his part playing a dramatic role.
  • Very cool suggestion about relating this to method acting! I think any difference between the emotional effect on the audience and the method actor could be a bit fuzzy... more so for live performance... and further still for a roleplayer who is both audience and actor. "Emotional involvement", "identification", "character-immersion", and even "eläytyminen" seem to be used pretty interchangeably depending on the article... but I think we're all talking about the same thing now. :)
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