Okay, now that the atmosphere has cleared since my summary dismissal of Bruce Baugh, I'd like to bring up this ever-sticky topic and try to talk sensibly about it.
From the Forge provisional glossary:
This term has no single definition. Some uses, among others, include: (a) undivided attention to the Shared Imagined Space, (b) the absence of overtly stating features of Social Contract and Creative Agenda, (c) strong identification with one's imaginary character. See <a href="http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?t=4640">thoughts on why immersion is a tar baby</a> by Emily Care and <a href="http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=8022.0">Immersion and story</a> by John Kim.
As a basis for this thread, I'd like to begin by asking if anybody has any problems with this gloss.
Choosing my words very carefully--it still seems to me that 'immersion' is a highly subjective term, and watching many debates have only confirmed me in this opinion. Therefore, I'd like to suggest that we either (a) define more precise terms or (b) agree to stop using the term except with the understanding that it means different things to different people.
As a preliminary, I will state that, according to the above gloss, I have myself been concerned with 'immersion' (in all three forms) at various time and places. I can also see how it might become a major priority for certain groups. I can even see how mechanics can influence your perception--I can't take systems that divide characters into 'classes' seriously, for example. The fact that many people claim to play 'immersively' with D&D, however, demonstrates to me that this feeling is entirely subjective. All I can really say is that class systems disturb me, and this is less than useful.
Perhaps appropriately, many people seem to feel a strong ownership of the term. I think that this derives from realising at some level that the term is subjective. That's cool--if you don't want to destroy the mystique, it's your head. Ideally, I'd like to see some recognition that mystique is what we're talking about. Now, I may be a crass materialist, but I'm quite prepared to recognise the irrational and the beautiful in life. So I don't think trying to lose yourself in the Allness is a negligible and unworthy goal (that's why I like to drop acid now and then).
So, any comments?