Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Immer - huh?

I would like to publicly go on the record with a heartfelt plea to those who come in contact with computer gamers. Our families, our friends, our coworkers. We escapists have a request:

Stop bothering us. Don't walk into a room and just start talking at us. Don't start yammering away about some random thing and then act insulted or surprised when five seconds later we turn our heads and say "wait, what?"

Computer games are supposed to be engaging. Yes, that thing we're typing away at, hunched over the keyboard, gritting our teeth, that thing is taking up all of our attention. It's meant to. There is a word which comes up sometimes when discussing reading a book: Immersion. If you non-gamers will kindly skim some commentary on computer games, you are likely to spot that word with much greater frequency than you would ever expect in the real world, in literature, even in theater. This is because the fundamental advantage of an interactive medium is keeping its audience engaged. We, the more or less escapist consumer base of the computer game industry, really do seek that immersion. We shut the world out when we dive into that fantasy. We shut it out with noise-reduction headphones and gigantic screens which fill our entire field of vision, with hundred-click-per-minute demands on our senses.

It is widely considered rude to interrupt someone when doing anything. It is a great liberty to take. It is much worse when the activity in question is designed to exclude even incidental interruptions, when your intrusion undermines one of its basic purposes.

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