Digital Realities – an article on video games and immersion

(Orignally posted on 10th February 2013)

Here is a link to an essay that I wrote at the end of last year and decided to tweak a little recently. It gives an introductory analysis on the impact of immersion within video games, later touching on the relationship between music and the immersive experience. Game studies is not as widely encountered as some might expect, especially considering that video games have been a completely ubiquitous entertainment medium for some years now. So I thought I might try my hand at it! …*gulp*

Head through the link if you’re interested, it’s not an achingly long read or anything.

In recent years I have been very interested in the concept of the meaningful digital interaction – to the extent that these virtual experiences are equally capable of emotive impact and personal value as the ‘real world’. Very slowly, we are beginning to see the blurring of the line between the virtual and the ‘real’, where a user’s ability to interact with video game world becomes so dense as to seem consciously indistinct from reality. A fragment of this effect can be seen through the millions of gaming and journalistic communities surrounding the field. Furthermore, new ventures such as the rise of the paid-for in game item (among other industrial shifts) demonstrate that users can now value digital items as much physical ones.

The essay also touches on music and immersion, although it is not the focal point. This is because I don’t think I yet have the necessary experience and knowledge as a game composer to speak so candidly on such a subject. Nonetheless, I can say that music has a complex and sometimes paradoxical place within the immersive game experience. And by that realisation, the amount of talent and hard work that has gone into some of my favourite ever game soundtracks becomes all the more inspiring.

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