CP470 VGT SU14 Week6M1 Discuss your level of ‘deep play.’ What games provide the most ‘deep play’ and which the least? Pick a game a talk about how immersion, engagement and presence function for you in the game.
When it comes to video games, my level of deep play, while varied is almost always very high which keeps me able to become immersed in a gaming environment. One game I would use as an example would be the games I’ve been playing a lot recently, the classic mega man games. Going over these games again, they don’t exactly have much in the way of world building or interesting characters, however they do maintain a good sense of presence and thus has given my imagination the ability to grow(which is my eyes is the sign of a game that I could love for a long time and remember dearly.)
The game presence allows me to immerse myself into the world itself, through the power of my own imagination. The games do have stories, but since the game itself doesn’t really tell them and instead you would have to rely on the instruction manuals, I tend to make it up in my own head as I go along. This is what allows engagement to happen and keeps me engrossed in the game and everything that tends to happen within it.
I feel rpg’s provide the highest level of deep play because even down to your conversations you alter your character or the world around you. The decisions you make in an rpg impacts the game a lot more than say a hack and slash or first person shooter to me because you really have to immerse yourself in the plot. For example in Star Wars Knights Of The Old Republic the more evil deeds you do the more towards the dark side you become. People will deny you items or tasks based off of your side of the force so it falls on you which side you want to fall on or if you just want to be mutual with both.
At its most, in deep play, I feel encouraged to keep exploring the world, with empathy for the character. One of the video games I was most immersed in was Fallout 3. It built anticipation, giving me a simulated aging experience as I learned I lived in a vault locked away from the rest of the world, building anticipation. It then submerged me in a world that both cared and needed to learn to navigate my way around. In this world I have good social interaction. It helps that it varies, keeping it fresh, but each part of it makes sense with in the context of a post-apocalyptic society that used to be retro-futuristic. this gives me reason to explore but never makes me feel disjointed. I also have good personal and social interaction. I can customize my character based on what I find interesting in the universe, and as I level up, if the my interests change, I can shift his abilities in a different direction, such as focusing on my ability to doctor myself to focusing on my ability to being a ninja. I can also change my clothes an weapons based on how they benefit me (this is related to real life such as what clothing you want or need to wear, granted unless you have a job that needs weapons or are a gun owner, that differentiates). I can also effect the environment, such as exploring abandoned buildings and finding food, apparel, laser guns, you know, the essentials. I can even choose my dialogue, which granted is limited, but makes me feel I can define my character in the game. That being said, these synthetic actors actually cause me to feel emotions ranging from concern to humored to “I do not care for you much sir”. To mark how deep my gameplay was, I did care about how my action effected the character, and I strived to be a morally upright hero. Intrigue in exploration, character definition, concern for environment, and the lights turned out with only the light of the screen made me feel very there. I never was so engaged that I did anything illogical except maybe spending to much time outside the game doing research on stuff to find. I was sad when good character died, left, or did not do much else because I completed my levels with them, but I never experienced grief like I might in real life, or feel the same mount of sadness I did for character in film, animation, and comics. In terms of my gameplay history however, this is the overall game world I was most into.
When I game , I do have a tendency to get too much into the game. Games such as Halo or Skyrim often get me most in the game. With these games it is not so much the story line, but the content of everything as a whole in the game that captures me.
I will used Skyrim for my example in this comment. The game puts you in this beautiful world and gives you tasks along the way that do not seemed so far fetched from the common goal. Some games would send you on non-story related mini games, but in this game all quests help you with your goal. The beautiful atmosphere also helps with the engagement of the game because it becomes much more lifelike. The immerson of the game may not be equivalent to what really happens in life, but it still makes you feel like you can still be in the game.
I do not play too many games that provide me with a high level of deep play. I used to play a role play game called Guild Wars and that I think is the closest I’ve come to a game that has the potential for deep play due to its high level of interactivity and constantly changing world and story line. I think in general that MMORPG’s are the best type of game to create deep play along with first person shooter games. With MMORPG’s you have an online community filled with other gamers that is constantly changing and has the potential to form real life connections and the story never ends. It is easy to get lost in the world of online RPG’s due to this very fact. Also, with first person shooter games, the first person perspective gives the player a sense that they are the ones performing the actions on screen and that they are exploring the world of the character. This type of perspective is ideal for deep play because it puts the player in the position of the character.
I think the worst type of game for deep play would have to be puzzle games. They usually do not have worlds to explore or characters to put yourself into. They usually are focused on a goal or a skill and people usually play with the motivation that they want to beat a high score, not that they want to escape. The conditions that puzzle games create are just not typically ideal for deep play.
I’m going to choose the game Guild Wars that I used to play due to the fact that it is the closest I’ve come to playing a game such as this. As far as immersion goes, I was very much more immersed in the nondiagetic aspects of the game, such as exploring the map, finding hidden objects and completing quests that did not propel the main story line. I’m very competitive so I like to have better stats than everyone else. In fact, I never played the main story line due to the fact I could not get into it. However, I knew people who were really immersed and engaged in the diagetic aspects of the game and they were much more into the game than I was. They felt a strong connection to the character they played and they had a high level of deep play as they progressed their character through the story.
I do feel that Guild Wars, and games like it, have a high sense of presence. They combine social interaction, a fully explorable world, interactivity with many people and items, and an ever changing story, this all gives the player a sense that they have a purpose within this community and that their actions have meaning. MMORPG’s are excellent at creating a sense of presence for this reason, and this I believe is part of why people can become so wrapped up int these games. The ever changing story allows the player to have a second life within this computer game as their real life continues on around them. This creates a high sense of presence for the gamer within the game that he/she is playing.
I have a perfect example of deep play. Pokemon. And it keeps getting deeper with every generation. There’s definitely a learning curve, especially if you want to get all technical with EVs and IVs and crafting a specialized team with different roles such as walls, sweepers, etc. I think that’s the deepest play I’ve ever gotten into, but I’m sure things like WOW, Skyrim, and D&D get much, much deeper. Some games you can just jump right into, like classic arcade games and iOS games. The creator of Flappy Bird gave tips to creating a successful mobile game; make it easy to understand and learn. Simple tutorials, control scheme, story, etc. That may take a while with the above mentioned fantasy games (wait, why are they all fantasy?), but I’d say that the simple classics and mobile games could be “shallow play”, or the least deep. Coined a term right there.
But going back to Pokemon, I think that it’s not exactly immersing in the fact that it’s not that realistic in the least bit. It’s engrossing as a game and is playable for hours, but as far as immersion goes I think the less abstract it is, the easier it is to become immersed. Pac-Man and Donkey Kong feel like tests of skill to me, not something I delve into the character for. Engagement sounds like it describes what Pokemon does better, lending more to the strategy side and love of the game rather than becoming a part of it. Don’t get me wrong, especially with Character customization it’s incredibly personal, but it doesn’t necessarily lend itself to being on par with the experience of virtual reality. It’s getting close though!
And jumping off from my last point, I think that is pretty much proof that Pokemon allows the player to assert more of a presence than in other games. I find that the case with most nintendo games, or at least ones like Pokemon and The Legend of Zelda. I’m sure an uncountable number of games on other systems can emit a sense of presence, but rarely do any have the track record of game franchises like Pokemon or Zelda. And I’m primarily raised on Nintendo, that’s where I’m basing this off of, not trying to spark a console war heh. But with the customization of character and the several, very lovable characters you meet in the game, you grow to love it more, and care about what happens to the people you meet. And i think that lends itself most to these three points in increasing how prevalent they are and how much you experience them.
Deep play for me is quite common. I generally close my curtains and have one light on. I believe action adventure RPG’s such as Fall Out or Skyrim give me the best deep play experience over other games such as first-person shooters. I usually think about these games in between play sessions, on how to build my character to better navigate the game. When I play Fall Out, I get immersed in the game pretty easily. The game gives me the freedom to explore the game space, and do what I wish. I like to choose a direction and explore what ever comes in front of me. My engagement varies based on what aspect of the game I wish to explore. I can play the story line and get become engaged in the narrative. Other times I take a non-diegetic approach where I invest time in trying to raise my characters level. I sit on the edge of my seat and have the curtains closed with the light out sometimes to receive game presence. I usually have the volume turned up, and rely a lot on graphics to gain game presence.
As a player of mainly RPGs, my level of “deep play” is on the extreme end of the spectrum. For example, in Final Fantasy games Red Mages can do black and white magic spells usually up to level five or six (the older games used a level system for spells, placing stronger spell at a higher level to limit a player from attaining a strong spell at the beginning and cheating the game. Blue mages (in the games that had them) can usually steal attacks from enemies and utilize them. Gah, from FFVI, had blue mage abilities. A time mage can preform attacks such as slow or haste as well as the demi spell that takes 1/4 of the enemies’ health. Also, even in games where the job class system is not utilized [every game but 3 and 5] characters still poses aspects of different job classes. Khimari from FFX has aspects of a blue mage and a dragoon (a warrior that uses a lance and is good against flying enemies).
This information helps me immensely when coming up with a plan of attack. For example, if I were to fight a boss that I knew was going to be a flying type monster then I would be sure to use a dragoon and a mage that had access to the Aero spell (in FFIII at least) because Aero which is a wind elemental attack (in FFIII) is also strong against a flying opponent. Engaging in “deep play” gives me a deeper sense of involvement in the gaming world. I walk away with the feeling that I, through my own knowledge of the gaming world, have overcome the obstacle before me. I have truly beaten the game rather than blasting my way through it and gaining little more than entertainment from the experience.
I tend to find that deep play happens less, for me, in online multiplayer FPSs. I understand that there are people who are able to asses strategies and get immersed in the experience very easily, I am just not one of them. I find them much to repetitive for little reward. In RPGs, grinding is very tedious, but you are usually doing it for a reason (e.g. leveling up to defeat a boss). In online FPSs I don’t get a sense of achievement or motivation. There is no filter in difficulty in online play and a beginner has no time to adjust to the environment before they get slaughtered by veteran gamers the whole match.
My level of deep play would fall somewhere in the medium depending on the game between deep and shallow. I find myself more on the shallow side of video games as It end to usually use some form of hack and slash until I find something that is effective and only end up being strategic only in the sense that if something was able to be effective once to continue to do that strategy until it does work. One game that I remember feeling immersed into was King Kong when it came out based on the film. As far as both styles of game play went both the third person and first person left some qualities of each that filled the functions. For me the feeling of immersion and presence were slightly more in the first person perspective as it was able to provide a feeling of realism and immersion because of how it was also able to provide a feeling of nearly being there as it could make the feelings of excitement being felt when something surprising occurred. As for engagement the third person perspective I felt had a greater aspect of that personally because of being able to enjoy the character who I was playing more as it was more suited for my more shallow level of play. As far as specific games I have played that have provided more or less feeling of deep play for me one that provided more was Burnout Revenge and one that provided a less level of deep play was Superman Returns:The Video game
Alison McMahan’s insights concerning immersion in regard separately to the diegetic and non-diegetic gameplay to be quite useful in reflecting upon my own deep play. For me, it is difficult to distinguish between the immersion resulting from amazing graphics, physics, and environmental interaction and an immersive experience as a result of the quality of narrative. When I think about the game “Pokemon Red/Blue” for Gameboy I can’t help but think that this game’s success as an immersive experience resulted from the early use of an open-world environment and an awesome combination of random events (such as pokemon/enemies appearing) or free will decisions/opportunities. Though the game lacked details, three dimensions, and largely presence, the game was immersive as the world was “complete” and expansive. This shows how a game can be immersive without requiring presence (board games excellent example).
There are several games in which I have experienced “Deep play”, those being Skyrim, Runescape, and Kingdom Hearts (1 & 2). I played Runescape for 5+ years if I had to guess, so obviously it became more than a game to me. Both with it and Skyrim your characters are highly customizable and you are free to do pretty much anything in the game you want at anytime, and do any quests you want. At a certain point, you stop thinking “how will this effect my character” and start thinking “how is this going to effect me”. With Kingdom Hearts, it immediately has you make choices that make you bring yourself into the game (unless you have already played and just want to try something different). For example, it has you choose between a shield, staff, or sword, and sacrifice one, and you think “what best describes me?”. It later asks you the following questions:
“What’s most important to you?”
1. Being number one.
3. My prize possessions.
“What do you want outta life?”
1. To see rare sights.
2. To broaden my horizons.
3. To be strong.
“What are you afraid of?”
1. Getting old.
2. Being different.
3. Being indecisive.
These all effect the game in some way, but as you can see immediately pull you as a person into the game and make you feel attached to the main character because you chose from him/yourself.
As I have said before Kingdom Hearts is a Disney/Square Enix game so you have Disney characters and characters from Final Fantasy. You visit Disney worlds, meet people from Disney stories and the Final Fantasy games, and live in nostalgia getting to interact in these places and with these people who were only accessible through a book or movie in the past. The game immerses you in the story and engages you not just as a person using a controller, but as a person with emotions.