Immersion in Casual Games, featuring Braid

2013-08-10 10.58.42

Immersion is probably the most gratifying thing that could happen while playing a game. It’s what separates video games from all other forms of media. I feel as if consumers that only play casual games may be missing out on the most intricate thing about video games. Story is a big part of immersion and casual games like the 2D runners and gallery shooter games that are really popular, never include a deep engaging story; Most times they are shoehorned and an afterthought. I felt the game, Braid, which was released in 2008 was the closest to being a casual game and still have an engaging story that could produce the feeling of immersion. It gives players pieces to the story as they progress through the game without slowing down the pacing of the experience. In other words the story didn’t feel like it was an afterthought.

The problem arises though when you’re playing a game considered casual, you often aren’t left with a sense of immersion. It could be a product of the time intervals you spend playing the game. I’ve turned on Robot Unicorn Attack 2 and played one run and then turned the game off after I’ve had just one bout. What if instead of being rewarded with points to spend on upgrades I was rewarded with both points for upgrades and story. Video games create the illusion of progress through rewards so why not make story a part of that reward with the way Braid did.

Braid offered story as a reward in two different ways, one was the picture you created from completing the puzzles. It gave you a glimpse of what was going on within the game and every time you finished a world you were given a short story narrative. Sure games are meant to be fun most times and not everyone wants to be force fed a story they could otherwise not care about, but I think there are some people who play smaller and more intimate video games who would be interested in a chance to be immersed in the video game they are playing. Even if they don’t feel like they are the character, they could feel like a viewer of the character’s past through narration.

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