Ignorance is Bliss: The Immersion Factor in Video Games

After reading AstroKid's earlier article on third-person shooters versus first-person shooters, and how she dislikes the unrealistic and immersion breaking nature of Far Cry 3's shooting mechanics, I was struck by a thought: How much unrealism are we willing to take from our most immersive video game experiences? I am always considering the immersion factor in video games; the components which make playing a game and really getting into just feel right. For me, Skyrim is a prime example. I've modded my copy of the game considerably, turning it into a survival challenge which demands that I be 100% invested in keeping my character alive at all times. But Skyrim remains a relatively unrealistic game in terms of how I swing my sword, shoot my bow, and so on. It doesn't stop me from playing, but it is certainly something to consider: the fact that we enjoy a lot of games which throw all scruples of realism out the window.

Far Cry 3 has been both praised and critiqued, enjoyed and hated. Looking around, it's a rare critic that takes issue with the shooting mechanics. I for one never noticed any discrepancies which prevented me from enjoying the gameplay aspects of the game. But as with any video game which attempts to portray real-world combat situations, there are bound to be people who are bothered by the attention to detail. I've never had that feeling of immersion-breaking unrealism, which could be a problem, in that I am relatively unobservant while playing detailed, realistic games.

Of course, some games really push my buttons in terms of breaking the experience. But that usually comes more from bad controls, graphical issues, and wonky gameplay than any ignorance of real-world facts. As long as the game presents its core gameplay without technical issues, I'll probably be on board. I'll ignore blatant disregard of the real world, as long as the game gives me a fun experience, without marred mechanics.

The unique and fantastic thing about video games is that they cover such a vast spectrum of tastes, from the ultra-realism of ARMA 3 to the crazy fantasy gung-ho of Borderlands 2. If you are looking for a niche type of experience, video games are rife with shooters and just about every other genre of games which can fulfill your need. I recommend not getting caught up in the realistic details, unless the game promised them. Just take video games for what they are: created experiences designed for your enjoyment.