I just read a post on #AltDevBlogADay written by acquaintance Eddie Cameron. There’s nothing wrong with what he wrote, in fact I’m adding another perspective to what he’s written. A very blunt one, I’m sure some generalizations will be made. Most of the game industry does not understand what immersion truly means. Better yet, we all have an understanding of what immersion is but they’re all just different–there are many different types: tactical, strategic, narrative, and spatial. Our definitions are all different. Going off of the link that Eddie provided, the definition of immersion I want to address relates to narrative content–the definition that is most inline with Murray’s Holodeck.
I may be biased because I have a writing background but I would stress that narrative immersion is by far the most important factor when people talk about this thing called immersion–I think that’s what most people are talking about when they say the word. In the We Got This Covered list that Eddie linked to, all the games listed tell intricate stories as far as games go. A quick Google search for “most immersive games” you will find, after skimming many threads in various forums, that the bulk of the games listed also have some interesting story that ties everything together. This is not to say that game and other design components become unimportant (hey, I’m a game designer now!). Far from the case.