View Full Version : Building the fantasy... how imagination plays into your experience of a game?

Rindill the Red
11th Jun 2010, 19:34
Something interesting I've picked up on while browsing the threads and from my own experience is how fantasy and imagination play into a player's experience of a game.

Passive forms of media, like books and movies, build archetypes and prime the mind for imaginative exploration related to pre-existing schema.

As games become more complex with better graphics and animations, the player uses less and less of his own imagination. He loses his own fantasy to the details and product of the developers.

In this way recent games are more and more programming gamers to become passive observers, (games become more movie-like).

Kids can have more fun running around outside with sticks (pretending to be knights), then some people will playing a game where they control an actual knight.


I think the more you engage your imagination, the more active you will be in the "play world" and the more immersed you will be (the more "real" it will feel to your mind and subconscious), and the more you will get out of it.

I remember playing Oblivion and not really getting into the main storyline. I disliked how it created this sense of urgency (conspiracy and the emperor is dead and the gates are opening!), but then it wouldn't enforce it (sorta breaking the continuacy of the gaming world), as opposed to how Deus Ex both created and enforced this urgency. The most fun I had in Oblivion was when I loaded up a game sans the main storyline and just put myself in my character in this large rich world. I had my own goal and imagination of who my character was. I just played with the goal of gaining power (my quest was my own - getting all of the epic items), while playing some side quests. And I got a lot more out of the game.

Maybe it just me and the idiosyncracies of the way I think.

But it might be interesting to hear what other people think about this topic.

hem dazon 90
11th Jun 2010, 19:38

fantasy is quite important in all forms of media

Rindill the Red
11th Jun 2010, 19:39
Okay, so this just brought up another thought on the consequences of making games simpler and "consolized".

The more active you are when playing the game the more primed your mind is to imaginatively immersing you in the experience.

I read this example somewhere else and it caught my eye.

Hookshot-ing up to the top of a building.

Version 1: You navigate a menu to take out the grapple. Then you swing and press a button to release (you aim), and you press a button to catch it, then you walk up to the wall and you actually climb the wall by pressing buttons.

Version 2: You look at the top of the wall and press a single button - your character shoots the grapple, and automatically climbs up the building.

Version 1: More action on the part of the player results in a higher degree of imaginative involvement and immersion in the gaming world.

Version 2: The player is more passive and the game becomes more movie like. The player is not brought into the character what he is doing. This results in less immersion and imaginative involvement.

11th Jun 2010, 20:22
I think the primary facet of immersion in any entertainment form will always be the same; how well the story and characters are presented to you. The writing, the flow, the depth of the characters and the enjoyment you get from them.

Rindill the Red
11th Jun 2010, 20:49
I agree.

Ever play Gears of War?

What are people talking about when they say they like the "weight" of the game?

Imaginative positioning? Relational positional feeling of "solidness" making the game world feel more real?

11th Jun 2010, 21:23
What are people talking about when they say they like the "weight" of the game?

I think its like Final Fantasy VIII, which came on five disks. If the box fell on your foot, you would loose a foot.

13th Jun 2010, 18:30
...and here I thought people would be more straight to the point ^_^

Its not about "fantasy" or "Science Fiction"

What seperates seeing a pin-up girl, a computex girl, your girlfriend or a game?

Its about what interests you enough to catch your attention. You don't need "fantasy" to do that, but the imagination creates a wishful bias at times of what one should accept and not accept...which is equally bad.

All you need is something that can capture your mind and attention enough to spend time on it and if the presentation is good....the experience might be.

13th Jun 2010, 19:13
Yeah, games like Deus Ex are kind of cool because it's like real life, it lets you into public places, but you have to imagine e.g you see a nice house and imagine what's inside it, deus ex is quite the same, you see a doorway and you wonder what's behind it... *cough* sex sounds in the hotel *cough*

Obnoxious Frog
13th Jun 2010, 19:46
It all comes down to approach in my opinion. Am I being prompted with ideas or presented with facts? Facts are not negotiable. They're set in stone and, while necessary, are not subject to input. Ideas allow the story's listener to generate their own thoughts on what's going on and respond accordingly.

Not to get too long winded, but just a quick example of what I mean:

Fact: I'm told my base is being attacked by aliens, I'm the only survivor, and it's up to me to stomp anything that moves before they can make off with all our waffles.

Idea: I wake to find my base is under attack by an unknown enemy, communications are down so the extent of the damage and nature of the enemy are unknown, I find a pistol in a pool of syrup nearby.

Both give me the information I need and both could play out exactly the same way mechanically, but I will be more interested during the course of the second scenario.

13th Jun 2010, 19:56
Rindill the Red, I think about this topic every day of my life.

That's why I have such fond memories of old sprite-based games - and the modern popcorn gaming of today does absolutely nothing for me.

Imagination is the most emotive game design tool you can ever use. The problem is, not everyone has one.

13th Jun 2010, 21:12
Both give me the information I need and both could play out exactly the same way mechanically, but I will be more interested during the course of the second scenario.

Comes down to my favorite movie opening scene, The Thing. The dog being chased by some lunatic scientists in a helicopter without the least bit of explanation or insight as to what was going on fired up my imagination and captivated me right from the start. That movie, by the way, was imensly more interractive than a great majority of games I've ever played, and yet it is considered a ''passive'' form of art. Interractivity is so missunderstood in the industry.

13th Jun 2010, 21:27
The universally* aknowledged decline of the videogame experience is among other things largely due to fancy shmancy graphics overruling ones imagination, games no longer allowing the player to 'exist' withing the game world (everything has to be a directed rollercoasterride) and the maturing of the mind, i.e. there's no way a 30 year old can lose himself in a game like a 10 year old.

*) or rather, among gamers born roughly before the mid nineties.