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How Game Gimmicks Break Immersion

Soulskill posted about 4 years ago | from the they-can't-all-be-portal dept.

Games 228

The Moving Pixels blog has brief discussion of how gimmicky game mechanics often break a player's sense of immersion, making it painfully obvious that he's simply jumping through carefully planned hoops set up by the developers. The author takes an example from Singularity, which has a weapon that can time-shift objects between a pristine, functional state and a broken, decayed state. Quoting: "The core issue with this time control device is that it's just not grand and sweeping enough. It doesn't feel like it's part of a world gone mad. Instead it's just a gameplay tool. You can only use it on certain things in certain places. You can 'un-decay' this chalkboard but not that desk. You can dissolve that piece of cover but not most of the walls in the game. The ultimate failure of such cheap tricks is that they make the game world less immersive rather than more compelling. The world gets divided into those few things that I can time shift, that different set of things I can levitate, and that majority of things that I can't interact with at all. ... I'm painfully aware that all that I'm really doing is pushing the right button at the right place and time. Sure, that's what many games are when you get down to it, but part of the artistry of game design comes from trying to hide this fact."

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228 comments

MY IMMERSIONS (0, Troll)

Hadlock (143607) | about 4 years ago | (#32769052)

That is all. It's a game. Get over it. Anyone for a round of pistols only Counter-Strike?

Re:MY IMMERSIONS (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32769270)

Get raped by an immersive nigger.

Minigames (4, Insightful)

koreaman (835838) | about 4 years ago | (#32769060)

This is the biggest problem I have with cheesy minigames. Really? I have to "hack a computer" by redirecting pipes so water can flow through them? (Or whatever the hell it is you're doing in Bioshock... this is the best way I can explain it). That shit was fun when it came with my Games for Windows 95 pack, but it's a bit out of place in a modern immersive shooter.

Re:Minigames (1)

WaroDaBeast (1211048) | about 4 years ago | (#32769608)

So... I get it you didn't like the Prince of Persia games either? ;P

Re:Minigames (2, Insightful)

Lord Bitman (95493) | about 4 years ago | (#32770030)

press X repeatedly to get to the next cutscene? Not much of a mini-game.

Re:Minigames (1)

WaroDaBeast (1211048) | about 4 years ago | (#32770206)

Actually, I was referring to the parts where you have to mess around with poles to have water, light or something like that flow through a bunch of pipes. There's a lot more to Prince of Persia than mere button mashing, especially in PoP: Warrior Within, in which you have to take into account what kind of foes you are battling against. Mashing the sword button will only result in killing a enemy every couple of minutes, which can get old pretty fast.

Re:Minigames (1)

HopefulIntern (1759406) | about 4 years ago | (#32770328)

The only real PoP is the first one, that I had for my Powerbook. The platformer one, that was shit hard :p

Re:Minigames (1)

Nephrite (82592) | about 4 years ago | (#32770682)

shit hard

Yeah. My computer then was kinda slow so game was like in slow motion. However, the timer ticked with normal speed, so you had to finish the game faster. After I'd got a better computer the game looked ridiculously easy.

Re:Minigames (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32770588)

press X repeatedly to get to the next cutscene? Not much of a mini-game.

Is this Final Fantasy XIII you are talking about? That's not a mini-game!

Re:Minigames (2, Funny)

WaroDaBeast (1211048) | about 4 years ago | (#32770676)

Mashing the left and right arrow keys alternatively in Chocobo World sure was entertaining. ;-)

Re:Minigames (3, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | about 4 years ago | (#32769624)

"Modern immersive shooter." Yuck. Immersive doesn't mean realistic or plausible. You can immerse yourself in a marathon session of Pac-Man or chess or be immersed in a stack of paperwork. Immersion just means being deeply involved with something mentally.

Unfortunately, he meaning of the word has been twisted by gamers. What really goes on when someone complains that their precious "sense of immersion" has been ruined in a modern shooter is that they came across something in the game that reminded them they're not actually some unstoppable military badass who auto-heals and never dies. There's barely any challenge at all in those shooters because it's about coddling the 12-year-olds and man-children and making them think they're invincible action heroes, and they complain when the illusion is shattered.

Re:Minigames (5, Insightful)

Abrisene (1477289) | about 4 years ago | (#32769760)

I agree with you in the principle of the thing, that people playing games don't usually like being reminded that they're not the avatar (in games that have avatars), and I can see where you're coming from when you say that gamers have twisted the definition of immersion, but I think you're mixing up the cause of loss for the definition. The real issue is one of consistency. It's the same thing as the concept of the fourth wall in theatre and film; games of most genres need to maintain a certain internal consistency or in many cases the enjoyment and level of engagement with the media is reduced. When gamers talk about immersion, they're not talking about how consistent or inconsistent the game world is, they're talking about the feeling that it evokes.

Re:Minigames (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32770098)

Immersive doesn't mean realistic or plausible.

Agreed. The best immersion experiences I had were while playing Zangband.
Dangerous level. Should walk carefully. Walking next to a door: "you hear noises"
hum... let's open the door....
The Shrieker mushroom patch makes a high pitched shriek. You feel a sudden stirring nearby! The Stairway to hell makes a high pitched shriek. The Raal's Tome of Destruction cast a powerfull fireball. The Spectator gazes at you. You are confused!

You get the picture ;) (in ascii-art)

Re:Minigames (2, Interesting)

mjwx (966435) | about 4 years ago | (#32769868)

This is the biggest problem I have with cheesy minigames. Really? I have to "hack a computer" by redirecting pipes so water can flow through them? (Or whatever the hell it is you're doing in Bioshock... this is the best way I can explain it). That shit was fun when it came with my Games for Windows 95 pack, but it's a bit out of place in a modern immersive shooter.

You see, having a game based around a minigame is OK, having a game that using minigames are an extension (most often optional) to the gameplay often makes it better. However making serious shooter or RPG where a gimmick or minigame is central to the gameplay is bad and this goes for most game types. My point is that some people like games such as Tetris or Tower Defence that are based around simple principals as a minigame is, whilst most shooters/RPG/Strategy games cannot work as simply as Tetris they can often use minigames with simple principals to break up the flow and ad atmosphere and character to the game.

If the last sentence offends you, go back to threatening to cockpunch people on Modern Warfare, this conversation is for adults.

Many games have implemented mini-games as a core yet optional part of the gameplay experience. The parent mentioned Bioshock which really is the retarded cousin of a game that was released almost 10 years before it called System Shock 2. Bioshock fails so badly at even getting close to living up to the System Shock 2 standard it's not funny but that's another story. In System Shock 2 there was a hacking minigame, based on selecting squares to illuminate and getting three illuminated squares in a row, of course certain squares would fail to illuminate and three failures resulted in an alarm going off, Which squares were failures was randomised. This was done as a side panel, so the game was going on around you as you tried to hack and there was no time limit. Bioshock, in it's many failures turned this into a skill/time based game which basically turned a fun extension of the game into a clickfest. You had to race against the water moving bits of pipe, further more this removed you from the game. So hacking in Bioshock sucked a lot of fun out of the game by changing the pace of the game and removing you from it. Mini game done wrong. Fallout 3 also removed you from the game but it made hacking and lockpicking optional and the minigames maintained the character of the game.

A well done minigame adds to the atmosphere of an immersive shooter as it did in System Shock 2 to those of you who think Modern Warfare is an immersive shooter, go back to button mashing as this conversation is for adults whilst a poorly done minigame detracts from it. This can be said of all facets of gameplay. Much like Quick Time Events, when they are overused and become a crutch to the central gameplay elements (shooting, jumping, puzzle solving, story) they detract from it and only serve to annoy the player, however a well place QTE will add to the excitement of the game, much the same as cut scenes (which should come in after an accomplishment, when the player is relaxed not when the player is in the middle of something. Valve understood this, even with cutscene-less Half Life, they didn't display pertinent information whilst the player was busy).

Re:Minigames (4, Interesting)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | about 4 years ago | (#32770114)

You left out the best part of SS2!

The hacking 'minigame' wasn't much of anything. The first System Shock did hacking sooo much better but I'll come back to that.

In SS2, you can pick up a portable gaming system that is a parody of Gameboys. It was called Gamepig and most of the games were simple ones you've all played before but had pig related names and artwork. However... there was one game called Overworld Zero. It played like an old school action RPG, running around a randomly-generated looping area, killing monsters and leveling up.

As stupid as it sounds, it's the best game-within-a-game I've ever played.

And as for hacking in the first System Shock, it was soooo much better. You broke open panels and fiddled with wiring until you found the right combo or messed with... I don't even know how to describe it. You had connected nodes (similar to SS2 hacking) but the changes weren't permanent. You clicked one to allow power through but that could change connecting nodes to the opposite setting. Depending on the puzzle difficulty (the game had customizable settings for combat, mission, puzzle, and cyberspace difficulties), they could be really frustrating.

Re:Minigames (1)

mjwx (966435) | about 4 years ago | (#32770126)

You left out the best part of SS2!

This is the great thing about SS2, I personally didn't like the gamepig and thought it was a waste of inventory (but carried it anyway like the pack rat I am). The game is so varied that almost everyone has their own best part about it.

Re:Minigames (2, Interesting)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 4 years ago | (#32770212)

Grrraaaa! Raaaargh! "serious shooter"! Gaaaarraar!

I'm pretty sure that a self aware adult would acknowledge that games are essentially frivolous. There's no "WIN IN THE REAL WORLD" achievement.

Re:Minigames (4, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 4 years ago | (#32770298)

I guess it shows you can't please everybody, because I enjoyed the hacking game in Bioshock, in Bioshock 2? not so much. But in Bioshock 1 I liked hacking all the devices in a level and then setting cyclone traps to turn the place into a giant trap. But it wasn't like you couldn't simply skip it, either by using one of the plentiful hacking tools or simply buying off the machine.

What kills the immersion for me is when the laws of reality are horribly broken with no real explanation. For example if I have a fricking rocket launcher I shouldn't need to find a key or way around a stupid wooden door! Or if I shoot a guy dead in the face (I'm looking at YOU, EA and MoH series) then they should fricking die or at least be horribly wounded! You would think with all the talk about physics in games they could fix these problems, but all I've seen is ever increasing eye candy and bling at the expense of a world that at least follows its own logic.

So I would say while the minigames in Bioshock could break your groove if you came across one at the wrong moment sans hack tools, at least they fit within the game. Even Ryan complains about hackers being parasites and robbing his machines. But when you base weapons or real world items like RPGs, and give them huge areas of effect and destructive power, at least make the rest of the world consistent. Nothing blows the realism quicker for me than "magic doors" or guys that supposedly can take more rounds than the Terminator without even a limp.

Listen up, Peter Pan... (-1, Flamebait)

djupedal (584558) | about 4 years ago | (#32769062)

...what part of 'game' don't you understand?

With expectations like that, drugs are in your future. I recommend the blue pill, btw.

Re:Listen up, Peter Pan... (4, Interesting)

sortius_nod (1080919) | about 4 years ago | (#32769316)

I'll bite...

You can't throw a gimmick in that's not part of the game mechanics. To me, a game mechanic is no different to a real life mechanic. If it happens on A, it should happen on B, C, D, through Z. To restrict the player to using the gimmick a set times is just as bad as these stupid quick time events. "Press X to do something without skill", yeh, that's full immersion.

A game that breaks it's own rule set is a game that's not fun. The device in Singularity is supposed to be some sort of "I win!" button... at least that's what they were teasing for months before release. If you can't figure out how to limit it's use (via ammo or power levels) in a logical manner, why even put it in game?

Re:Listen up, Peter Pan... (0, Redundant)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 4 years ago | (#32769542)

To me, a game mechanic is no different to a real life mechanic. If it happens on A, it should happen on B, C, D, through Z.

So if I can set paper alight, I should be able to do the same with sand? If I can bite an apple, I should be able to chew a rock?

Re:Listen up, Peter Pan... (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | about 4 years ago | (#32769894)

Nice strawman. Either that or you really missed the point, in which case, why are you reading slashdot?

Re:Listen up, Peter Pan... (1, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 4 years ago | (#32770154)

"Strawman" != "analogy that you're too thick to understand", moron.

Re:Listen up, Peter Pan... (3, Informative)

ultranova (717540) | about 4 years ago | (#32769684)

To me, a game mechanic is no different to a real life mechanic. If it happens on A, it should happen on B, C, D, through Z.

Unfortunately, a game mechanic is not the same as a real life mechanic. In real life, adding a particle to a system increases the system's information processing ability, allowing it to keep behaving at the same speed and level of detail as before. In virtual worlds, the total processing power is (very) limited, so adding a part to the simulation slows it down, unless it switches to a higher level of abstraction; but that means that all those high-level properties that exist as a result of low-level properties are lost, unless the new level of abstraction is specifically defined to have them.

In other words, computers are nowhere near as fast to run consistent physics for any reasonable-sized world. Scribblenauts gets close, but as a result, the levels are very small.

Re:Listen up, Peter Pan... (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | about 4 years ago | (#32769880)

So you're saying that something that's already in-game is going to chew more processing power?

Restricting it to certain objects is just artificial obstruction and has nothing to do with processing power. How is it that I can destroy everything in a game like Red Faction 2, but Singularity restricts the use of a device that's essentially the core of gameplay?

You're making excuses for bad game design by saying it's a technological restriction.

Re:Listen up, Peter Pan... (1)

ultranova (717540) | about 4 years ago | (#32770258)

So you're saying that something that's already in-game is going to chew more processing power?

No, I'm saying that most of the things that look like they are in the game aren't actually there. For example, if there's a dozen or so books sitting in a bookshelf in a game, the chances are that they do not exist as separate objects, but form a single object with the bookshelf - and that's assuming the bookshelf is an actual object in the gameworld, rather than just scenery. Even if you can knock down the bookshelf - which, as I said, is unlikely - the books are not going to be scattered on the floor, because they are not simulated as separate objects. To do so would require more memory and processing power than simply having a single "bookshelf" object, which is turn requires more processing power than just having an inert part of the scenery that looks a bit like a bookshelf.

Restricting it to certain objects is just artificial obstruction and has nothing to do with processing power. How is it that I can destroy everything in a game like Red Faction 2, but Singularity restricts the use of a device that's essentially the core of gameplay?

Because not restricting it means that you have to write potential interactions between the device and each and every object in the game. Also, as I said, most of the seeming objects actually aren't.

I haven't played Red Faction, so I can't say about how it did this; but I strongly suspect that you're exaggerating when you say that you can destroy everything - if you keep shooting at the floor, how deep a hole can you dig?

You're making excuses for bad game design by saying it's a technological restriction.

Bad game design, in this case, consist of no realizing the technical limitations and keeping them in mind at the concept design stage.

Re:Listen up, Peter Pan... (1)

jpate (1356395) | about 4 years ago | (#32769810)

I've always felt this about the chain shot in zelda games. A big part of the appeal of zelda games, for me at least, is feeling like you really are exploring another world, then all of a sudden you get this device (which nobody else seems to have) which can only hook onto a relatively small number of things which just so happen to exist at exactly the places they are needed.

Re:Listen up, Peter Pan... (1)

delinear (991444) | about 4 years ago | (#32770218)

So that means no guns in games unless I can shoot out every window in the game world and be able to kill people vital to the storyline? No rocket launchers that can take down tanks but can't destroy walls/floors and let me roam where I want? It's always been a trade off between making the game fun and playable, being able to tell a specific story and the constraints of the hardware, it's just that most of the mechanisms that have these unrealistic limitations are so ingrained that we don't question that a grenade launcher could kill five guys in a confined space but not damage the cardboard boxes right beside them. Should that be a reason to not try and introduce a new game mechanic to play around with tired old formulas?

The important thing is not how you're constrained, but how constraining it feels in the game - there's no logical reason that the portal gun in Portal only works on certain surfaces, or why a portal has to be attached to a surface at all, but the game flows so well that we don't question this or see it as a limitation, indeed it's the very mechanism that makes the game challenging and fun. By the yardstick you set, that game would never have been made.

Doom 3 (1)

NoPantsJim (1149003) | about 4 years ago | (#32769116)

The worst offender of all time was a game I had very high hopes for. Constantly jotting down locker codes was bad enough, but having to leave the game to grab a code from that Martian Buddy nonsense website made me stop playing.

Re:Doom 3 (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32769212)

I liked how there was a sizeable number of PDAs strewn around that you just happened to find in an order that progressively revealed a story. What are the odds of that?! Oh the fun I had reading all those PDAs!

That truly was the worst mechanism for revealing a story I've ever seen. The only thing worse was the actual Doom 3 gameplay. How that game got such good reviews I don't know but I'm making sure not to pay any attention to the Rage hype.

Re:Doom 3 (2, Interesting)

NoPantsJim (1149003) | about 4 years ago | (#32769238)

The only thing worse was the actual Doom 3 gameplay

I actually really enjoyed the gameplay. The moment I discovered the idiotic system of codes for the weapons lockers, I went online and printed out a list so I could ignore the various PDAs and audio messages.

The biggest disappointment of all? I got my hands on that leaked E3 Alpha, which was about 10x more interesting and scary than the actual retail game.

Re:Doom 3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32769292)

ITT: People with extreme short-term memory loss.

Quake 3 (1)

lmnfrs (829146) | about 4 years ago | (#32770090)

Being in an alpha phase, not to mention leaked, adds greatly to the enjoyment. The Quake 3 logo was a well designed update, since it was a new engine and all.. But back when the leak showed up, players learned to plasma jump.

Re:Doom 3 (1)

WaroDaBeast (1211048) | about 4 years ago | (#32769804)

The biggest put-off for me was all the spelling mistakes... Made me feel as though the developers didn't take time to do something as basic as checking the spelling...

Re:Doom 3 (2, Insightful)

NoPantsJim (1149003) | about 4 years ago | (#32769900)

That was probably intentional, to make it seem like it was really written on a PDA with a crappy keyboard.

Re:Doom 3 (1)

WaroDaBeast (1211048) | about 4 years ago | (#32769940)

Well, I'm talking about things like "then" instead of "than" here. Promoting bad spelling? Just seems wrong to me. English is already hard as it is not to have media confuse you even further about its spelling.

But maybe it was intentional.

Zork (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32769126)

Immersion is overrated. When Zork came out, people were amazed. For that matter, it's still a damn fine game. But it's hard to imagine anything less immersive than interactions like "GET LAMP".

Re:Zork (2, Insightful)

ushering05401 (1086795) | about 4 years ago | (#32769324)

The syntax 'GET LAMP' has nothing to do with immersion. Whether the GET command behaves similarly with all described objects or only works with defined items like LAMP would be the immersion consideration.

Scribblenauts! (2, Insightful)

Cylix (55374) | about 4 years ago | (#32769128)

Scribblenauts actually did fairly well with a free form diverse tool of summon anything.

In fact, it was just too much fun to randomly see what I could do. ie, summon a vampire, a priest and a vampire hunter to watch them duke it out. (Seriously, you can do that!)

The down side is there really isn't much more to do then solve their word puzzles. I'm sure in a more complex game the free form behavior of the ability would break any attempt at constructed story telling.

If you can solve the problem of allowing god like powers and keeping semi-structured storyline in place you probably should start working on a product now.

Re:Scribblenauts! (2, Interesting)

Cylix (55374) | about 4 years ago | (#32769392)

Replying to myself here.

The problem TFA describes and with similar discussions herein is not limited to just video games. A long time ago some friends would gather around to play table top rpgs. We tried various systems and nearly all of them have the same issue.

At a certain level (or points) the game just goes to stupid. It was very easy to break GURPS in a supers campaign. Generally, the only way to control a rampant and degradation of the game was to play it fairly mildly.

Now, sometimes it is just fun to head straight for stupid and see what kind of fun you can have.

Re:Scribblenauts! (5, Interesting)

ushering05401 (1086795) | about 4 years ago | (#32769488)

You can largely solve that problem by implementing realistic time-scales and offering players benefit to out of play aging.

It doesn't work in MMORPGs, but a DM can easily have you travel uneventfully for weeks or months between realms and have you return to the gaming table after a layoff to a character that has been gaining languages or other useful skills at the expense of an aging hit.

The out of play aging is great because a good DM can allow players to create their own interim story and choose from a palette of minor but useful skills that will help during the new campaign. A good group can spend a couple evenings 'back rolling' their stories with each other; and when the actual gaming begins everyone is already in the right headstate.

Anyhow, the cumulative effect of travel time and out of game aging is a character that needs to begin looking at replacing valuable eq slots with anti-age eq around the same time that the game starts to break... If the eq is balanced of course.

so true (5, Insightful)

mogness (1697042) | about 4 years ago | (#32769138)

Ya, the article is kind of bickering, but how many games have you played that offered so-called "fully interactive environments" that just aren't fully interactive? It's always a let-down.
Also, gotta love the "cheap shots." I mean, I just killed about a hundred soldiers and got shot a thousand times, but one guy walks up behind me and cracks me on the head to knock me out so next I have to start in a jail cell with no weapons. And these "guards" that are holding me? Bitch please, I could melee all of them in about 30 seconds and not feel a thing. But instead you have to play along and "steal" the key because otherwise... GAME OVER!

WTF? Why can't I use the Phoenix Down on Aeirith? (4, Insightful)

Weedhopper (168515) | about 4 years ago | (#32769264)

I always hated this part of RPGs.

The messenger/last survivor of the massacre with his last gasp, says a bunch of nonsensical stuff, right before he dies. WTF? There's two fucking clerics in the party that can cast Heal in the middle of a battle. And now that the dude's dead, why can't my guys cast Raise Dead on him? Total crap.

Planescape Torment is one of the few that get this mechanic even close to right.

Re:WTF? Why can't I use the Phoenix Down on Aeirit (1)

ultranova (717540) | about 4 years ago | (#32769620)

The messenger/last survivor of the massacre with his last gasp, says a bunch of nonsensical stuff, right before he dies. WTF? There's two fucking clerics in the party that can cast Heal in the middle of a battle. And now that the dude's dead, why can't my guys cast Raise Dead on him? Total crap.

You can't heal or revive him for the same reason you can't simply use Phoenix Down on Aeris, or why using nuke-level summoning magic in the middle of a city doesn't leave it a smoking ruin: you are acting out a pre-scripted story. The more degrees of freedom you have, the harder it becomes to keep the story from breaking; and judging by the "how to make the players do what you want" -sections in some tabletop DM guides I've read, it seems that this phenomenom is not limited to the realm of computer RPGs.

Re:WTF? Why can't I use the Phoenix Down on Aeirit (1)

IllusionalForce (1830532) | about 4 years ago | (#32769654)

The solution to that is just having a minimal story, like NetHack does. You simply have a story outline and you're free to make up more parts yourself through conducts or similar things.

Re:WTF? Why can't I use the Phoenix Down on Aeirit (1)

bertok (226922) | about 4 years ago | (#32769820)

The solution to that is just having a minimal story, like NetHack does. You simply have a story outline and you're free to make up more parts yourself through conducts or similar things.

OMG... I just realised I hadn't ascended in months.

I knew I was missing something.

Thanks for reminding me!

Re:WTF? Why can't I use the Phoenix Down on Aeirit (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | about 4 years ago | (#32769832)

That's not a solution, it's a sacrifice; one I'm completely unwilling to accept, especially at that extreme.

Re:WTF? Why can't I use the Phoenix Down on Aeirit (3, Interesting)

SharpFang (651121) | about 4 years ago | (#32770182)

Most of these guides will state: if your players have a point, don't deny it. If they really want to do something, let them and improvise. If you force players into something "just because" - because you failed to foresee it - you will hear "CHOO-CHOO! RAILROAD!" and get marked as a hopeless railroading fag of a DM.

Some of the favorite motives and best gameplays in RPGs I played were where the players DID break the story and pulled it their way. Yes, the fucking genius wizard did figure out how to use the catapult. Yes, the canny gnome did repair the transport lift to get it to the surface. Yes, the greater earth elemental needed only 2 catapult hits instead of an epic battle. But the amount of heavy thinking they did outweighted the amount of heavy fighting they would do otherwise.

Of course a computer game can't reasonably improvise and react to what developers didn't think about in a way players think is reasonable. Still, instead of noise of door handle flapping helplessly, Morrowind provided the player with one of hundreds generic interiors. Instead of a thousand empty or unbreakable crates, it filled them with generic, cheap, random stuff. Instead of transparent walls it used steep slopes which you couldn't scale but could levitate over - if you were advanced enough to possess levitation, or insistent enough to buy a potion instead of better gear...

Re:WTF? Why can't I use the Phoenix Down on Aeirit (1)

OnePumpChump (1560417) | about 4 years ago | (#32769674)

The problem with this situation, though, is that all of a sudden something that you usually can do is not allowed.

Re:WTF? Why can't I use the Phoenix Down on Aeirit (2, Insightful)

Pentium100 (1240090) | about 4 years ago | (#32769916)

However, the game could have consistent rules. For example, raising-from-the-dead magic can fail to work if the dead guy was blown up (you could revive him, but not put him back together) or killed with a magic spell that prevents revival and then have the plot important death happen this way.

The nuke level magic spell could, for example, be limited to living things and/or just your enemies. But if you say that the spell works just like a nuke, then I expect to be able to level a city with it.

But if I have a rocket louncher using which I can destroy various wooden barriers then I should also be able to destroy the locket rotting wooden door or at least be offered a reason why I must find the key (there is no way to launch the rocket safely because earlier I found out that launching a rocket from a closed space can be bad for your health; the sound will alert someone or whatever) and not just "yea, you could blow a hole in that wall, but here your 10 rockets won't work against this door, save them for when you need to blow up a battleship"

Nevertheless, it does break immersion (2, Interesting)

Moraelin (679338) | about 4 years ago | (#32770204)

While I can understand or at least guess the rationale behind it, it does break immersion every time it happens. Suddenly the game rules have temporarily changed to something completely different. It's like suddenly entering a room where you walk on the ceiling, or clicking on a link and on that site alone you have the toolbar browser on the bottom and the URL field disabled.

It's stuff you notice because it's different from what you've been conditioned to do without even thinking any more. The whole game I've essentially learned that if someone is wounded, I hit the heal spell. And not just in that game, but in every game I've played or could control a healer.

And I've already suspended disbelief in a reality where magic works and is an integral part of. We're not even talking Tolkien like worlds where there are two mages total, and they cast nothing more useful than making a staff's tip glow, but worlds where mages and clerics are a dime a dozen and every peasant goes to one when he has the sniffles. And if somehow you don't have one around, you could have been run through and had an arm lopped off, and one night of good sleep will fix that too. And suddenly all that doesn't work like that any more, and I have to suspend disbelief in why it doesn't work in this particular situation.

And sometimes it really works by neither RL nor normal game rules. E.g., in Dragon Age Origins, when you meet that guy who basically gives you the quest to buy the Return To Ostagar DLC. (Yeah, they took nickel-and-diming the players that far. Now you have NPCs in the game telling you to fork over more RL money. And don't get me started on how much _that_ breaks suspension of disbelief.) That guy has been run through an left for dead, but he neither just stays unconscious RL-like, nor can be healed as per the normal game rules. You can revive him well enough to have a long and coherent conversation, but not well enough to actually stay alive.

And, you know, I'm starting to find it lazy. They could always find some in game explanation for why that guy can't be healed. E.g., in Persona when they have to poke one of your characters unhealable, they actually have the bad guy prepare a spear that causes unhealable wounds.

It's not even something outlandish. People actually believed that kind of thing IRL about various "magical" wepons. E.g., about the Crocea Mors sword of Julius Caesar. Any wound from it, no matter how superficial, kills. Or Persona essentially uses the Holy Lance in that role. (I've said "prepare" it previously, in that the setup of the game is basically reality by consensus. If enough people believe something, then it is real. So if you could get enough people to believe that you have the Holy Lance, then that spear _is_ the Holy Lance.)

Heck, historically people believed all sorts of bogus stuff about various pieces of weaponry. We have good weapons, evil weapons, weapons that can't be sheathed back unless they tasted blood, etc. And those were people who would have had more reason to doubt it. In a game where we're already conditioned to suspend disbelief, how hard would it be to have some makeshift explanation for why that wound can't be healed.

Or poison, now that's a low hanging fruit. Some special rare poison that can't be healed except by extraordinary means. Heck, it's the whole setup for Silverthorn, so if it was good enough for a novel, it must work in a game too, right?

Re:WTF? Why can't I use the Phoenix Down on Aeirit (1)

grumbel (592662) | about 4 years ago | (#32770498)

You can't heal or revive him for the same reason you can't simply use Phoenix Down on Aeris, or why using nuke-level summoning magic in the middle of a city doesn't leave it a smoking ruin: you are acting out a pre-scripted story.

The problem isn't the scripting itself, Another World for example is completly scripted from start to finish, yet it never runs into those issues. The reason is simply: Another World doesn't have nukes or phoenix down. If you have items that by definition are so powerful that it becomes impossible to integrate them properly, they will end up feeling fake. In Another World on the other side you never encounter those. Your only weapon is a gun that you steal from a guard and it is the same gun that everybody else has. It works by simple consistent rules and when there is an object that looks like you can shoot it, you can shoot it. When you have a low object count it is possible to code those interactions. Many of todays games on the other side like to through tons of items at the player without ever fully integrating them into the world. Thus you get rocket launchers that can't even penetrate a wooden door. Thus I would prefer low objects counts with high interactivity instead of high object counts with low interactivity.

Re:WTF? Why can't I use the Phoenix Down on Aeirit (1)

loonycyborg (1262242) | about 4 years ago | (#32770672)

The messenger/last survivor of the massacre with his last gasp, says a bunch of nonsensical stuff, right before he dies. WTF? There's two fucking clerics in the party that can cast Heal in the middle of a battle. And now that the dude's dead, why can't my guys cast Raise Dead on him? Total crap.

You can't heal or revive him for the same reason you can't simply use Phoenix Down on Aeris, or why using nuke-level summoning magic in the middle of a city doesn't leave it a smoking ruin: you are acting out a pre-scripted story. The more degrees of freedom you have, the harder it becomes to keep the story from breaking; and judging by the "how to make the players do what you want" -sections in some tabletop DM guides I've read, it seems that this phenomenom is not limited to the realm of computer RPGs.

No. The real problem is that game rules and scripts live in different worlds, use different rules. Basically the plot and the actual games have different assumptions about what player characters can and can not do. That is definitely inconsistent. I don't think reconciling plot and gameplay is that hard. There's absolutely no need to make one of characters to die to make a compelling story, especially if it takes place in the world where you resurrect people all the time. Just make up plots that make sense in the setting, do not blindly reuse cliches from stories set in RL.

Re:WTF? Why can't I use the Phoenix Down on Aeirit (1)

WaroDaBeast (1211048) | about 4 years ago | (#32769878)

Reminds me of Arcanum, in which a lot of dead NPC's couldn't be resurrected. Your party members and some NPC's could, but not everyone.

Re:WTF? Why can't I use the Phoenix Down on Aeirit (2, Insightful)

SharpFang (651121) | about 4 years ago | (#32770096)

reminds me of Eye of Beholder 2, where you fall down a random pit, find a bunch of bones with a complete skeleton mixed with them, and if you bring the skeleton to an altar of resurrection, you gain a valuable party member.

Re:WTF? Why can't I use the Phoenix Down on Aeirit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32770278)

What!! Aerith dies?????

Re:so true (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32769340)

Fallout/Fallout 2. Sure, there were pre-canned dialogue choices and not everyone would talk to you, but the essential game mechanics were universal, e.g. you could kill people who were required to beat the game.

Given the state of the art of the day, they were 2 of the best games ever made. It is really just a shame that the series is currently best know for its red-headed child offspring.

Re:so true (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | about 4 years ago | (#32770082)

I really can't stand that slang. What's with the red-head bashing?! (note, I'm not a red-head.)

Re:so true (3, Insightful)

T Murphy (1054674) | about 4 years ago | (#32769374)

The difference between immersive use of the environment and gimmicky is if you can think of a way to solve a problem, you should be able to do it, as opposed to having your hammer and looking for all the nails.

One example I can remember was with Portal (this isn't a great example, but you get the point): there is a point where you are supposed to use portals to guide missles from a turret to break this cube transport tube so you can use a cube to climb a ledge. I was an idiot, didn't notice the transport thing, and walked back a ways to hunt for chairs, stacking them at the ledge, and went on my way oblivious to how hard I made it for myself. I never had to mentally step back and figure out how the programmer wants the problem solved, and therefore kept the immersion of the game.

Overall, Portal does a great job of immersion- your bad attempts fail because they physically don't work, not because of some arbitrary roadblock. Many levels have "cheat" methods to skip some or all of the intended obstacles, rewarding clever solutions rather than using arbitrary limitations to remove them. Also, the story of the game (that you are a test subject) helps sell any obvious forced steps as a natural part of the world- you could call it a cheap cop-out, but it works perfectly so I won't complain.

Re:so true (1)

brainboyz (114458) | about 4 years ago | (#32769526)

The air-tube/missile problem is a perfect example. Most of the game was perfect. I understood I needed to break the tube, but I put the portal behind the tube instead of directly under it. The tube didn't break so I went online and found out I had it right, just not "programmer right."

Re:so true (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | about 4 years ago | (#32770140)

Ditto here, I must have played through Portal ten times before I realized what I was actually expected to do at that point! However, I think they should NOT have allowed me to use the office furniture to get through, since it only made me feel the physics was broken (as it's hard to climb a chair). Had I been stuck there, I'd have searched harder for the proper solution.

From HL2Ep1's commentary track, Valve knows well this: players will always look around, but hardly ever up or down.

Re:so true (3, Insightful)

delinear (991444) | about 4 years ago | (#32770356)

My biggest bug bear is when you figure something out in a game but then you're not rewarded for your insight, instead you're punished by being forced to play out a scenarior when you know it will go badly for your character. Like, you've pieced together the clues to realise that the guy who is helping you is really the killer, but you can't just shoot him in the back, you have to play along with his weak subterfuge while he leads you into a trap, or you're playing some survival horror game and you just know a zombie is going to leap out of that closet when you walk past it, but you can't riddle it with bullets before you get to it.

Actually, anything with zombies almost always does this badly - you'll always have scenes where you know the dead bodies on the ground will spring to life (or unlife, or whatever) at some point, but you can't hack them to pieces until the story has played out, similarly with deactivated robots (I'm looking at you ME:2) that you can't just smash to pieces while they're offline, even though you've already seen them suddenly spring to life a dozen times before, your character is happy to leave them intact but deactivated and just take his chances. Not rewarding me for anticipating a trap is massively jarring to the immersion, especially when I then have to sit there and watch my dumb character realise that it's a trap and try and fight his way out of it - I just end up thinking, you expect me to empathise with this god damn clown?

Re:so true (3, Insightful)

Radish03 (248960) | about 4 years ago | (#32769502)

I was just thinking about this earlier tonight while playing Left 4 Dead. Tanks (big muscular zombies which are aptly described by their name) can punch really hard. They can send cars and dumpsters flying and crush people with them. But not all cars, only the ones it outlines in red for you. If you're going to introduce a mechanic like that, and teach players to use it, you've got to stick with it. Don't design a level set in a junk yard, filled with magically immobile cars.

Make the rules of your game consistent. Remembering a long list of exceptions just adds a layer of metagaming that I'm not interested in. The game world should be layer of abstraction atop a rule set, and the rules should flow naturally from the game world. This is a very delicate balance that I know is hard to come by, and I fully accept games that can just approximate this balance by never putting players into situations where the exceptions manifest themselves.

Re:so true (1)

Intrinsic (74189) | about 4 years ago | (#32769762)

Yeah I agree, its really about following your own rule set. When you cut corners it just pisses people off and breaks people out of the fun of the game.

Portal (3, Insightful)

Weedhopper (168515) | about 4 years ago | (#32769218)

Did it right.

Almost every other game with a gimmick = does it wrong.

Re:Portal (1)

Kell Bengal (711123) | about 4 years ago | (#32769286)

Alas, even portal had a suspicious number of 'unportalable' walls.

Re:Portal (2, Insightful)

Miseph (979059) | about 4 years ago | (#32769434)

Yes, but it was consistent, predictable, and given the context there was an internally plausible explanation: however the gun works, it doesn't work right on certain surfaces. I agree that it might have been nice if they found some other way of limiting the portal spawner's power, but all things considered it was pretty well done.

Better the gravity gun from HL2, which was really just an example of what happens when only 1/4 of the objects in your environment are actually objects. WAY better than Red Faction, where terrain could be destroyed, but only in small amounts, only so much within a load zone, had no other physics (yay floating rock islands!), and only where it wasn't actually useful to do so.

Re:Portal (3, Interesting)

OnePumpChump (1560417) | about 4 years ago | (#32769678)

Play it again with commentary on. Valve are really seriously thinking about this stuff.

Re:Portal (4, Interesting)

grumbel (592662) | about 4 years ago | (#32770256)

Valve is really serious about play testing their games to death, which sadly however also removes what makes games interesting, as instead of giving you something interesting to discover, the games are so smooth and through fully tested that you have close to zero chance to discover anything the developer didn't intend.

Valve games for me are like amusement park rides, sure they are fun and all, but at the end of the day you are riding on rails, seeing a well crafted show, not an actual interactive world.

Portal (spoiler) (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32769226)

This is exactly why Portal was so awesome. Although it was a FPS, it behaved like any old 2D puzzler. It started out the same way for 15 levels: Light walls you put a portal on, dark walls you don't put a portal on. I began to see the game abstractly, like looking at a Minesweeper board. Then you go behind the wall and find the surprise. "The cake is a lie" was a funny internet meme for a year, but before that it was kind of disturbing to see for the first time. More games should challenge your expections, I hope the sequel lives up to it.

Re:Portal (spoiler) (5, Insightful)

Anpheus (908711) | about 4 years ago | (#32769366)

I felt like I better knew the character of GLaDOS from four or five hours of gameplay with Portal and sparse dialog than I know the characters of most movies.

The gameplay mechanic being insidiously clever and fun helped too.

Re:Portal (spoiler) (5, Insightful)

delinear (991444) | about 4 years ago | (#32770572)

The fire part was one of the best scenes I've ever encountered in a game - you always knew it (or something like it) was coming, but when it happened you really felt like the rules of the game had completely changed, suddenly you're not being hand held through a simple puzzle, you're dropped into a situation where you have to use what you've learned and instantly react or die, and the character of GLaDOS played such a massive part in building the atmosphere leading up to that.

QTE's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32769422)

QTE's are the absolute worst

If you don't play many games QTE stands for quick time event. It's when the game goes into a cinematic but forces you to press buttons at the right time to "pass" the movie. Basically the game will go out of the game and into a cut-scene. You'll be watching Lara Croft trying to outrun a bolder or whatever like a movie, then the game will flash the A button on the screen and you have to quickly press A or you'll get the movie her getting squished by a boulder. After you get a couple of those, ever time you come to a cutscene in the game you're watching the screen like a hawk waiting for it to flash a button so you don't miss it and have to start over. Takes you completely out of the game.

Re:QTE's (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | about 4 years ago | (#32770396)

I'd usually agree, but there was one time when it worked incredibly well: the rooftop battle in Shenmue II. [youtube.com] It used "Command QTEs" - the game freezes for a moment to show you a whole button combination to replicate. The whole scene felt truly epic. And it felt right, just watch it -- It'd be too hard to enter such precise moves with normal gameplay.

Re:QTE's (1)

delinear (991444) | about 4 years ago | (#32770684)

And just as bad, it means you don't get any breathing space in between intense scenes because you can't just think "oh, cutscene, I'll just relace for a minute" as you said, you have to watch the screen like a hawk or be forced to sit through the whole thing again. On top of that, it completely kills any replay value - I'd like to be able to replay the game (on a harder difficulty setting for instance) and just skip these parts once I know the story, being forced to sit through them to catch some pointless interaction is frustrating, does anyone find this "fun" or believe that it brings anything to the experience?

Oblig: Red Faction (2, Insightful)

GF678 (1453005) | about 4 years ago | (#32769424)

Yes, Red Faction. A game which touted the ability to use a rocket launcher to blow the shit out of rocky caverns and construct new tunnels to traverse through... and yet when fired at the partitions in office cubicles would do absolutely nothing.

Still, apparently it worked much better in multiplayer. Probably because the need to artificially limit the player was less of a requirement in MP than it was in SP.

Re:Oblig: Red Faction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32769472)

Hell you couldn't even dig tunnels through caverns unless it was specifically flagged as a 'dig here spot' go good boy dig dig....

That game was such a letdown.

Re:Oblig: Red Faction (2, Interesting)

HopefulIntern (1759406) | about 4 years ago | (#32770354)

Red Faction, the first one, was actually really good with its Geo-Mod tech. Your point is valid, there were some times when you had indestructible object (often things which in real life would be a lot weaker than a solid wall of rock) but all in all I think they did a great job on it. The first Red Faction game was, coincidentally, the first PC game I pirated, played through the campaign, then went to the store and bought, for the multiplayer (which was fantastic, except for the odd dick who would just camp with a rail gun).

Aside note: Was Red Faction based on Total Recall, or rather, PK Dick's novel? The story line seems very similar in some places.

Re:Oblig: Red Faction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32770510)

Yes, Red Faction. A game which touted the ability to use a rocket launcher to blow the shit out of rocky caverns and construct new tunnels to traverse through... and yet when fired at the partitions in office cubicles would do absolutely nothing.

Yeah... 100% destructible environment would be nice.... Wait. What year is it? 2025? And have we finally moved past using polygons for 3D?

Still, apparently it worked much better in multiplayer. Probably because the need to artificially limit the player was less of a requirement in MP than it was in SP.

Actually, probably not. Multiplayer maps use a lot of placeable objects (at the expense of speed/memory/loading time) but are simultaneously smaller and less complex. Singleplayer maps OTOH tend to use a lot of static geometry instead.

Quick Time Events (5, Insightful)

cOldhandle (1555485) | about 4 years ago | (#32769550)

For me, quick time events [wikipedia.org] are the worst offenders of all that have ruined many modern games for me (Resident Evil 4/5, God of War series, Uncharted, etc.) . Interrupt the game, destroy the atmosphere by displaying console-specific button prompts, and then force the player to play some lame simon-says game resurrected from the dark era of "interactive movie" games on the mega-cd. Yeah, that's a great idea...

Re:Quick Time Events (1)

SheeEttin (899897) | about 4 years ago | (#32769972)

Oh god don't remind me.
I'm working my way through RE4 on the Gamecube (my first Resident Evil game, which I still haven't completed), just creepin' along a passageway, when OSHIT A BOULDER FUCKING RUN PUSH BUTTONS WHAT BUTTON A PUSH A PUSH OTHER BUTTONS WHAT WHICH BUTT--dead.
I got up to about the third button combination before I gave up. Either that's where I stopped or someone did it for me; I don't remember.

Re:Quick Time Events (1)

Zironic (1112127) | about 4 years ago | (#32770038)

They serve a point though, the idea is that they want the hero to do cool moves that are outside the normal combat set, so they have to show a cinematic. However people dislike cinematics because they can't do anything, so they attempt to make the cinematic interactive through quick time.

Re:Quick Time Events (2, Informative)

delinear (991444) | about 4 years ago | (#32770696)

Just make them skippable - the people who want to see the cool move get to, the people who don't want to be annoyed by having to randomly mash some button are happy, I know they probably spent a lot of money on that cut-scene but if I don't want to watch it there's little advantage in forcing me to, I won't thank the developers for it.

Re:Quick Time Events (1)

Weedhopper (168515) | about 4 years ago | (#32770054)

Yep. It was interesting when GoW did it. Now it's just lazy.

I get the first QTE in any game demo and that's it for the game. I started Star Wars: Force Unleashed. Got the first QTE, quit the game. Fuck that noise.

Misuse of the term "immersion" (1, Redundant)

bonch (38532) | about 4 years ago | (#32769586)

Is anyone else tired of the gaming press obsessing over their beloved immer-shun? They've latched onto this word as a rallying cry when they want to complain about something that reminds them they're not some unstoppable, auto-healing badass. Immersion doesn't mean "realism." It just means you're really absorbed into something. You can be immersed for hours in Tetris, but it doesn't mean you believe you're in a plausible world of randomly falling blocks. Stop whining about your beloved sense of immer-shun.

Re:Misuse of the term "immersion" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32769656)

I do believe the right term is, or atleast used to be, "suspense of disbelief".

Re:Misuse of the term "immersion" (1)

Vintermann (400722) | about 4 years ago | (#32769802)

Suspension. But yes.

Re:Misuse of the term "immersion" (1)

Vintermann (400722) | about 4 years ago | (#32769784)

but it doesn't mean you believe you're in a plausible world of randomly falling blocks.

What? Do you mean ... hey, don't you try ruining it for me!

Re:Misuse of the term "immersion" (3, Informative)

SEE (7681) | about 4 years ago | (#32770102)

First, Tetris has no narrative, while these games do. Immersion in a narrative is different than absorption in a puzzle. Just because they're both "games" doesn't mean you can successfully mix-and-match the fundamentally different experiences of narrative and puzzle. Narrative immersion isn't dependent on realism, but internal consistency. There's a willing suspension of disbelief, and if you break it, you've failed as the crafter of a narrative.

Second, even puzzle absorption can be broken by jarring inconsistencies. If Tetris had random blocks that couldn't be moved or rotated, or sometimes arbitrarily reversed the effect of a rotation, the change would break puzzle absorption, and the game would have been much less successful.

HUD (2, Insightful)

grimdawg (954902) | about 4 years ago | (#32769594)

This is the problem with a HUD. Health bars look dumb, and remind you that you're not playing a person but some abstraction of a person. Magic bars, too. It's unfortunate that the real-world mechanics of death are no fun to play, and so we have to create an unreal world, but hiding this is an important aspect of design in *SOME* games.

On the other hand, the current crop of games trying to 'go no HUD' are often worse. Putting the health bar on the player's back doesn't make it less of a health bar, and serves only to remind me that they're trying to fool me. HUD is at worst a necessary evil, and at best a useful tool.

Re:HUD (2, Interesting)

HopefulIntern (1759406) | about 4 years ago | (#32770376)

Many shooters these days (Bad Company 2, even MW2) offer so-called "Hardcore Mode" which, in addition to being closer to realism (bullets actually kill quite quickly, in small amounts) they remove most if not all aspects of the HUD; no crosshair (so firing from the hip is fairly blind-fire), no healthbar (you are either dead or not), no ammo display (you keep track of how much ammo you burn. when it's empty it's empty), no map (unless you have a UAV in the air, in the case of MW2). The score/time left is also not readily available unless you bring up the scoreboard.

Re:HUD (2, Insightful)

grumbel (592662) | about 4 years ago | (#32770398)

It's unfortunate that the real-world mechanics of death are no fun to play,

And yet I had the most memorable experiences ever with games like Another World or Operation Flashpoint where you die rather realistically (AW: one shot kills, touching anything dangerous kills also instantly, OF: one shoot may kill you, two almost certainly do and if you have bad luck you survive and can only crawl).

The problem with health isn't health itself, but really the enemies you are fighting. With most games you are a sole hero fighting whole armies of enemies and while both of you are "human" you fight by completly different rules. Enemies die after a head shot, yet players can take plenty and still walk away just fine (thanks to huge health supply). It is that point where the immersion falls apart, as it becomes obvious that the game doesn't even follow its own rules. If you fight enemies that should have the same strength as you story wise, they should have that strength also in gameplay, yet in lost of games they just don't.

Re:HUD (1)

grimdawg (954902) | about 4 years ago | (#32770604)

I'm not trying to say there aren't times when realistic health works great; only that in plenty of cases (I'd argue in the overwhelming majority) it isn't ideal.

Re:HUD (1)

Eudial (590661) | about 4 years ago | (#32770622)

Mass Effect 2 did it quite nicely though, with the whole blood-shot screen thing when you got hurt. It also had a health bar, but still, you didn't really need to pay as much attention to that.

Classic for me was Quake (1)

not_a_product_id (604278) | about 4 years ago | (#32769604)

I could have a rocket launcher capable of seriously hurting the biggest monsters but I couldn't so much as crease the pages of a book on the bookshelves. Damn it!

Inmersion noisremnI (1)

Tei (520358) | about 4 years ago | (#32769700)

I have learned the hard way, that not everyone want full inmersion in his games. There are people just now, playing the "achievement metagame" and using Red Dead Redemtion for that.
Or there are people just now, playing and chatting in Borderlands, playing the metagame of searching a shotgun with acid rockets.
So, we all search different things in games, and only a subset of the gamers group want full inmersion.

All the console games have visible buttons that suposedly helps the player remenber that X reload the ammo of the gun, and things like that. On the pc we don't need to remenber that the key R do the Reload of the weapon. So theres like different needs for metainformation that break inmersion in different gamming areas. The consoles dudes need more metainformacion. There are PC games, like AvP where the alien just have a tiny bar on the bottom, nothing else is need to play as alien.

Not just games (2, Insightful)

coppro (1143801) | about 4 years ago | (#32769770)

This is like a modern cartoon. American children's cartoons tend to be the worst offenders. Backgrounds are usually static while only the foreground is animated. The background might even be drawn with different penmanship or a different style altogether (e.g. a watercolor background). Sometimes the effect works, as it does in some video games, but in particular if a character has to interact with an element of the background, then things start to look very out of place.

My personal favorite example was from a cartoon showing a series of fences. They were mostly soft, pretty detailed. Except every fence had a few panels in a line that were drawn with heavier lines and flatter colors. It was easy to predict that the scene included a character breaking through those panels.

Re:Not just games (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | about 4 years ago | (#32770500)

My personal favorite example was from a cartoon showing a series of fences. They were mostly soft, pretty detailed. Except every fence had a few panels in a line that were drawn with heavier lines and flatter colors. It was easy to predict that the scene included a character breaking through those panels.

I also noticed this kind of thing in a scene with a series of closet doors, one of them looking clearly different.

Go4't (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32769996)

paper mario wii (1)

crossmr (957846) | about 4 years ago | (#32770032)

This one was bad.. you'd walk along until you were stuck. As soon as you were stuck you knew you had to flip the view to continue on.... it might as well just auto-flipped.

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<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
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