Sin Aesthetics

In which Mo explores the social pathology of roleplaying and begins to experiment with game design.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Abandoning Immersion

So I've been out of the country for four months, and there's nothing like being thrown into the unfamiliar for a prolonged time to clear the head. While I was away I had very little time to keep up with the sundry blogs and forums that I normally follow. When I could find some precious time to look around, I found that with distance, my brain was becoming more and more frustrated with the discourse of gaming in general, and in particular, with immersion. It's a word I've been using for a long time now, and a word I really was rather fond of once, but I think it's long lost any semblance of meaning.

So I'm letting it go.

Since last fall when I started shifting my focus towards specifics and away from some nebulous idea of the body immersive, I've found it more and more helpful in actually establishing some kind of communal understanding and explorative progress with the people who I'm talking to. So from here on in, (on SA and wherever possible) I will be using words like goal and socket and payoff as a kind of matrix to point to specific things rather than try and situate things that are clearly different in a catch all word like immersion. Rather than saying You are immersive or I am not immersive, which really tells you nothing because too many people assert too many conflicting qualities to immersion, I will talk about the means of play, the motivations of play, and the path of play, which hopefully can allow me to talk to the three of you quite clearly, at least for the next ten minutes.

This also means that if I get general questions about "what this means to immersion" in the comments, I'll likely be ignoring them.

While I'm on the topic of comments, I'd like to note that going forward I may or may not respond to any or all who comment. I'm doing this on my blog rather than on a forum for a reason which has little to do with you and a lot to do with me. If I wasn't doing it here, I wouldn't likely be doing it anywhere, and I've found over the last year or so since I started Sin Aesthetics that engaging in response is very powerful to me. It historically has the power to fuel or destroy my enthusiasm or my momentum and that I've given it the unmitigated power to do that pisses me off.

So, from here on in I will be attempting to engage with it selectively to feed my energy and momentum when it can and to let it go when it can't. When I will and when I won't probably has little correlation to the value of your response, so don't take it personally. Please ask questions and comment where you see fit. Even if I don't respond immediately, it doesn't mean I won't read it and let it influence me or that I won't get back to you as a later date.


Anonymous Thomas Robertson said...


Good for you! I'm glad the time away helped you get a new perspective on things.

And good on you for the move to specifics. The one common thread I've found in my discussions of immersion (especially in one-on-one discussions with various people) is that the idea means something slightly different (or extremely different) to just about everyone. It's got a lot of baggage.

Besides, I really like the idea of sockets and definitely want to hear more about them.

Oh, and welcome back!


11/12/2006 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

Can I point people at this as a reference to why I don't talk about immersion as a general topic?


11/12/2006 06:26:00 PM  
Blogger Mo said...


Sure thing, point away.


11/12/2006 09:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mo, everything you say is generally awesome. You're like a breath of fresh air in the often smokey world of gamethought. It's so nice to have you back.

11/13/2006 10:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also. You are hella old. And a perv. Just saying :)

11/13/2006 11:44:00 PM  
Blogger Troy_Costisick said...


Mo, I am very interested in what you have to share. Three months ago I don't think I would have been open to it, but now I have a VERY keen interest. I look forward to your subsiquent posts.



11/14/2006 02:14:00 PM  
Blogger Mo said...

Jonathan, ya young snapperwhipper (kinky!) you don't know shit about shit, even if I am an old perv.

Oh yeah, and turn that damn music down or turn it off!

11/14/2006 06:11:00 PM  
Blogger Mo said...


What changed?


11/14/2006 06:12:00 PM  

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