Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Immersion in Media

For my topic I have chosen Immersion in media or “The Magic Circle” as a professional term. The reason why I picked this topic is because I showed one of my best friends who is not a gamer, a video game that I felt really attached to. They didn’t have a similar feeling towards it and didn’t get into at all like I had. For a while I already knew that there was such thing as a feeling where you believe you are in a set media like a book, movie, TV show, or video game. I also knew that it was called The Magic Circle meaning that you are in a new state of being, here everything that you accepted as real fades, and this new world is real to you, kind of like a state of meditation.

I am hoping to help people understand how immersion works and how they too can feel like they're a part of a new world. Whenever I play a massively expansive game that lets me create my own character and make my own choices makes me feel that I am now a part of this world and will fit this new role I have made for myself and make decisions in the game that portray that new role. I want people to be able to experience that at least once because there are just some things you can’t see or even be a part of in the real world. Being immersed in interactive media lets the weak be strong, the shy be loud, and the unpopular to become famous. For now I have found four sources that have already told me great things behind the science and psychology behind Immersion in media. Extra Credits is a group of game designers who explore deeper topics of gaming and a couple of other sources, one of which is a psychologist who’s named Werner Wirth has already delved deep in this kind of topic.

To explain a lot of the words I’ve been using “The Magic Circle” as one of the words that normal people might not know. “The Magic Circle” is the feeling of being apart of something, a “New World” in a sense. When a movie comes on and all your friends are really excited about it and start thinking about questions in the movie that only apply to it, you and all other have joined that circle that the movie has shown all of you. When playing a online game making a new name for yourself for your new character is a part of it as well when others call you by that name you start to get lost in the world presented to you. You believe you are this character in the game and act how they would in the game. Another word is “Synthetic Worlds” the reason they are called Synthetic is because these are new worlds created/experienced by man everyday and you can cross between the real world to these “Synthetic Worlds” any time you like or whenever you have time(Castronova). The last thing I will be going over is “Spatial Presence” defined as existing when media contents are perceived as ‘real’ in the sense that media users “experience a sensation of being spatially located in the mediated environment”(Madigan).

To explain the magic circle more in definition, the magic circle of a game is where the game takes place. To play a game or read a book means entering into the magic circle, or perhaps creating one as a media begins. To Castronova, there are many areas that change the obscuring of the distinction between the real and the virtual. Three of these areas consist of “markets, politics , and law”. For the market to work Virtual worlds ‘as Castronova puts it’ usually contain their own money system or currency. Then, virtual goods and services have a certain monetary value with them. More or less, many things to do in these worlds require a certain set of skill as well as commitment from the user, which adds to the experience (Madigan).

Another example that illustrates the dividing of distinction between the real and the virtual is related to politics and concepts of what is fair within these synthetic worlds. Castronova states that users “are a community of interests who are affected by the decisions of a coding authority, usually the game developers”. Talking between players and the developers takes place in online discussion forums outside of the synthetic world. When users take their in world political concerns to out of world forums, they break down the distinction between virtual and real in a very crazy way (Castronova). According to Castronova, our culture “has moved beyond the point” where distinctions between the virtual and the real are helpful.

Back to “Spatial presence” which is the feeling of being in another land or world without moving at all with the help of media. This where it gets a little more scientific, when media is shown to you certain cues have to be made before spatial presence comes in, images, movement, sounds, and so forth. As well as assumptions about the world that they may bring to the table. Once that image of the media’s world is created, the user must decide, either consciously or unconsciously, whether he/she feels like they are in that imagined world or in the real one. Of course, its worth noting that this isn’t necessary a conscious decision with the prefrontal cortex’s stamp of approval on it. (Madigan)“It can be subconscious, on the sly, slipped into sideways and entered and exited constantly”. Researchers have studied into how these two steps happen, but I think it’s more interesting for our purposes here to skip to the bit about the qualities of the media and person that they’ve found that center around both of these steps and create immersion. So let’s do that.

Media characteristics leading to spatial presence can be grouped in two general categories (Madigan). Those that create a rich mental model of the media environment and those that create consistency between the things in that environment. Let’s take the concept of richness, first. This isn’t the exact list but richness relates to:(Madigan Chart)

● Multiple channels of sensory information

● Completeness of sensory information

● Cognitively demanding environments

● A strong and interesting narrative, plot, or story

That means the more senses that work together with each other the better chance of getting full immersion. An example of breaking the immersion in a movie as being in a really serious moment and seeing the boom mic drop. That instance would completely break you out of the immersion.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Diverse Play styles in Gaming

Now when I talk about many play styles think of it as whether to given the choice in the game to use a sword or a gun. Both weapons have different needs to be good, say the sword you need a certain amount of strength to hurt anyone and to be able to move more freely. With the gun you need bullets which might not be plentiful or it could be hard to aim while being attacked. The point is that I enjoy to have choices in my games, not to be stuck with some one pistol in a dark corridor (Like some horror games do).

Though many games allow you to do many things with one weapon like in Darksiders 2 where you can certain combos and abilities with his weapons. I still find this game to be the most un-enjoyable experience with lack luster story, game mechanics, and you can tell that the developers favored graphics more. 

But games like Unreal Tournament have hundreds of weapons with each having to need a certain amount of skill to use. Not only you can use weapons but a multitude of vehicles as well. This had almost everything that was fun and enjoyable about having many weapons and has solidified its self in my own heart forever

But not only weapons can diversify gameplay having a lot of characters like in MOBA's also makes for a more entertaining game. Through character having unique powers as the rest makes for an even more difficult yet pleasing gaming. Difficult because its hard to keep up with all the different powers of every character but fun with exploring new ways of play in one game.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


There's a video game that is topping the charts for years here let me explain it to you,
You only get one life and you have to make decisions at every turn some people have made it to 122 years but nobody has beaten the game, it's called “The Fine Game of Nil”

The joke is that the game is “Life” itself but the other part is that no one has found the meaning of life The Fine Game of Nil is a respelling of The Meaning of Life.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Why can gamer only be killers?

All I hear today is video games creates killer but there has yet to be any real life evidence to show this is true and most of these accusations are because of games like Grand Theft Auto, and Saints Row where the premise of those games is to do bad things and even sometimes you can do good things in those games like GTA's random events where you can choose to help other people with common crooks. But since games are getting closer to portraying reality it just scares anyone who doesn't play these games, with any media if people don't understand it fully then they are scared of it "like my dog against the vacuum cleaner"

So if it is true then why cant gaming train us to be heroes there are just as many games that you are the true hero in and not just some murderous killer.

Fable, this game teaches you that your actions have consequences, of course you can be evil in this game but the people in the game will treat you different some will be less favorable to your plans if you just killed half of the town.

The ending to the game (Spoilers) is a usually two different choices you either keep a mask the main villain has been using to torment people or throw it into the fire. If you keep it, you become the new villain, but if you don't you become the hero that everyone favors.
The reason I point this out is because the choice is in your hand the game isn't forcing you or exactly applauding you to be evil.

Another game is Fallout 3 in this game everything you do is your choice and you get more rewards for doing good things than bad, a radio station call Galaxy News Radio will also applaud you for being a "Hero of the Waste" and will scorn you if you do anything wrong in the world or just kill people out of random.

Bring up bad and good Fallout has a karma system that details how people treat whether or not they will join you as a companion. Each time you steal, kill, lie, and cheat you lose karma and opposite for good karma.

In the end I feel that if gamer's can supposedly be murders then we can also be heroes and the same thing here can apply to any other media.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

"How Immerion works" Short Story

Ever since I was born I played video games, games of all kind from Mario in the mushroom kingdom to battling Pokemon in pallet town. Now that I have my own home and means of making money I can now buy any game I want and I know just the one Fallout: New Vegas, the game was a role-playing game set in post nuclear Nevada.

I put the game in my console and let it load as it updated (Like games now-a-days do) and grabbed some batteries for my controller so I could be prepared for an all nighter. I came back with snacks and drink in hand, plopped myself down on my couch and started my new adventure.

"War. War never changes.
When atomic fire consumed the earth, those who survived did so in great, underground vaults. When they opened, their inhabitants set out across ruins of the old world to build new societies, establish new villages, forming tribes..."

I found myself no longer sitting on my couch, but down on my knees with my hands bound.

"You are a courier, hired by the Mojave Express, to deliver a package to the New Vegas Strip. What seemed like a simple delivery job has taken a turn…for the worse." 

Three men stood in front as I looked up at them one in a checkered suit the other two in biker outfits.
"Guess who's waking up over here?" the man in the checkered suit turned to me. 
I was terrified because I had no recollection of how I got here and I couldn't speak either, like I didn't hear my own voice when I tried.
"Time to cash out."
"Would you get it over with-" the man in the suit cut off his companions sentence with his own.
"Maybe Khans kill people without looking them in the face, but I ain't a fink, dig?"
He then proceeds to pull out a white poker chip out of his left pocket.
"You've made your last delivery kid."he puts the chip back.
"Sorry you got twisted up in this scene." he then reaches into his right pocket and draws a gold painted handgun.
"From where you're kneeling it must seem like an 18-carat run of bad luck. Truth is...the game was rigged from the start." He pulls the trigger and I see my life flash before my eyes. I fell to the ground but the ground wasn't dirt... it was carpet

I got up back in my living room, past mid-night.
"I must have dosed off"

Friday, October 2, 2015

MOBA Rage. Response

For the most time I knew their was a lot of hostility in MOBA's (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) but never did I imagine how close it was to me. Recently when playing a new favorite of mine ,Smite, now that I have reach the higher I started hearing a lot more talking and team work but also a lot more of bad mouthing and rudeness in my matches. For me these attacks are harmless and mainly shows how childish people can be but for some these hate spewing people can be very harmful.
This is a showing of similar attacks I've heard 

So many new players to these MOBA's have been turned away do to the toxic nature of people who would just rather yell at them for doing something wrong then try to teach them. A friend of mine who I recently introduce to the game has told me of the many times he has been told that he is a "Noob" (New Player) and only a small amount of people have tried to teach him on how to play. Since then I have personally taught him how to play well, but I was very upset at the things he told me.
Many other people have talked about this topic and ways to make it stop though if I'm still seeing it then those methods might not be working very effectively. Extra Credits have made a very well done video on this issue. But like I said before if I'm still seeing it then it hasn't stopped.    
Even I get frustrated sometimes wit
h these games but I am able to hold my tongue, so don't rage when you see trolling or bad players "Just carry harder."

Monday, September 28, 2015


The Gamification wiki made by the sites owner explains what gamification is all about. He/She uses formal writing to express how serious the words meaning is. With excellent use of syntax "The oldest example of are frequent flyer programs...". The intended audience is for young adults and anyone above the knowledge of standard psychology. The message in the article is explaining what gamification is and how it effects daily life.

Gamer Toxicity made by Alexandru "Dredd" Sirbu explains what toxicity is, how it happens, and how it can be avoided. The article is written in a casual informal style using "jolly good time" and "exploding fits of rage". the article is in short informative paragraphs intended for young people who are wondering about the topic. The author relates to the readers by explaining his own experience in this topic. The purpose of the writing is to inform people on how serious toxicity can be.

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations by Gabe Zicherman talks about the meaning and uses of the words Intrinsic and Extrinsic. The article is formal writing with broad expansive paragraphs "this emerging discipline". This article is more pointed to people to new to psychology. The purpose of the writing was to teach about the subject.

Presence by Social Sciences explains what presence means, what it is, and how it happens. The writing is setup in internet style with very large on going paragraphs and formal writing. A lot of the sentences are questions followed up by answers. The purpose of the writing is too teach young people how presence.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Can Video Games Invoke the feeling of loss?

For a long time video games have been debated on whether or not they are an art form and as such should be treated like art. I do believe that games can be art because the definition for art fits with video games as well
"the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power." and now I ask the question
"Can we feel loss from a video game"
Yes losing at a game can make you upset but that is not exactly what I'm asking. I'm asking if losing a character in a game could make you feel a deeper meaning or provoke thought.

 Yannick LeJacq from kotaku gave a example on why he has regretted killing in video games, in his play session of Mass Effect 3 towards the end (Spoiler) he was given the choice to annihilate one of two civilizations in he choose to save a character named Tali
"I thought she was a more useful party member to have around for the final section of the game."
and as soon as the other civilization was destroyed he immediately was saddened by what he just did then asking himself
"here I was letting an entire civilization die just because I didn't need another guy who was good with sniper rifles in my party? Who did I think I was?"

In my own experience I was playing Dark Souls a very difficult Action role-playing game. In the game I met a "firekeeper" who was locked behind bars and couldn't speak even though this character had little development I felt some connection with her and visited periodically when I came across the area. Soon enough though, as the story progressed she was killed. I was very hurt when I found out someone I released from another prison killed her. And so set off a quest of revenge until I finally brought her back and with a voice which made the struggle all the more worth.

So the question is: Can we feel loss from a video game    


My blog is about Psychology in Games. I'm going to talk about how different games invoke or make you think about yourself, the world around you, or big other ideas that you wouldn't have realized without the media itself.

I choose this topic because video games have made a very big effect on my life and in some ways had made me a better person through it.

I'll be researching all types of articles on the topic and be watching a web show (Extra Credits) that has already did a lot of similar talks about stuff like this but I will try to differ from them. I want people to realize there is so much more to video games than just a waste of time, that there is so much more to be explored.

When I make a post I would like to hear from whether you agree or disagree with a discussion, and personal experiences. Lastly no trolls please and if you don't know what a troll exactly is, "a person who invokes rage for their own personal enjoyment" so don't do that. I'm ready to discuss about these video games: Fallout series, Elderscrolls series, Battlefield series, Call of Duty, Halo series, Dark Souls, Final Fantasy, Pokemon, Until Dawn, Smite, MMO's, and some indie games