Infecting Our Emotions Through Immersion In The Last Of Us
Playing video games is personal. Sitting down as you clutch the controller in your hand manages to evolve into a unique experience that evolves from your own personal choices. Our perceptions shape how we view the experience as a whole, and this can be seen at work constantly through the power of film. A great movie creates a sense of immersion that manipulates your emotions into caring for the hero, condemning the villain or even simply cheering for love. The worlds that filmmakers create drag us out of our own realities and allow us to buy into a suspension of disbelief that provides a powerful sense of emotion which infects our minds with the struggles of the characters, but most importantly, we empathize with them through every hardship they endure.
There’s no denying that video games have attempted to capture the power of cinema over the last few years. As a result, gaming has seen leaps in terms of narrative design and experiences that immerse your senses in awe-inspiring worlds. Places that shatter preconceptions of what gaming can accomplish. BioShock: Infinite and The Walking Dead are two games that immediately come to mind. Both of these games attempt to build a link between your emotions and connection to characters within the world in order to make your emotions intertwine with the struggle of their protagonists.
Games can be heart shattering, not simply because of a greater focus on the quality of writing in games, but rather a total shift in understanding the complexities of immersion within the interactive space. The controller controls our character but our suspension of disbelief brings an unprecedented level of connection that film is unable to achieve. BioShock: Infinite’s focus on first-person shooting is rightly contrasted with The Walking Dead’s point-and-click adventure style, yet both titles manage to tap into our emotional reserves. We can draw from this that drastically different gameplay experiences are capable of creating significant emotional experiences by utilizing the crucial element of immersion.
It should come as no surprise then that Naughty Dog’s post-pandemic adventure title, The Last of Us, is aiming to capitalize on the power of immersion by evolving upon an ongoing fusion of emotional storytelling with interactivity.
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