3 Comments

  1. Aaron Vanek
    October 30, 2017 @ 9:08 pm

    My definition of “immersion” or “Immersive entertainment” is complete, or near-complete envelopment in the fiction (whatever fiction has been created by the creators). Disneyland does this with most of their rides such as Space Mountain (at least, they did when I was there, years ago).

    What you (Madison) are talking about, I think, is interactivity–the ability of the participant (and I call them participants) to engage with that fiction, not just passively observe it. And there are different degrees of interaction possible; from “do what I say right now to keep the narrative moving” to “your actions determine the outcome of the narrative” to “you are the narrative.”

    Have you ever been in a larp, a live action role playing experience? Larps are extremely heavy on the interactivity, with varying degrees of immersion. I’ve been in a tax planning office that doubled as a spaceship, for example.

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    • Madison
      November 1, 2017 @ 5:11 am

      I agree with you. I just usually feel like an audience member when I go to an immersive event and that feeling makes it less immersive, for me. I have not been to a LARP yet, something I will definitely check out soon.

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  2. Eric Larkin
    November 2, 2017 @ 6:33 pm

    I’m with you, Madison. I want a level of agency beyond just standing close to the actors, and I want it while immersed in a world I wouldn’t normally have access to, something Disneyland does well – to use Aaron’s example- or the Halloween mazes at Knott’s, the recent Kaidan Project, etc.. I’m still pretty new to all this, but could you say most experiences that currently fit under the broad category of “immersive” fall somewhere along a *spectrum* of “breaking the 4th wall”? I agree that escape rooms seem to have the best combo of immersive environment & agency (as long as the puzzle elements come out of the story, and are not just tacked on like “zombies are coming! quick – solve this sudoku” – wait, what?!) Maybe the ultimate fictional example is Westworld (LARP with killable robots).
    What’s the next level? There are so many fascinating problems to wrestle with in setting up an imaginary world with agency, but not so much that an agent can break the illusion. And on a practical level, I wonder if we can get there without making it prohibitively expensive for regular folks (unlike Westworld).

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