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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Immersion : On being 'In The Game'

I recently had the privilege of attending a One Chip Potato gig in my university town of Lancaster. Their usual performance never fails to amaze with their blend of sixties inspired hobo-folk music and zany, harmonic lyrics; this evening however, the lead vocalist wanted to try something different. He came on stage carrying a guitar and an electric keyboard, what's more he had a pencil selotaped to his shoe. "Give me a number - one to a hundred", he yelled at the audience. A voice behind me yelled back "Seven!". The lead vocalist used this number to choose the rhythm to which the keyboard would accompany his music. He then requested a further number from the crowd to which he set the tempo of the beat.
Why are you telling me this? I thought this was supposed to be a gaming blog, I want my money back. Well, if you exhibit some patience then I will answer your question within my next paragraph. And I didn't charge you any money... is that guy hanging outside the door again? He told you he would do anything for simoleons? I'll deal with him right after I wrap this immersion article up.
The lead vocalist I was writing about before you interrupted was so experienced, empassioned, confident and able at his art that he could be said to have become truly immersed. A sensation I believe many of you will be familiar, within our own hemisphere of gaming. By interfacing with a machine, human beings augment themselves - they become part machine by extension. As gamers we are in a special position to experience this augmentation to its fullest, this is because in games our actions may be determined by the synapses in our brains and the resulting movements of our hands and fingers; but it is our avatars, the in game representations of ourselves that carry out these actions. If by augmenting ourselves the human becomes part machine then it is the machine's projection of an avatar by which it becomes most human within a game. By extension, when we as gamers begin to see a portion of ourselves within this avatar, we can be said to have achieved a degree of immersion. It is by walking forward, not pressing the W key, that we progress and it is by being 'In The Game' that we will achieve.
Thats all well and good, but what why did the lead vocalist have a pencil selotaped to his shoe? He played the guitar with his fingers and whilst doing so also played the keyboard with his foot. Please check out their MySpace I linked to at the top of the page, this guy is the Fatal1ity of the hobo-folk world.

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