Immersion and identity in video games

Yaman Terzioglu, Purdue University


The video gaming industry is an ever-expanding one. According to Reuters, the global net worth of the industry in 2011 was US$65 billion (Reuters, 2011). Every year developers race to deliver the best game ever produced. There are various factors, which render a game successful and a successful formulation of those factors means a satisfying game experience for the players. Immersion, the mental involvement between the game and the player, is one of the broader phenomena, which includes most of the game design elements as its determinants. Understanding the impact of a game's immersiveness and how to form a strong immersive structure is relevant to the development of a successful video game. Every video game player, as they play video games, connects their real life identity with a virtual identity, which serves as a visual and substantial representation. The real life identity, with every aspect, is reflected on to the virtual identity and the latter is reflected on to the former as an outcome of being exposed to video games. James Paul Gee (2004) has suggested that a third type of identity is formed during this process of exchange: "the Projective Identity" (p. 56). Understanding the relationship between identity and videogames through this idea of triple identities (real life, projective and virtual) and the interaction between players' real-world self and the avatar they are controlling inside the virtual space is crucial towards analyzing video game elements such as "Immersion" and "Presence". This thesis investigates different video game elements and the impact they have in terms of immersion and the relevance of these elements based on the Space Simulation Genre, to create a model that would be applicable to other genres.




Sigman, Purdue University.

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