Immersion is one of the top things mentioned when talking about what makes a good game. I am writing this article to a response that I get often, that females in games having ‘disproportionate’ body parts that don’t fit in the lines of reality break video game immersion. This idea that immersion is what makes a game a good or a bad game disregards many wonderful and popular game titles.
For example: Sly Cooper. In the game series Sly Cooper, you don’t play as your typical protagonist, you play as an anthropomorphic raccoon and his friends. This game is wonderfully made, the storyline is linear but excellent, but the main character and even the story plot is unrealistic, and by definition, non-immersible. But you are partially immersed, regardless.
This is because of something once called an Impersonal Immersion which occurs during any Third Person Narrative. We are not literally that character, but we are playing as if we can control a story being told to us. Like the Harry Potter novels, and the Zelda games.
There are many good games that break immersion altogether, like Advance Wars, Rock of Ages, and even Fez (nobody feels like the small white blob-person, or at least I don’t think they do.). There are also many ways to incorporate immersion, like the Pokemon series, or Papers Please. Realism is actually not a highly important factor when it comes to immersion in games. Who do you know that is a vampire? Controls elements? Flies everywhere? Etc? This whole idea that games need realism in order to incorporate immersion is in itself flawed, and many games without immersion are wonderful games as well.
So the Argument of Immersion kinda falls flat when determining what one should or should not add to a game. Which is not to say that immersion in and of itself is bad or useless, in fact, it is one of the best things to come to gaming. But one should not hold it up as a gold standard of all gaming, and then hold all characters in all games on this puritan level of realism. As I said in a prior article, games are a medium of escapism, it’s not going to focus too much on reality.