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Thread: What new games are "immersive sims"

  1. #51
    "Rick Lane of PC Gamer noted that while earlier games The Elder Scrolls series were not immersive sims, the change from a class-based to a class-less, skill-based system in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (2006) transitioned the series to an immersive sim.[1]"

    That's also from wikipedia and is funny to me because a.) if he actually said that, it's factually incorrect (Oblivion was still class-based) and b.) I'd consider Oblivion the first TES game that started incorporating im-sim elements but that's not really related to that dude's reasoning in any way.

    Also: "The origin comes from both System Shock games which use it as part of the first door codes seen in the game" Yeah, that's not really it. It's a reference to LGS using that as their security door code (which was a reference to the book, but that's kind irrelevant here).

  2. #52
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Sulphur View Post
    Hah, Wikipedia states: 'The term "immersive sim" may also be used to describe the game design philosophy behind the immersive sim genre, which uses interacting, reactive and consistent game systems to create emergent gameplay and a sense of player agency.'
    Of course. The reason these games share so many similarities is because of shared game design philosophy, but it is those similarities that form the conventions for a genre. And each new game in the genre adds to the conventions or modifies them, sometimes drastically. Living genres are always in flux.

    Also, genre conventions can be about more than tone -- they can be about mechanics, they can be about style, they can be about the subject matter, they can be about the form... Just think of the still life genre or epics, for example.
    Last edited by Starker; 19th May 2017 at 17:55.

  3. #53
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: Pennsylvania
    Quote Originally Posted by Sulphur View Post
    That's the point. Genre conventions are tonal - you have horror, which talks about a certain kind of experience, or you have adventure, or you have hack 'n slash, or you have a shooter. 'Immersive sim' doesn't really talk about the tone the game's trying to evoke, it talks about the production ethos and what that's meant to generate. I don't know if you're following on from the same base I'm using, which is Spector's Deus Ex post-mortem. We've since taken the term and run with it, but I don't think it was ever meant to be used as a genre descriptor.

    Also, the 451 code: nah. Didn't henke just post about Mafia 3 having it?
    "Genre" rarely means "tone" when used in the context of games. It is used for things like horror, but otherwise "Game genre" is usually used to refer to gameplay mechanisms and/or player POV: First-person shooter, third-person shooter, side-scroller, platform game, real-time strategy, turn-based strategy, etc. It's not always the best system for classifying games, but we're kind of stuck with it. I think "immersive sim" is an example of a more nuanced classification that can be more useful than those other terms, at least among people who agree (roughly) on a definition for it.

    Those terms were more useful in earlier days of video games, when games were almost purely about game play mechanisms.

  4. #54
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    As video games have matured as an art form, their genres have also become more diverse. Certainly game mechanics are one of the most visible features due to the nature of the medium, but for example 'spectacle fighter' is as much about style as it is about mechanics, enough to distinguish them from regular beat-em-ups.

  5. #55
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    RPG mechanics kind of migrated into almost everything.

  6. #56
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    All right, folks. Fair enough. I think we can all safely agree that video games classification, at this point, is a mess.

    Starker, Weasel: I agree that for games this has now become more complicated and mechanics were included (metroidvanias et al.) as time went on. Genre essentially means 'style' if you look at the etymology and general usage of the term, and you can use mechanics to define a game's style, but this doesn't work all the time. My initial point was that an immersive sim can be a horror game or a stealth game or an action game - it has to be something else along with being an immersive sim - and that doesn't sound right for classification unless it works as a genre superset or (ugh) meta-genre.

    And yeah, the conversation over 'What is an RPG?' is about as involved and predates 'What is an immersive sim?' by a fair margin. Hell, I think we've had a few threads on that topic as well years ago in GenGaming.
    Last edited by Sulphur; 20th May 2017 at 01:01.

  7. #57
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: Pennsylvania
    I think the theme / tone of any game should be a separate classification from the mechanics, rather than trying to blend the two into one thing that you label "genre."

    Compare to other art forms, for example books:
    A book can be fiction or non-fiction. It can be one story or a collection. It can have illustrations or not. It can be a play /screenplay or not. With all these types of classifications, I haven't even mentioned theme or genre. A historical fiction mystery play doesn't need a unique all-encompassing word to describe what type of book it is, you can just list all of those separate classifications.

    In other words, a "stealth immersive sim" game can be called just that, essentially defining it in two different dimensions at once.

  8. #58
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Genre does not work very well as a classification system. A genre is more like a fuzzy label that describes a set of conventions than a neat little box that defines what a game is. And, like Weasel said, there are multiple ways to define a set of conventions.

    And as for whether 'RPG' is a meaningful descriptor, why wouldn't it be? Just because it's not precisely defined does not make it meaningless. To borrow from Wittgenstein, a concept with blurred borders is still a concept. For example, is it meaningless to point to a general are and say, "Stand roughly there"?

    In fact, at the risk of sounding pretentious, it might be helpful to think along the lines of Wittgenstein's family resemblances in this case.
    Last edited by Starker; 20th May 2017 at 02:54.

  9. #59
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    I don't think I said 'RPG' was a meaningless descriptor. The context is it's up for debate as to where the boundaries begin and end. If you've got nebulous qualities to something, by definition there's always going to be differences of opinion as to what fits the description and what doesn't.

    As for genre convention: I think it's time we figured out a proper taxonomy instead of the kludge we currently have of lumping everything together, but that's just me.

  10. #60
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    "Proper taxonomy" kinda seems to presuppose that there is such a thing as the Platonic Ideal of an , though, and that's just not the case. We're looking at a bunch of games after the fact and trying to find a label that allows us to compartmentalise those games. That's fine, but the edges are always going to be fuzzy, because the games come before the genre, and all too often the argument seems to start from the position that there is such a thing as THE immersive sim, when actually these definitions are descriptive and not prescriptive, and the things being described aren't going to correlate 100%. I fully agree with Starker in this respect that 'family' resemblance is a more helpful way of looking at these things - and also to accept that some of the criteria we posit here are personal preference, not absolutes, because again, genres are not inherent, they're a categorisation we impose after the fact. Discussing whether something that's third person can or cannot be an immersive sim is nerd masturbation, because there *is* no correct answer.

  11. #61
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    I fully agree that going that far is intellectual masturbation, and I've said as much in my earlier post with the MGS 5 example. What I'm after is a nice, concise way of referring to these things without having to go over what these things are in the first place. That doesn't mean that there should be a Platonic Ideal, but as far as definitions are concerned, if we've retrofitted 'genre' to encompass mechanics with fuzzy interconnections between theme, style, and motive, that kind of category classification is getting a bit too noisy. It's not about prescribing what an experience should be, it's about just organising what we've got in a slightly better fashion (IMO, of course). Separating this stuff out like Weasel mentioned seems to be a good starting point.
    Last edited by Sulphur; 20th May 2017 at 06:56.

  12. #62
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    Can we just talk about games again? Instead of a whole page about semantics.

    although I do indeed like to masturbate intellectually.

  13. #63
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Sulphur View Post
    I don't think I said 'RPG' was a meaningless descriptor.
    Abysmal did.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sulphur View Post
    I fully agree that going that far is intellectual masturbation, and I've said as much in my earlier post with the MGS 5 example. What I'm after is a nice, concise way of referring to these things without having to go over what these things are in the first place. That doesn't mean that there should be a Platonic Ideal, but as far as definitions are concerned, if we've retrofitted 'genre' to encompass mechanics with fuzzy interconnections between theme, style, and motive, that kind of category classification is getting a bit too noisy. Separating this stuff out like Weasel mentioned seems to be a good starting point.
    Again, if it's classification you are after, I don't think genre is a good tool for it. Certainly, you can draw borders, but those are going to be useful for you and you alone, especially if they don't line up with how other people see the genre. Not to mention that genres change over time.

    Also, some conventions are more and some are less negotiable. Portal is not going to be a first person shooter even if you technically do run around with a gun. You can't just take a game and start to check off boxes to see whether it belongs to a genre or not, you have to look at how it works within the conventions of the genre. A funny movie with romance in it is not necessarily going to be a romantic comedy.

    Regarding first person, you can definitely argue that this is a tradition more than something intrinsic to the genre (like it is for first person shooters), but even so, there's a good reason for the tradition. Third person view reveals the artifice of the game, something that immersive sims aim to minimise. You are watching your character perform actions, you can swivel the camera to look around corners, NPCs interact with your character instead of you, etc.

    I'm not going to say that third person view is an outright disqualifier, but I think that it makes a good case to argue that it's more of a game with immersive sim elements.

  14. #64
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Quote Originally Posted by Sulphur View Post
    Also, the 451 code: nah. Didn't henke just post about Mafia 3 having it?
    Indeed, it's showing up all over the place. Neon Struct, Spirits of Xanadu, Gone Home, Firewatch, Mafia 3. Doesn't say anything about whether the particular game is an immersive sim or not, it's just a message from the developer to gamers "hey, check this out. See how cool we are for having this here? And see how cool you are for noticing it? Yup, we're all PRETTY COOL. "

  15. #65
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    so when is the actual game "451" coming out.
    holy shit i just blew my own mind

  16. #66
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    wait i am not that flexible

  17. #67
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    ffs RPG is purely referencing d+d and other assorted pnp rulesets. So you have stats, levels and xp. There is nothing else. Morrowind was the last true rpg.

  18. #68
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    I think it's best to just list what major elements a game has.

  19. #69
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: Pennsylvania
    Quote Originally Posted by PigLick View Post
    wait i am not that flexible
    The key is going in through your nostril.

  20. #70
    Member
    Registered: May 2010
    Quote Originally Posted by Starker View Post
    Immersive here doesn't mean "engaging", which nearly all games aim to be. It means the game aims to evoke a specific feeling of being there in the game world, which means the game has verisimilitude, good worldbuilding, realistic level design and so on. This is also why first person view is so crucial to the concept. An immersive sim wants you to forget that you're playing a character and convince you that you are the character.
    Um... do you know any game which doesn't strive to make you feel like that?...

    I must admit that i agree with the people arguing that it's a non-telling terminology.

  21. #71
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Huh? There are lots of games that don't aim for consistent worldbuilding or verisimilitude or realistic levels. Not that there's anything wrong with it. Not all games need it.

    Or are you telling me Diablo wants to make you feel as if you're there in the world.

  22. #72
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: Pennsylvania
    Quote Originally Posted by chk772 View Post
    Um... do you know any game which doesn't strive to make you feel like that?...

    I must admit that i agree with the people arguing that it's a non-telling terminology.
    I think a good example is locked doors and keys. In some games, you might pick up a key automatically by getting your body somewhere in the vicinity of it, and then any doors associated with that key automatically unlock immediately. This is intended to streamline the action and let the player focus all the time on very specific mechanics (such as killing monsters). Often, the whole point of a key is to be an excuse to make the player go in one direction and then backtrack. In an immersive sim, you're more likely to have to look directly at the key and press a button to pick it up. You might then have to find the correct key in your inventory and press a button to interact with the doorknob of an individual locked door to unlock it. Obviously, immersive sims have their own thresholds of complication, and still streamline plenty of small details, but there is more of a focus on certain small details that are meant to enhance the realism of the situation.

  23. #73
    Member
    Registered: May 2010
    I'm all for that. It's just that i don't think that any game developer, or designer, does NOT have immersion in mind, when he designs, or develops a game. And, of course, also Diablo strives to make you feel like you're in its game world. Or what else is it supposed to be? Something like a model railroad? Well... i figure even that has some immersive factor.

    Frankly, what you describe as an "immersive sim" could contain such trivial things like looking down on you, and seeing your game alter ego's body, or, holding your hand before your eyes, when you picked up a game item. I fail to see how that be some deep, immersive element. Even 2d sprite games from the 90ies wanted to give you an immersive feeling, in their way possible. It's for me like saying "a game is a game". Well, yes, it is.

  24. #74
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: Pennsylvania
    Quote Originally Posted by chk772 View Post
    I'm all for that. It's just that i don't think that any game developer, or designer, does NOT have immersion in mind, when he designs, or develops a game. And, of course, also Diablo strives to make you feel like you're in its game world. Or what else is it supposed to be? Something like a model railroad? Well... i figure even that has some immersive factor.

    Frankly, what you describe as an "immersive sim" could contain such trivial things like looking down on you, and seeing your game alter ego's body, or, holding your hand before your eyes, when you picked up a game item. I fail to see how that be some deep, immersive element. Even 2d sprite games from the 90ies wanted to give you an immersive feeling, in their way possible. It's for me like saying "a game is a game". Well, yes, it is.
    To give a non-video game example, you could say that paintball and chess are both simulating battles. Does that mean there's no point in differentiating between the two? They're essentially the same?

    I think you're getting hung up on the term "immersive sim" because of the fact that it could be stretched to apply to any game, but the term was coined in an attempt to define a narrow subset of games. Maybe a better term could have been used, but I don't know what it would be. Can you think of a different term that would satisfy you as a differentiation of the things we're talking about?

    Edit: And while I am finding this discussion interesting, I think the original point of this thread was to discuss what games fall within the genre of "immersive sim" based on the loose definition on which it was coined and possibly debate the boundaries of the definition, but you seem to be debating the merit of having a definition at all.
    Last edited by Weasel; 20th May 2017 at 18:21.

  25. #75
    Member
    Registered: May 2010
    No, but i do get your point. Still, "immersive sim" seems a bit like making more out of it than there really is. Anyway.

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