Reflection and Ludocriticism

For all the entertainment that virtual being in a videogame can provide, it can also be a particularly alluring and even potentially dangerous form of fictive immersion. Now that we’ve already touched on the formal operation of videogame immersion elsewhere (which I’d recommend having read first) it seems like a logical next step to discuss the phenomenon’s ethical implications. With reference to Marcel O’Gorman’s book, Necromedia, this post will explore the videogame industry’s culpability in a technoculture that idealizes gaming as an infinite cycle of immersive consumption. In response to this problem, I will consider how reflection on one’s gameplay experiences can disturb this cycle and thus work gameplay productively back to its origin in the finite self – that is, the player as human.

On Immersion: The Ludo/Narrative Dichotomy

Immersion has long been conceived as the principal aesthetic of the videogame medium. Although a rather vague term philosophically, gamers usually figure immersion as a powerful mental investment, a psychic transition, into a game’s virtual world. To be immersed in a work of fiction is to be deeply involved, whether spatially, epistemically, and/or emotionally. Yet, … Read more