Ever played a game for what seems like 30 minutes only to realize that it has been 2 hours? Then you have been a victim of video game immersion. Time distortion as a result of being immersed in a video game is a phenomenon that is often reported by gamers while playing games on console or PC.
Time distortion is not exclusive to gaming, and it is quite common in activities that you consider to have negative or positive or negative significance. This perceived misrepresentation of time is why fun events and experiences often give the subjective feeling that time is passing by too quickly. On the other hand, unpleasant situations such as waiting for a bus while being late for an interview, you might experience time quite slowly.
How game immersion affects time distortion
An immersive video game takes the enjoyable time distortion a step further by creating scenarios where large pockets of time can go by unnoticed or under-noticed. Aside from making us happier, video games typically feature in-game environments that attract a level of concentration and immersion that we rarely find in the real world. Furthermore, in-game settings take us into the heat of the action by providing scenery, events, and sound in extreme detail.
Apart from the alteration of time, game immersion is evidenced by increased heart rate in scary/exciting situations, empathizing with in-game characters, and real world reaction to in-game stimulus, for example, shifting your head to hear a stealthy enemy sneaking up on you.
Game immersion and the associated time distortion is further accentuated and is better enjoyed in an environment that fosters full immersion. The ideal setting for complete immersion while gaming should feature as little distraction as possible, enabling you to keep your entire focus on the game. This level of immersion immensely increases the pleasure derived from playing a game.
An excellent tool for crafting a full-immersion gaming environment is a top-quality gaming headset. A gaming headset that outputs stereo surround sound with top sound quality helps provide a gaming environment that is completely free from external distraction. Also, stereo surround sound creates a simulation of being inside the gameplay. This simulation helps you experience the game as you would experience real world time, and it further keeps you engrossed in the game.
Gaming headsets, game immersion, and time distortion
Surround sound gaming headsets are an excellent way to increase the immersion of your experience. The importance of gaming headsets is further illustrated by the fact that they are considered, in the gaming community, to be the mark of a serious gamer.
Top gaming headsets help the user achieve full immersion by producing powerful and detailed audio to enhance gameplay and ensuring true-to-life representation of the in-game world. Key determinants of the degree of immersion of a game are how believable the portrayal of the game looks, feel, and sounds. A good gaming headset gets the audio part of this equation locked down.
Furthermore, surround sound helps make the in-game world more realistic by adding a feel for the spatial to the game experience. This mimicry of a real world experience increases your level of immersion in the game, making you feel like the game is happening to in real time.
Also, gaming headsets are often equipped with noise canceling ear cups. The noise cancellation support on these headsets almost entirely blocks out external distraction and background noise. Hence, the headset can help you achieve a surreal level of game immersion even in unconducive locations such as a noisy house.
On the other hand, when playing games without gaming headsets, you can quickly lose the magic of full game immersion. Even with excellent speakers, it can be challenging to match the level of engagement that a headset with stereo surround sound provokes.
Another big downside to gaming without headsets is the potential for external distraction. According to a 2012 study on game immersion, it only takes one small in-game or real world distraction to affect your level of immersion in a game and break the “flow.” An excellent gaming headset with stereo surround sound and noise cancellation effectively eliminate the risk of such distraction occurring.
Online multiplayer games and game immersion
A more advanced level of game immersion is known as “personal immersion.” With personal immersion, you are using the game to project yourself, your thoughts, appearance as you would want them to appear in a world without limits. This kind of immersion can be quite engaging as enjoy and intense out-of-body experience that almost entirely disconnects you from reality.
The online multiplayer gaming environment is a fertile ground for this form of immersion. Online gaming allows you easily connect with your character especially when it is juxtaposed with that of other players.
The level of immersion that comes with online multiplayer gaming is so intense that it is not uncommon for gamers to develop an emotional attachment to their in-game characters and avatars. This emotional attachment is further fostered by the fact that you control your character’s response to situations in the exact way that you feel like responding to the available stimuli, even though the character may differ from you in appearance and condition.
Another dimension to game immersion with online multiplayer games is the communication element. Online multiplayer games create a social environment where you can communicate with, trade with, and battle other gamers. This communication plays a significant role in keeping you engaged in the gameplay and away from distraction. This communication channel is best exploited with a top notch gaming headset.
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