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Paper: Fundamental Components of the Gameplay Experience: Analysing Immersion

by on October 22, 2011

The paper I read is Fundamental Components of the Gameplay Experience: Analysing Immersion  ,written by Laura Ermi and Frans Mäyrä from the University of Tampere (Finland) (2005). The paper can be found here.

In this paper the author starts by explaining why people enjoy playing games. To create a fun game there must be a equal balance between the level of challenge and the skill-level op the player. If the game is too hard it gets frustrated and if it’s too easy, it gets boring. The author  creates a 3-level model to express why people enjoy playing computer-games.

  1. interactive input-output loop
  2. cyclic feelings of suspense and relief
  3. fascination of a temporary escape into another world

In the second part of the paper the author gives his view on ‘immersion‘. When a player immerses with a game he becomes physically or virtually a part of the experience itself. The author tries to link immersion while playing video-games with immersion while reading a books or watching a movie. He does this with an enquiry for gaming Finnish children and their parents. The results learn that immersion or gameplay-experience are multidimensional concepts.

  1. sensory immersion
  2. challenge-based immersion
  3. imaginative immersion

The first one is related to the audiovisual execution of games. The second one relates to the cyclic feelings of suspense and relief. The last one is related to the chanche that the game gives the player for  using his imagination to identify with the game character/the plot.

I learned from the paper that game-balance is very important. The game can’t be too hard nor too easy. Some good visual graphics and soundtrack are a necessity if you want to maximize a player’s immersion. To stimulate his imaginative immersion you’ll need a strong storyline so the player has the feeling he’s temporary escaping into another world.


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