One thing I realize isn't talked about much is the incredible experience of being in the many different worlds video games offer. And i'm not talking about having to slip on a VR helmet either. I'm talking about good ol' fashioned 2D games, and the landscapes they bring to life.
Whether it's a first person game set in a post apocalyptic time, or a third person spelunking game that takes place in a jungle, your surroundings are often more than meets the eye. That is to say our eyes have grown accustomed to these lavish environments. We tend to button mash dialogue screens, run through lush forests, and fast travel to the next mission goal.
"What about that beautiful waterfall? Yeah, seen it before .. I need to kill this dude."
But if you stop and look around (similar to life outside of games) and really let the feeling of 'being there' settle in you might feel a bit different. I was recently walking through ancient Egypt and allowed myself to really feel the surroundings for a bit.
The long lost language.
Playing the game in this way you the player almost break free of the consequences and in-game goals. You just exist within the space that the developers have created. It's quite wonderful. I know it sounds simple, but I can bet most of the time you've been playing a game like Uncharted or Assassin's Creed you're more focused on the icon-filled map then the environment.
Your brain cares less about the fact that you're in India, and more about what enemies still need killing.
Next time you're playing a game that has a pretty big open world try this.
Look around with the camera, and imagine you are actually there. I use the technique of thinking of it as a dream. Similar to a lucid dream (if you don't know about them .. look it up!) walk through the game and let yourself feel each location. If you do it right it can be similar to those 3D image puzzles. You seem to leave the TV framed image, and inhabit the space itself.
The first time I did it I realized that the world of games was bigger than I thought. It truly is an escape (or an embrace?). Teleportation is real. Take a trip to Africa, post apocalyptic America, India, or ancient Egypt.
Just remember to enjoy it.
In closing i'll also say it often takes a lot of people many years to create these worlds. So the least we can do .. is stop and look around for awhile.
Also, Assasin's Creed is super addictive, totally immersive, and occasionally flawed. I'll post my thoughts on it once I 'finish' the game.