A Look Inside: Immersive Games, Virtual & Augmented Reality / Paul Fischnaller & Matthias Vinatzer


Immersion, as we use the term here, is intended to mean the engagement or involvement a person feels as a result of playing a digital game. A more colloquial expression would be to say that a person feels as if they are “in the game”.

What is Reality? Many scientists, writers, and philosophers have argued that all perceptions are actually just idiosyncratic hallucinations. What people see, hear, touch, smell, and taste are really impoverished versions of external stimuli. There are more colors in the light spectrum than can be seen and more odors than can be smelled by humans. Furthermore, the qualities of sensory stimuli that people perceive are not necessarily the same for everybody. According to Jeremy Bailenson in his book “Infinite Reality”, reality is a product of our minds – an ever-changing program consisting of a constant stream of perceptions. Virtual Reality is just an exercise in manipulating these perceptions.

The human mind is designed to wander; so much so that it’s actually more difficult to think of nothing, than to fill itself with thoughts and fantasies. People often experience and believe the illusory to be real. (Bailenson, 2012) People experience 4 to 6 dreams per night. Dreams are essential to mental health. Like mind-wanderings during the day, dreams vary from pleasurable to nightmarish. The results of dream-deprivation studies suggest that dreams play a major role in sleep efficiency. Without dreams, people do not feel rested.

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