Michael Breidenbruecker of RJDJ, the studio behind the sound-based augmented reality game Dimensions explains how augmented reality uses real life to create a different immersive gaming experience that he calls “personal gaming.”
This should totally be a companion to your real life," he adds. "Most games are designed so that they need your full attention -- you either interact or you don't, but when you interact, you're in that world. What we tried to do is make it work in parallel to whatever you do, to your life, really. You just put it in your pocket, and everything around you is enhanced.
Games that don’t require the player’s “full attention” aren’t new; interruptibility is the bread and butter of the casual game market. However, the idea that this might actually make the experience more immersive is interesting.
Historically, two schools of gaming (and really, digital narrative as a whole) have emerged: one which embraces immersion (console gaming, board games, CAVE installations, the novel), and one which embraces interruptibility and integration (Words With Friends, Angry Birds, serial fiction, blogs). In the past, the two have seemed to be at odds. Even ARGs, which require real-world interaction, are played through the lens of the game environment, and the very idea of “alternate reality” suggests escapism. They require one’s “full attention” to achieve their immersive effect.
What, then, does it mean to be immersive if the aim is not to be carried into a trance? Is the future of gaming—without venturing into gamification—that I might be immersed in a game while buying milk and stopping by the post office?