…because we live them? Lately I’ve been reading quite a bit about horror in cinema and other media to sort out some thoughts that have been bothering me lately. I think most of us are aware of the immersion we gain by playing games. If we like the games we can sit for hours and play, fully steeped in the experience, and happy to be.
Sometimes we even experience a bit of bleed, or at least I do. It’s the feeling or experience that parts of myself and the game mix. I feel like I’ve experienced it (which I have). But instead of distancing myself from the character I play in game, I embrace it and speak of it as “I” and “me”.
Dave Arneson and Gary Gyxax had – according to the stories told around the first sessions of D&D – similar experiences when they played the proto-version of Dungeons and Dragons. The characters were replicas of themselves, and that caused unease in their players when their avatar on the table died or was hurt in the game.
They found a solution by placing a layer of distance between the player and the game, a protagonist that could “soak up” the horror of injury or death, if you will.
The magic of bleed however, remains, even if it’s felt less when there’s a strong distinction between the self and the player character.
Right now I’m in the process of trying to figure a lot of this out, so I may be wrong and my thoughts , such as they are, might already have been considered by others, but this is what I’m thinking and it ties back to the starting paragraph.
What if the invitation of the abject and the Other affects us deeper in games than other media? Is this why we stick with jump scares and known quantities when it comes to monsters?
I’m still not sure where I’ll end up with this thought, but it’s been with me for quite a while now. The only thing I truly know is that in order for me to dig deeper, I need more time. More time to play and more time to read. I am in desperate want of both, so writing will probably fall to the wayside a bit, at least for a while, while I dig through my books and try out new theories. Or it’ll be like this – a text I just could not not write.