Everyone knows moments when story or game world suddenly lose all credibility. Our columnist explores when we can turn a blind eye to immersion—and when we can’t.
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Willing suspension of disbelief – that would be a nice name for a band or for a curse in the The Black Eye-rules. It sounds a bit like official German for something that brings mitigating circumstances in court. In fact, it’s the common term in aesthetic philosophy for what’s called “suspension of disblief”—the very deliberate choice in media consumption to engage in fiction. Something we know to be unreal in whole or in part.
Thanks to this, 430 years ago, people didn’t just wave off because Romeo thought his sleeping Juliet was dead.
It allows us to accept minor and major plot holes in stories. This is by no means a modern invention: thanks to her hundreds of people in the Globe Theater waved their hands off 430 years ago when Romeo thought his merely sleeping Juliet was dead. Thanks to her we accept the absurd chain of events, at the end of which Kevin home alone remains. And finally, it also leads us to stick around in a game while we’re making Gotham City safer as a billionaire in a bat suit or in Monkey Island 2 – Le Chuck’s Revenge order a voodoo doll from a priestess.
We are gripped by the immersion, we delve into the unreal world and let it get away with a lot, as long as it seems coherent. But there are also plenty of moments when smaller or larger dropouts ensure that in the middle of the immersion ride, suddenly …
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Published on 04/18/2022: While our columnist is excited about Return to Monkey Island and the Max Payne remake, a look back shows him that classic comebacks rarely live up to their reputation.
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