Game Perspective and Immersion

by: Sam F

Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) creates a cave version of Tolkien’s “Middle Earth” alluded to by Mackenzie Wark in Gamer Theory 2.0 and displayed in Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Critics to this belief could perhaps argue that both movie and game are idealist worlds of fantasy, as Middle Earth creates a realm beyond the human and racial limitations of our earthly scope. While Middle Earth does possess elements beyond our world, LOTRO the game creates an unrestricted domain with which to absorb aspects of its world. Peter Jackson’s representation of this world similarly portrays Middle Earth, but through a director’s eyes. The mise en scène is limited to the rectangle on which the film is being viewed. The dialogue is taken from a series of shots such as a master shot, which is the entire scene from one wide shot incorporating both actors. Another possibility is a series of “mid-shots,” which split the dialogue into individual pieces with specific characters, which includes dialogue shots over the listener’s shoulder while focusing on the speaker http://www.filmmakersnetwork.ie/forums/showthread.php?t=722. In a game like LOTRO, the viewpoints are infinite. This medium offers a panorama of angles with which to observe the characters.  Differing points of view offer a more vast visual experience for the movie, while the player guides his character on a personal adventure to his or her desired destination within the world.  

            The movie also differs from the game, as it is a broader plot experience. The game focuses on the player’s particular character whereas the movie focuses on various protagonists. The implication of “fellowship” in the title of Jackson’s film reveals on screen a story observing a group of protagonists. An observer may become attached to a particular character’s agon and feel they are lead protagonist, but the fellowship is not about the struggles of one character. The game, on the contrary, provides an interactive experience with other characters, but the sole purpose of the game is to develop a single protagonist.  Character attachment in LOTRO creates a more immersive experience than perhaps the movie, as one is able to blaze the trails of Middle Earth during a more individualistic adventure.  

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1 thought on “Game Perspective and Immersion”

  1. Important observation about LOTRO being a more individualistic adventure. I concur. You are making the content. During the movie, I tend to identify with a single character in the Fellowship, but the story mechanics reveal themselves through the group dynamic.

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