As I hope my blog has so far demonstrated, fantasy RPGs are extremely immersive. The graphics and cinematics are amazing to view, and with an emotive soundtrack to complement the visuals, it’s not difficult to be pulled into a fantasy world.
This got me to thinking about a recent news article, where viewers of the recent movie release, Avatar, professed to feeling depressed and even suicidal after leaving the beautiful world of Pandora, knowing that they would have to go back to their ordinary lives. I can understand this phenomenon. I saw the movie, and it was incredibly beautiful in its scenery; the way in which the natives lived in harmony with their world and its fellow inhabitants was strongly spiritual and moving.
I believe one can experience similar emotions of awe and loss through gameplay, particularly when the world is an exceptionally rich and fantastical one. Today I watched the international trailer for Final Fantasy XIII, and I was struck by the likelihood of a similar sense of belief in the world portrayed. The more stunning the visuals are, the easier it seems to be to relate to the world – even if it is a fictional world: the better the imagery, the more believable. And if the game is full of diverse characters – as Final Fantasy games often are – how better to feel a resonance with the gameworld? Often Final Fantasy characters are the underdogs, fighting for justice in an unjust world. I’m sure many of us can relate to that feeling, in today’s world of (arguably) powerlessness under the control of political agents. Often the Final Fantasy stories will relate to some kind of environmental issue (e.g. government organisations exploiting the world’s energy – in the form of mana or magic). This also parallels with the Avatar world, which I feel is perhaps another reason for the strong reactions experienced by viewers of the 3D experience. From a personal perspective, whilst the world scenery of Avatar was very moving, I think the simple, spiritual lives of the Na’vi is what resonated best with me – and moving back into the real world, that sense of spirituality may be lost when we return from the movie theatre.
image source: http://ps3media.ign.com/ps3/image/article/734/734220/final-fantasy-xiii-20061007021936940_640w.jpg
Have you experienced feelings of loss or other strong emotions when you are immersed in a fantasy game world (or after you finish the game)? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on how you deal with this ‘disengagement’ from the fantasy world back to everyday life.
Chong, C. (undated). The Narrative Role of Music in Role-playing Games: Final Fantasy VII. Retrieved December 13, 2009, from http://www.majorc.co.uk/NarrativeMusicGamesPDF.pdf
IGN. (2009). Final Fantasy XIII PlayStation 3 Trailer – International Trailer. Retrieved January 14, 2010, from http://ps3.ign.com/dor/objects/826843/final-fantasy-xiii/videos/ff13_trl_international_011310.html
The Daily Telegraph. (2010). Avatar perfection causing depression. Retrieved January 14, 2010, from http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/feature/avatar-perfection-causing-depression/story-e6frfnv0-1225819063598
Michael Nycyk for his feedback about disengaging from fantasy to reality.