Hello, bloggers and gamers of Game Informer!  This week's "Mind-Blown" post is on gaming itself.  This one's special because it's the last of my "Mind-Blown" series.  I'll try not to cry...yeah, I'm not that sentimental.  Anyway, let's get started.

            When I first decided that gaming would be the topic for my last post, the particularly mind-blowing quality wouldn't come.  I drew a blank.  Then something came to mind.  All of my posts and reasons can be summed up in a few words: Gaming is immersive.  There's my topic.

            It seems strange that in most games today, you find yourself living the lives of imaginary characters.  We, as gamers, find pleasure in playing as the brain child of a developer.  A good example is the Sims series.  I played Sims 2 for a long time and loved it.  That was until I realized that I was living out the everyday life of someone I created.  I was using up my time in the real world to wait for a group of pixels to get done in the shower.  It was strange, but something can be learned from it.

            Movies and books are popular because of their ability to recreate human nature...or any nature, for that matter.  They give us imaginary plots with imaginary characters in imaginary situations, yet they are able to convey our real human nature realistically.  Happiness, Sadness, fear, anxiety, love; they can all be conveyed through this medium.  And we love it.

            Video games, for a long time, were there just as a source of enjoyment.  It was for children because it was like a digital toy for them to play with.  It served no other real purpose.  With the advancement of technology, however, gaming took a new purpose.  Video games could now have a deeper meaning, much like movies and books.  They could look at deeper meanings than before.  This, in part, brought adults into gaming by giving them more mature games on a story-based level.

            Think of recent examples of this.  The Last of Us immediately comes to mind for me, a game I adore only because of its storyline.  Bioshock, with the love that little sisters share with big brothers (among other examples), comes to mind.  Dark Souls ponders on fear, helplessness, and depravity.  It even shows love through its lore.  Journey expresses the deeper meaning of life, how it continues without us.

            Let's think of this on another level.  Grand Theft Auto V has satirical...well, everything, expressing the values of modern society.  Games today can express the same satire present in every other entertainment industry.

            Of course, this doesn't make a video game good, far from it.  My point here is that these video games are memorable for having those deeper meanings.  My original point was the fact that gaming is immersive.

            Ponder this with me: what makes gaming different from all other entertainment.  We live out the lives; see the stories of imaginary characters in all of them.  In games that convey human nature like the ones I mentioned, there has to be something that makes them different from the others.  It's because they're immersive.

            We usually say that a game is immersive when it's an open-world game with rich detail or a linear game with an enthralling storyline.  But, truly, all games are immersive.  The gameplay takes us from our world into it, and other qualities like an enthralling storyline or an open world keep us in.  When we play as these fictional characters, we feel their emotions (of course, if the storyline is good enough) as if they were ours.  The ending of Metal Gear Solid 3 nearly drove me to tears because I knew from a more personal standpoint where Snake (or Big Boss) was.  The game showed his deep love for The Boss many times.

            A game being immersive applies even to the surface of a video game, not necessarily the deeper meaning.  In general, video games have the ability to suck us in.  A tense gameplay moment, a game-breaking glitch, a light-hearted joke; video games are able to give us emotions through all of their qualities.

            The "immersive-ness" of video games lets us live out the lives of other characters as if they were our lives.  They allow us to delve deeper into the game and experience rather than play it.  That's the mind-blowing quality of gaming.

            Well, that's it for this week.  I hope you all enjoyed this post and the entire series.  Comment on whatever you want.  And as always, thanks for reading!