Geplaatst: 21 januari
Immersion is something that gets thrown around a lot in videogames, but which i feel is intrinsically misunderstood. In attempting to chase this fabled quality, videogames have usually attempted two things in tandem. To obtain better graphics, and to be realistic.
Antichamber is without a doubt one of the most immersive games i have ever played. Yet it defies these two so-called requirements. It is visually striking without advanced graphical technology, and it is enthrallingly, lovingly absorbing while fully embracing its nature as a virtual environment where the laws of physics need not be obeyed.
Partly it owes this immersive nature to its simple design. Its stark colours and environments that follow their own aesthetics. Partly it owes this to its tremendous audio work. But mostly it owes this i feel to the underlying theme of unreality that it embraces.
By embracing, not shunning, the fact that it is not real, Antichamber becomes more immersive than any other game i can think of. It simply immerses you into a world of unreality which is not your own - and the fact that more videogames dont do this is to their fault.
I feel Antichamber is a little glimpse into the future. Of what artificial and virtual environments will really be like. To play is to be drawn into a world where space is nothing but an illusion, and you must get used to this to function within it. To walk down a hallway only to discover when you turn around that behind you is now a door to a new area, to discover entire rooms hidden inside a two dimensional image, to have window panes you can look through only to discover that in doing so you were transported into the area you were peering into.
As you delve into its world, the beautiful sounds, calming words and general serenity of its environment ease you into this new way of thinking, this new domain of non-euclidean geometry. And it is to the games credit to say that to leave Antichamber - because real life comes calling, or because a puzzle has temporarily defeated you - feels distinctly wrong. Like spending so much time on a trampoline that walking on solid earth makes you question your steps. Because Antichamber opens your mind to what can be done when you realise that a piece of space can be reused as many times as you wish. To snap back to reality is to realize how limiting physics truly is. You walk your home imagining how much better it would be if this was there, and that was here. How much easier it would be if space would only agree to bend in such a way that better things were possible.
Most puzzles in the game are incredibly, viciously easy. You simply will not find them easy, you will find them brain-wracking, because that clever mind of yours was designed for a space which follows rules that are as easily ignored as anything could be.
Overall, i would greatly recommend Antichamber. If any game deserves the 'games are art' badge, it is one that both shows how incredibly novel videogames can be, and gives us a glimpse into the virtual worlds our descendants will be exploring.