Yesterday I met my old friend* Carl Henrik von Hofsten at a café in the south part of Stockholm to talk about the paper on simulation in games that he is writing.
We were both puzzled by Salen and Zimmerman’s use of the expression “immersive fallacy” in relation to simulation in games and suspension of disbelief in fiction. Since CH is using flight simulators as main example we have been discussing the sensory experiences in relation to the constructed ontology/cosmology of the game worlds, and the level of suspension of disbelief that can be required for how the game is experienced. Z&S describes beautifully describes the players of a game to be immersed in meaning, juxtaposing it to “the sensory transport promised by the immersive fallacy”.
CH doesn’t make that kind of juxtaposition, rather he sees the outputs to the player’s sensors as signifiers that function reciprocally with fictional framework and world cosmology. What is even more interesting with his work is that he examines flight simulators that go beyond the constructed reality of a world to fly in to see how players use real-world GIS data and flight-time tables. Thus, he may give a very illustrative example of how simulation and reality bleeds together.
*Old friend = 17 years friendship