Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Face but no name

Lately I've been infatuated with what my honeymoon will be like in May. We are going to Scotland, and have only a few lingering memories of visiting in high school. I remember standing on the top of a cobblestoned hill and looking at the full moon as it slid behind a clock tower.

The moment only lasted a few seconds, and I headed into a warm, loud pub at the top of the street. Funny that I can't remember anything about the pub, but the clock tower had a lasting effect. And that's my fantasy of what Scotland is like until I get there.

I remember other things of course, like having the best ice cream of my life in a little town called Gretna, and the high density of sheep (it's possible I had dairy from sheep milk), but the parts I can't remember my imagination gladly fills in for me. Have you ever imagined what a place sounded like? When there aren't bagpipes, Scotland would sound like a muted Cranberries or Fiona Apple song.

Photo credit: Nogoodboyo on
The whole idea of creating somewhere (or a reality) in your mind definitely spills into video games. The recent ones that have come out can definitely be immersive. Mass Effect's club Afterlife actually has a "club feel" even though it's set on an alien planet in the distant future.* How do they do that?

Forza 3 developers attended to every detail, even down to the reflection of the trees on the hood of the roof. Probably something most of us would consciously miss, but it's one thing that makes the game more simulation and less "gamey."

Maple Valley
I think the less your imagination has to work, the more engrossing an experience can be.  My mind finds daydreaming to be somewhat easy, so fantasy can be as engaging as reality (sometimes more so). I'll give you a full update on the imagined Scotland versus the real thing.

*If Afterlife or the club in Vin Diesel's TripleX really existed, I'd be there in a heartbeat.
**I also just found out that the song used for Afterlife was also used in Need For Speed in 1999. Ha!