What do you think of when you hear the word “immersive”?
It means different things to different people. For some, it’s a simple feeling of going to the beach, the swimming pool or even the flotation tank.
For others, it’s immersion through the imagination – through books, theatre, exhibitions or cinema.
For the more tech-savvy, immersion might involve picking up their phone, turning on a game console, and grabbing a controller or attaching a head-mounted display to step into a different reality.
All of these interpretations are correct. Immersion is sensory. It affects one or more of your senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. It allows you to physically engage, interact and navigate with and through an experience.
Here are five different ways to immerse yourself this summer beyond jumping into the ocean.
1. Augmented reality
For the uninitiated, augmented reality is a way to interact with overlaid digital content and interact with the real world, usually through your mobile device.
While augmented reality hasn’t had a huge impact after the heady days of 2016 and Pokémon GO, the team behind this global hit haven’t rested on their laurels.
During gameplay, you choose a team and your phone turns into a “scanner”, and local landmarks turn into “portals”. Two teams compete to claim ownership of these portals.
And their brand new app Peridot, currently in beta, will be familiar to Tamagotchi owners, here with a few twists. You can breed, care for, and even breed your virtual pet with other players’ pets to avoid extinction.
But unlike the Tamagotchis of yore, you can take these creatures for virtual walks, while exploring the real, physical world around you.
What is augmented reality, by the way?
2. 3D movies
See that fancy flat-screen TV sitting in the corner of the living room? Chances are if it was purchased in the early or mid 2010s it may have been part of the 3D TV push and may even have come with a bunch of 3D glasses similar to the ones that you could get to the movies.
There are some great hidden 3D gems you can watch at home.
The young and prodigious TS Spivet (2013), is a fine example of a road movie, as our ten-year-old protagonist travels across the country to accept an award from the Smithsonian for inventing a perpetual motion machine.
A little more adult is Long day trip into night (2019), which plays like a Lynchian dream for most of its runtime and features a stunning hour-long 3D sequence presented in one take as the film’s protagonist wanders around the city.
Finally, the 2018 Oscar for animated feature film, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a downright trippy and crazy experience if you can find it in 3D.
3. Escape rooms
Immersive experiences don’t need technology.
In an escape room, a small team bands together to solve a series of puzzles in order to “escape” the “room” in which those puzzles are set.
You can find many different escape rooms in almost every Australian capital city. My favorite is the encryption room in Sydney’s mid-west and their monochrome, film noir inspired Marlowe Hotel.
My advice is to dress in black and white for a completely immersive experience, as you and your friends solve a series of clues in order to break into the hotel and retrieve incriminating documents.
4. Virtual reality games
While embracing new technologies, why not get your dose of retro-gaming at the same time?
Older gamers might remember the classic 1990s CD-Rom adventure Myst, where the player explores a mysterious island, solving puzzles along the way (also serving as the inspiration for thousands of game rooms). escape around the world).
The game has now been re-invent for virtual reality as a free roaming adventure and has never looked better.
Fans of console systems from the 2000s will appreciate Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin which continues the goofy Tim Burton-esque aesthetic of the classic Psychonauts (2005), taking the story from the end of the first adventure and taking it to new dimensions and levels.
According to the original game, you play as Raz, using his psychic powers to solve a series of puzzles in order to escape the Rhombus of Ruin. Great for a bit of lazy afternoon casual play.
Fans of first-person shooters will appreciate the multi-awarded Half-Life: Alyx.
This is the game to play if you want to sweat it out, as you run around battling aliens who have taken over Earth. The Alyx storyline serves as a prequel to Half-Life 2 (2004) and features hilarious voice acting from Rhys Darby as the character of Russell. Highly recommended.
5. 4DX Movies
James Cameron Has Finally Finished His 2009 Avatar Sequel, And The Best Way To Live Avatar: The Way of the Water is going to be the fully immersive 4DX experience, a cinematic experience available in most capitals. The technology mixes on-screen images with synchronized motion seats and environmental effects such as water, wind, fog, scent, snow and more.
Cameron’s film is expected to deliver a completely immersive experience, using the synchronization of 3D visuals, motion simulation and 4DX cinema fog effects. Especially given the flying and underwater sequences, the wind and water effects should make for a completely immersive experience during the summer.