#1 Edited by Zolkowski (57 posts) -

This is a point that has been bothering me for a while and hasn't really plagued me until the last few years. It's result is me enjoying the games I play less and less, to the point where I only play them (if at all) 2-3 hours in a day before losing interest. When talking about immersion I mean being wrapped up into a story, being convinced by the mechanics, and glitches/bugs being at a minimum.

It might be the fact I'm very "left-brain" orientated and having a high respect for logic, reasoning, and observation that knowing what is happening behind the pretty colours is what is killing the game for me. When playing an open-world game like, say, Skyrim, it's always in the back of my mind the simplistic AI, the triggers, the fact that there is no AI milling about in the cities because it's not loaded, that behind this wall is nothingness that my character would fall into abyss, AI/Creatures don't spawn until you are in proximity. It is also almost impossible for me to be very immersed in corridor games anymore. I know there is no world outside of where my character is able to go, things like no-clipping in half-life 1 made me realize this at a young age and has spoiled these games entirely for me.

The only thing that keeps me playing a single-player games these days is an interesting story, but even then that is impaired by me being too observational of every other aspect of the game. I'll "grind" through the game just to get the story, though I am left unfulfilled by the experience and would rather have read a book. The best games lately that left any sense of immersion in me would be ArmA2 (where there can be a whole island populated at the expense of CPU power) and flight sims like IL-2 & A-10. And even these games still leave me lusting for more with lacking mechanics. Minecraft would be a great example of a game where I can go just about anywhere I damn well please, but even then there are flaws with this game. Mobs spawning out of nowhere with no previous existence and knowing that outside of where I have explored doesn't actually exist yet.

It's bothering that I don't get much enjoyment from gaming anymore, but maybe in the not-too-distant future I can be proven wrong.

#2 Posted by Centimani (550 posts) -

This usually isn't a problem with me, but I'm having issues with Skyrim that relate. There's no room for me to be impressed with how much more fluid thing are than Oblivion since most of it's the norm now.

#3 Posted by ajamafalous (12040 posts) -

Yep.

#4 Edited by Zolkowski (57 posts) -

@Centimani said:

This usually isn't a problem with me, but I'm having issues with Skyrim that relate. There's no room for me to be impressed with how much more fluid thing are than Oblivion since most of it's the norm now.

Is it where you are just able to ignore what you know about how the game is working? I wish I could just turn off the part of my brain that keeps doing that while I play games so I could enjoy them how I used to. Don't get me wrong, the work put into these games never goes without appreciation, it's just that it seems impossible to enjoy them on the same level as I had 5-6+ years ago. And it's easy to argue games that long ago and more were even less immersive with dated graphics (which would be supported as to why gaming popularity is rising as graphical quality goes up).

#5 Posted by jonano (366 posts) -

Well it doesn't bother me at all .I like you am very logical but still enjoy games even though i know whats going on in the back round with the design ,mechanics, pathfinding etc . To me its like well these are the way games are made at the mo and i accept that and i find bugs sometimes to be really fun a kinda oh games feeling comes over me and a smile.

Online
#6 Posted by Mordi (553 posts) -

Yes, this was a thing that became clear a while after I started to learn how games are made. I can't play a game without thinking "I wonder how they programmed this", or "the artist who made this did a great job".

#7 Posted by Zolkowski (57 posts) -

@Mordi said:

Yes, this was a thing that became clear a while after I started to learn how games are made. I can't play a game without thinking "I wonder how they programmed this", or "the artist who made this did a great job".

Exactly. I'll analyze the game more than enjoy it. Like I'm playing an art gallery more than an experience.

#8 Posted by ProfessorEss (7451 posts) -

If the game entertaining enough I can usually ignore the mechanics at play.

#9 Posted by Slaker117 (4843 posts) -

I don't think I ever played games and didn't think about how they worked underneath everything. Even as a kid without a proper understanding of basic programing concepts, I would try to divine systems regulating the world I was playing in. It hasn't stopped me from enjoying games in general, but I suspect it's the reason I can't get into games like LA Noire or Uncharted the ways others are. It's not about knowing the world doesn't exist on the other side of a wall, but seeing how simple the mechanics that drive gameplay are and how little meaningful interplay there is. It makes the games boring to me. Even with that though, I can still get sucked in if other things are done well. A game with rote shooting mechanics can still be a lot of fun if levels and encounters are designed smartly. I don't know, on some level I understand what you mean, but I seem to be more able to let that go and not care, even if I can't turn it off.

#10 Posted by John1912 (1908 posts) -

I dont know, you seem to be to focused on whats not going on over what is. Its interesting to compare video games to real world physics. Couldnt find the shorter version i was looking for so may want to skip to about 6:55. Maybe it will give you a different perspective on all those things that "arent there"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ucqYJzK1rk&feature=related

#11 Posted by Grumbel (910 posts) -

That competently depends on why the mechanics are there. If you have an RPG and the AI does some stupid things, because that's simply the best state-of-the-art game AI can do these days, I don't have a problem with that. On the other side if you have an MMORPGs which throws tons of useless gimmicks and leveling up at you, which serve no other purpose then to make you busy work for weeks to get anything done, then I quickly lose interest. Similarly if an FPS does things with triggers and scripts that it could have done with AI, yeah, that bothers me as well. 
 
In essence, if the mechanics are used to create an interactive world and they fail to fully achieve that goal in one way or another, I am fine with them. On the other side if they are build to guide and control my experience, thus removing interactivity, then it bothers me. Exceptions might of course be made if the underlying story is actually interesting and thus worth the loss of interactivity, but those exceptions are rare.

#12 Posted by LOZZAT (252 posts) -

I get this quite a lot now too; I end up searching video game websites like (and including) this for all the latest announcements, just to find games which I won't have that sort of problem with. At the moment I find ARMA 2 and Civilization V to be the games which keep me engaged the most. Although, it's polarising because while I will enjoy a simulator like ARMA 2, or Civ. V on a high difficulty setting, many would far prefer to have the instant gratification in a game, where challenge and scope are only just enough to engage them but not enough to hinder progress and be a source of frustration.

#13 Posted by jasondaplock (263 posts) -

If you can't switch off the analysis, just obsess about the mechanics instead. Flip to the other side. The illusion a video game puts in front of you is only discouraging if it's addressed as an illusion. For all the parlor tricks and apparent shallowness involved in converting action to graphics, video games are not at all simple; you might do well to actively rather than passively grasp at the way elements are put together. I was in your shoes a couple years ago and this is mostly how I got over it.

That said, you might just not be as in to games at the moment as you once were. Two or three hours is a movie-worth of gaming; that's plenty on a regular basis to enjoy what the medium has to offer. Don't push against your apathy too hard or you might break altogether (I have a friend who has done that too).

#14 Posted by DragoonKain1687 (702 posts) -

Not for me, at least, knowing what makes a clock tick does not ruin things for me. Its like thinking that because movies are acted it can't be good, or that because Middle Earth is actually a mans imagination, then it is boring. There is a border, and that border exist only as an extension of my mind. The author, be it a developer, or a writer, or director, will then use the tools he has at hand to craft a realistic or cautivating experience for us to dwell into.

Ive known since the early days in 1994 that there is no world outside of the borders of the game. I actually realised that Santa Claus was fake at the age of 4 by a simple act of deduction. Either my Grandfather or my aunt would dissapear at the exact same time that "He" would appear, thus it was quite obvious.

In the same fashion, as a kid I knew that movies and books were products of somebodies imagination. That games had real boundaries, and that no world existed outside them. Does that ruin the experience for me? Nope. As I grew more and more, I started to actually appreciate this stuff even more. To the point that when a mission fails, I look into what Ive done to figure out the triggers, the range that they have, and try to work with them. I still prefer experiences that pull me away from this straight minded thing. Recently, with Skyward Sword, a simple new use for a motion device set my mind on a virtual orgasm. And it was just a simple stupid thing as opening a locked door by making an eye dizzy by spinning my sword. It was so well integrated, and so natural, that I stopped thinking of in game boundaries, and realized that things could go a little further. In fact, Skyward Sword changed my mind on Motion Controllers.

I believe its all up to the developers ability to captivate us gamers. And its very dependant on how the build the experience. Despite the glitches, the world of Red Dead Redemption feels a lot more real than the one on Skyrim. I think that we all know that the game ends at a certain wall. I mean, most of us are not 5 anymore. So I can't seem to understand how would someone feel that this can ruin immersion.

What can ruin immersion for me is bad production. Poorly scripted scenes, like the ones seen on the Battlefield 3 campaign for example take you away from the virtual world faster than an speeding F1 car. While I hate the new CoDs since MW 2 crappines, they still hold the most immersive campaigns, and again, its all due to the production behind it.

#15 Posted by bwmcmaste (851 posts) -

@Zolkowski: I don't think that you're being too analytical, it just sounds like you need to work on your suspension of disbelief. Games build a visual representation of a designed universe, so its natural for your immersion to be frustrated by understanding the implements of their construction. The worst thing you can do is try to engage with the game, as it is unnatural and simply makes you aware of how artificial the thing is. My advice is to look for at least one redeeming quality in the work and to try following that as you play; if this doesn't work, then I might suggest that you do not like videogames.

I should also state that the above method worked for me when I had to provide a hermeneutic treatment of the generally execrable Pride and Prejudice. If I can tell you about the importance of aristocratic normative values in Austen's Victorian Britain, you should be able to make it through virtually any premiere title out there.

#16 Edited by fisk0 (4291 posts) -

I don't know, I understand your issue somewhat, but understanding how the game works isn't a problem for me, I can appreciate what they've done (except in cases where the scripting is way too obvious and/or breaks, like in FPSes where the trigger for the next event is really noticeable - for example in Call of Duty, Black or Medal of Honor 2010 where you have to walk to a specific point to trigger your AI buddies to break open that closed door in front of you, or worse - where there are no enemies at all in an area until you activate the trigger). Otherwise, it's really not all that different from movies or TV - I know that the actors are standing in front of a green screen, or a painted background, that just outside the shot there's a guy with a boom mike, that almost every sound in the scene is added in post and that they utilize the fixed perspective to fool me into thinking that these people actually hit each other when they fight.

Actually, I'm more amazed by games than movies and TV shows, because even if you understand that there is nothingness behind that wall, that the plant you see in the distance outside of the walkable path is probably just a low poly flat surface with a semi-transparent plant texture splaced over it, every single thing in the game has been created from the ground up by a team of artists, they don't have the benefit of being able to shoot on location, dig up and reuse some old props from the studio's warehouse, or just hire some actors. While some stuff can be reused, a lot of objects, locations and the characters themselves have to be designed and built by graphics artists for every project.

#17 Posted by Grumbel (910 posts) -
@fisk0 said:

for example in Call of Duty, Black or Medal of Honor 2010 where you have to walk to a specific point to trigger your AI buddies to break open that closed door in front of you, or worse - where there are no enemies at all in an area until you activate the trigger).

My "favorite" kind of trigger are the ones where something negative to you happens. Killzone 2 for example had those nice triggers of "walk here to have an enemy shoot a grenade at one of your buddies and kill him". You can't walk around the trigger, you can't catch the grenade, you can't shoot the enemy, you can do nothing to prevent the trigger, thus the only thing you do to prevent the event is to not play the game or just stand there looking at them hanging in there shooting loop forever. 
 
It's not the fact that it's a script trigger that pulls me out of the experience, but the bad design of having a trigger that completely conflicts with what I should be doing in the game. I should be there to save and help, then blow by buddies up into pieces.
#18 Posted by MikeGosot (3227 posts) -

I love it, it's not really different from movies, where you KNOW some stuff is CGI, but you still like the movie. Just enjoy the ride, man. Also, i don't care much for immersion. I'm a arcadey type of guy. If instead of "Choose you Race", Skyrim had a girl screaming "SELECT YOUR CHARACTER!!!!!", i would love that game way more. So yeah, i'm not the best person to talk abou this.

#19 Posted by mosespippy (4286 posts) -

It can. Most of the time when you figure out how to min/max a system then it becomes a math problem and you only do the optimal solution. But in something like San Andreas where stats weren't given numbers you couldn't figure out which food was best to eat or what stat was required to level up your bike skill? Was it distance travelled, number of bunny hops, stunts performed or some combination of the three? You didn't know specifically which but you did know that doing stuff would improve your stats and it's all stuff you would be doing in the game world anyway.

#20 Posted by Nathed (9 posts) -

I don't think that a knowledge of mechanics necessarily decays immersion, but it certainly makes you more critical of a game - and that is totally fine. There is nothing wrong with demanding more of developers. Wanting these 'triggers' to be better disguised and surprise you more often is great - I'm sure that the devs themselves want those triggers to be seamless, too, just as an animator wants to leap the uncanny valley. It'll be interesting to revisit this topic in a few years when we're well into the next generation. General consensus (correct me if I'm wrong) seems to point to the next generation being far more focused on the improvement of AI and the like, rather than the graphical improvements that the current generation pushed.

You're a (comparative) expert in the medium, so the niggling feeling of there being nothing beyond this level will never leave completely, but I think a lot of that stems from a generation of consoles and developers that have confused 'immersion' with 'realistic graphics'.

#21 Edited by Zolkowski (57 posts) -

Wow, I don't think I could have hoped for a better response from you guys. Wishing there was more time to reply to all of you. I think that maybe the problem is that as opposed to video games trying to be a graphical representation, they are actually trying to be the actual world itself. I really do find it easier to play games, aside from my previous example of sims (I feel these as graphical 'illusions'/representations due to the fact they are taking snippets of the real world), that don't try to be like it's the fictional world itself. Games like Alpha Centauri or Frozen Synapse are a little easier to get into. That feeling is still in the back of my head though, wondering what specific triggers makes the AI do certain things and the like.

This is where I think it's the limitations of gaming of past and present that is starting to wear dry to me. Coming out with world-life simulators, where a city will still be active adaptive-ly even when you are not there. And speaking of adaptive, making AI adaptive in it's own way to make it feel like life on it's own. These will become more and more possible as hardware power increases.

As far as movies/books are concerned it's the fact that I am not taking an active role in these that it's still possible for me to let me imagination run a little better. These people in movies and books do not run into limitations ever because they aren't suppose do. You'll never see someone in a movie go, "Shit, this is the end of the map." Or in a book it mentions how Drizzt Do'Urden encounters an entanglement of collapsed trees and, upon walking over them, is flung below the map into nothingness.

@bwcmaste

That could very well be possible that maybe I'm just not liking games anymore, but as I've just said in this post I think it's the limitations of gaming today that are running stale for me.

#22 Posted by supermike6 (3586 posts) -

I don't play games for immersion and I never have, so this doesn't bother me at all.

#23 Posted by Little_Socrates (5683 posts) -

It only breaks immersion for me when the game mechanics allow for something the developer probably didn't want. For example, I spent the first two hours of Dead Island doing nothing but kicking zombies to death because it was faster and more powerful than any knives or clubs I could find, and almost doubly so. Then I stopped playing Dead Island.

With Skyrim specifically, though, I don't so much have that problem. Maybe it's because of the amount of Fallout 3 I played, but that game definitely has an ability to sucker me right in, despite it having really easy stealth mechanics and poor responsive stealth AI. However, now that I've gotten really good at exploiting that AI, I'm starting to feel it more.

#24 Posted by Zolkowski (57 posts) -

@Little_Socrates said:

With Skyrim specifically, though, I don't so much have that problem. Maybe it's because of the amount of Fallout 3 I played, but that game definitely has an ability to sucker me right in, despite it having really easy stealth mechanics and poor responsive stealth AI. However, now that I've gotten really good at exploiting that AI, I'm starting to feel it more.

Doesn't that somehow carry over with you when you play other games? It was gradual for me and it eventually just all came together where I'm getting less and less entertained.

@Supermike6

I can understand this. Though I'm not overly enthralled by competitive gaming scene. I'll watch MLG tournaments out of sheer boredom - but I can't play a game so much. It starts to feel like work rather than enjoyment.

#25 Edited by Herocide (442 posts) -

@Nathed said:

I don't think that a knowledge of mechanics necessarily decays immersion, but it certainly makes you more critical of a game - and that is totally fine. There is nothing wrong with demanding more of developers. Wanting these 'triggers' to be better disguised and surprise you more often is great - I'm sure that the devs themselves want those triggers to be seamless, too, just as an animator wants to leap the uncanny valley. It'll be interesting to revisit this topic in a few years when we're well into the next generation. General consensus (correct me if I'm wrong) seems to point to the next generation being far more focused on the improvement of AI and the like, rather than the graphical improvements that the current generation pushed.

You're a (comparative) expert in the medium, so the niggling feeling of there being nothing beyond this level will never leave completely, but I think a lot of that stems from a generation of consoles and developers that have confused 'immersion' with 'realistic graphics'.

I would love it if the next generation focused more heavily on mechanics than graphics, in the sense of programming and design rather than gimmicky controllers and the like (though they have their place too). Here's to the future.

EDIT: Also to the OP, you may enjoy watching LPs or something instead of playing the games yourself if all you're interested in at this point are the stories rather than the gameplay.

#26 Posted by MikkaQ (10318 posts) -

Sure it decays the immersion, but that's when you need to decide whether that's what you want to play games for or not. I actually enjoy being aware of the mechanics and being able to look at games with a critical eye, it allows me to appreciate the game on a whole different level.

Sure, Skyrim's mechanics are transparent, but for me it only shows off what a feat making a game like that really is. A game with that much content at a consistently high level of quality is a rarity, and achievement.

#27 Posted by Little_Socrates (5683 posts) -

@Zolkowski: Actually, not really, man. Maybe it's because I dungeon master v3.5, but game mechanics are just another tool to telling a good story, like cinematography. If anything, great mechanics generally pull me deeper into a game. Persona 4 is probably the king of this concept, with its Social Linking system incentivizing the building of relationships inherent to the game's story. Space Invaders, Missile Command, Catherine, Deadly Premonition, and Limbo come to mind as great examples of how to use game mechanics to enhance storytelling, even if one of those isn't that much fun to play. I consider mechanics an advantage of the medium rather than a deficit.

Do I get bored of repetitive mechanics? Sure, man. I don't wanna play any game right now that is based around pulling left trigger to aim down the sights of an assault rifle and crouching behind cover to not die. And it's certainly breaking the immersion when I shoot someone with an arrow in Skyrim, walk fifteen feet away in stealth mode, and hear them say "Must have been my imagination." But when it comes to immersion, even if I recognize the techniques being used, it only helps me to understand what the game is really going for. It's kind of like how film critics recognize the Dutch Angle or the use of multiple disorganized intersecting lines as a symbol of chaos.

I should point out that one of the things I'd like to be most is a game critic. Another is a media teacher. So, yes, I'm definitely the kind of person who goes crazy for this stuff rather than crazy about it.

#28 Posted by Zolkowski (57 posts) -

@Little_Socrates said:

I really like your examples, and I nearly forgotten how much I enjoyed limbo. These strict story-line games are a pretty good break. What is unfortunate though is most of them only last a few hours at most. And ones that get extremely long (see final fantasy) are just tiresome. I've said it somewhere else that I am still able to appreciate games for the effort put behind them - and I believe it's why I still buy so many. The downside is I feel like I am playing the game for the wrong reason, and once I've explored the majority of design and concept of a game it gets boring to me.

As you might suggest though, and will likely remedy the problem, is how well they are able to implement new mechanics and how well they can hide these from plain sight.

#29 Posted by Captain_Felafel (1576 posts) -

Absolutely. Times where I go "Okay, well the game is trying to convey to me that I don't know if I made the right decision here, but since there is all this voice acting in this scene, the decision I chose must be the right one because they wouldn't have put this much work into a false scene." always bum me out, but I'm pretty used to it at this point, to be honest. Just how I'm sure film experts are used to knowing where scenes are going before they go there based on trends and foreshadowing.

#30 Posted by Zolkowski (57 posts) -

@Captain_Felafel said:

Absolutely. Times where I go "Okay, well the game is trying to convey to me that I don't know if I made the right decision here, but since there is all this voice acting in this scene, the decision I chose must be the right one because they wouldn't have put this much work into a false scene." always bum me out, but I'm pretty used to it at this point, to be honest. Just how I'm sure film experts are used to knowing where scenes are going before they go there based on trends and foreshadowing.

That raises a good point. In games where it is advertised that you have choice, you just 'know' certain things are impossible as an outcome. Not because it would be impossible story wise, but because the amount of work it would require to enable all of these options. I'll use Fallout New Vegas as an example here. The ending - If it were to actually have the proper outcome there would be entirely new dialogue options and missions as a result of the shift in power to whoever has taken over. That was just the best example I could think of that most people would know, though I am sure there are plenty more.

#31 Posted by TobbRobb (4752 posts) -

I can't avoid noticing stuff like that anymore, it just goes. I do the same thing in movies, figuring out how a shot was taken, what technique was used to create that character... It's second nature by now. I haven't been really immersed in a game for years, I just keep buying them and lose interest when I know how they work.

#32 Edited by Captain_Felafel (1576 posts) -

@Zolkowski said:

@Captain_Felafel said:

Absolutely. Times where I go "Okay, well the game is trying to convey to me that I don't know if I made the right decision here, but since there is all this voice acting in this scene, the decision I chose must be the right one because they wouldn't have put this much work into a false scene." always bum me out, but I'm pretty used to it at this point, to be honest. Just how I'm sure film experts are used to knowing where scenes are going before they go there based on trends and foreshadowing.

That raises a good point. In games where it is advertised that you have choice, you just 'know' certain things are impossible as an outcome. Not because it would be impossible story wise, but because the amount of work it would require to enable all of these options. I'll use Fallout New Vegas as an example here. The ending - If it were to actually have the proper outcome there would be entirely new dialogue options and missions as a result of the shift in power to whoever has taken over. That was just the best example I could think of that most people would know, though I am sure there are plenty more.

It's a unique problem that only games have because of their often-times multiple endings/outcomes and branching, more free-form story telling methods. It's something writers need to realize more and begin to write around, otherwise you wind up in situations where players start to weigh plausibility, in regards to game production resources, against story-based decisions and then use external factors such as the development, as decision-making tools in those situations.

#33 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

It's the same reason that a game that animates really well and has decent assets will look better to most people than a really stiff rigid game with lots of high quality assets. Things need to just move the right way, without apearing off, without needing you to think about it, and without drawing attention. Mechanics are the same. But I can still enjoy a game that's stiff and beautiful, or with seams in the game logic.

#34 Posted by Zolkowski (57 posts) -

@Captain_Felafel

It's a very complicated mis-match and I really can't see it completely remedied for a while.

@MordeaniisChaos

The thing is, I don't need realistic graphics or smooth animations for me to be immersed in the world. Of course they will always help. Though there needs to be more of a sense that things are 'alive'. Dwarf fortress was a pretty neat game I got into for a while that really helped with this feeling.

#35 Posted by billyhoush (1192 posts) -

Yeah this happens to people who understand film production and music as well. However, after a while you learn to appreciate the craft more.

#36 Posted by Toms115 (2316 posts) -

stop whining

#37 Posted by themangalist (1739 posts) -

For open-world games like Skyrim, I have a bad habit of trying to FIND(read up) the mechanics behind everything because I know games always have limitations. Spoils almost everything for me given how intricate some stuff is, but at the same time, I don't want to press F5 every time every 5 minutes or make a hard save when I feel like events are about to be triggered. I blame that on knowing how games work :/

@Grumbel said:

@fisk0 said:

for example in Call of Duty, Black or Medal of Honor 2010 where you have to walk to a specific point to trigger your AI buddies to break open that closed door in front of you, or worse - where there are no enemies at all in an area until you activate the trigger).

My "favorite" kind of trigger are the ones where something negative to you happens. Killzone 2 for example had those nice triggers of "walk here to have an enemy shoot a grenade at one of your buddies and kill him". You can't walk around the trigger, you can't catch the grenade, you can't shoot the enemy, you can do nothing to prevent the trigger, thus the only thing you do to prevent the event is to not play the game or just stand there looking at them hanging in there shooting loop forever. It's not the fact that it's a script trigger that pulls me out of the experience, but the bad design of having a trigger that completely conflicts with what I should be doing in the game. I should be there to save and help, then blow by buddies up into pieces.

Oh yes. Those. They need to stop using this story telling technique unless it's crucial to the narrative. Playing for the last few hours trying NOT to get shot and die only get shot and die in a cutscene 2 minutes later is a very immersion breaker. I still found MW2 to be the worst offender of all, *spoilers from 3/4 years ago* getting betrayed twice the same way.

#38 Edited by MentalDisruption (1645 posts) -

Depends on the game. When a game manages to draw me into another world despite my ability to pick out the technical aspects going on, I know that it's a really good game. For example, The Witcher 2 and Mass Effect 2 have achieved that for me recently. I'm currently playing through Deus Ex HR at the moment, and it has not managed to immerse me to that point yet. Still an enjoyable game, but I can't play it for more than an hour or two every now and then because the technical things I'm spotting are keeping me from really getting into it.