One of the things video games are particularly good at as an entire medium is allowing you to immerse yourself in… things.
Exactly what you’re able to immerse yourself in depends entirely on the game — in Microsoft Flight Simulator you can immerse yourself in a realistic depiction of what it is like to fly a real aircraft, for example, while in Xenoblade Chronicles you can immerse yourself in a well-realized fantasy world.
One interesting possibility that this immersiveness allows for is the ability to “live” in another culture. For Westerners, it’s particularly intriguing to be able to immerse oneself into Japanese culture, for example, which is in many ways rather alien to the societal norms we see in America and Europe. Of course, said societal norms vary even between America and Europe, but not quite so drastically as the divergence in culture between “East” and “West.”
This article was originally published on Games Are Evil in 2012 as part of the site’s regular READ.ME column on visual novels. It has been republished here due to Games Are Evil no longer existing in its original form.