Analyzing Game Musical Immersion: The ALI Model
Isabella van Elferen [+]
Kingston University London
While quantitative studies show overwhelming evidence that music and sound are crucial for video game immersion, the definition of game musical immersion itself has only been hinted at in very general terms. Ermi and Mäyrä (2005) maintain that game soundtracks lead to ‘sensory’ immersion; Karen Collins describes audiovisual involvement as ‘imaginative immersion’ (2008); Timothy Crick (2011) and Gordon Calleja (2011) contend that soundtracks rather induce an ‘affective’ involvement. These claims illustrate the lack of academic consensus and understanding of musical game immersion, and urge a systematic theorisation of this aspect of gaming to offer insight into questions pertaining to how musical player involvement is brought about or which factors play a role in it. It is the aim of this chapter to outline a research model that can bridge the gap between the practice of and the reflection on game music. The chapter proposes three overlapping, music-specific working concepts leading to a comprehensive framework charting the conditions for and mechanics of musical player involvement. This framework, the ALI-model, shows how musical affect, literacy and interaction cooperate in a process of signification, identification and play leading to game musical involvement. The chapter will explore each of the three components of the ALI model.