A year ago or so, someone over at the IGDA Forums had an interesting question. The person referred to the famous cinema-mantra “show, don’t tell” and asked what the equivalent for games would be.
Many answers came of course. My initial two answers were “Wright, don’t tell” (which was a little word play on legendary game designer Will Wright) and “it’s play, not a play” (which put emphasis on participation and interaction).
Recenty someone responded to the almost dead thread and revitalized it. This spawned a group of new proposals for game design mantras. As I spent some time to find better solutions than my previous ones, suddenly this sentence popped into my mind: “Choosing is believing.”
I’m not yet fully aware what this sentence implies, but I think I found something that could be a starting point to explain verisimilitude and immersion in games. If games need to identify players with their roles, I think choice is the first step that the player makes. If you can choose, you are part of it. If you can’t, you lose connection. Hence, choosing is believing.