I tried playing Unknown Horizons a while ago. It’s a very pretty game and seems quite well polished, but I had a little problem with it. In spite of being a relatively relaxed game, it made me think a little about video game violence.
I’ve been playing video games ever since I was a kid. Violence has always been quite present, and I didn’t have much problem with it. Some of my childhood memories include shooting things, punching things, throwing stuff at things and shelling things. I never really had much problem with it, as long as it was tasteful.
Then, a new problem came. And from what I remember, it started with GTA. When I first saw GTA I was quite impressed, it seemed like a fun game and I liked the open world concept. But after playing it a little, I realized it’s not for me – not because it was violent, but because it was evil. Shooting zombies is one thing, but I didn’t really see the fun in harming innocent people, even if it was only a game. I don’t think it should be forbidden and I don’t have anything against people who enjoy this, but it’s just not for me. If a game allows even a little bit of immersion, I like being immersed – I like to feel like I’m really there, doing what my character is doing. And when my character is evil, it just feels bad.
So how does all this relate to Unknown Horizons? I bet the developers wouldn’t have seen this coming. Around ten years ago I became a vegan. I’m not usually very preachy about it, but it is an important ideological choice for me, and I do think harming animals for anything but self-defense is very wrong. So my problem with the game? Simple. If you want to succeed in Unknown Horizons, you have to have hunters. You have to have animal farms. No gathering, no (initial) agriculture, no choice like in some other games – if you want to survive, you need to kill things. I know you must be thinking I’m exaggerating, and games shouldn’t be taken too seriously, but that’s just the thing – I don’t have a problem playing Chicken Invaders, because it makes no attempts at being immersive. I don’t have a problem with Dungeon Keeper because it’s too humorous and over-the-top to be taken seriously. But if your game tries to look realistic and invites immersion, then I’ll have a problem with things like that.
I wonder if there are any other unexpected problems like that people have with immersion in games.
 I mean, in addition to the fact that it crashed for no discernible reason after about 30 minutes.
 I have quite relaxed demands for “tasteful”, but for example – after trying the new Mortal Kombat game, I lost all interest in getting anywhere near the series again. When a game turns violence from a means to tell a story or play a game to the essence of the game, it becomes not only too violent but also stupid and not creative, in my opinion.
 Little anecdote – back when I used to play Lords of the Realm 2, one of the first things I’d do every time I conquered a new county was abolish cattle / dairy farming and plant stuff instead. I didn’t even pay much attention to it, it was just obvious that this was the way for me to play.
 Actually, colonization games like Unknown Horizons often have another obvious problem. I didn’t notice it back when I was into the Civilization series, but having grown a little and learned a little about the world, I have to ask – they had you colonize a new land while occasionally finding little native villages to fight and pillage? How did that seem reasonable when I was younger?