I believe immersion is what makes a game good and a good game is one in which I’m likely to spend a lot of my time (*ahem* Pokemon for one; 50 glorious hours and counting). This isn’t to say that mechanics, visuals and sound aren’t all important but it is the impact and cooperation of such factors that create a world in which I can become immersed. Along this vein, I have devised a brief test:
1. Think about the last game you played nearly non-stop for hours at a time.
2. Now think about how often you ate, drank, slept or even visited the bathroom during that time.
I can’t speak for every gamer out there, but I find the more immersive a game, the less the needs of my body not only matter but even become apparent. For instance, it becomes much more important to me to rebuild Rome than make a sandwich. Personally, I know very few obese gamers. Unfit? Certainly, but obese? No. Is it possible that the higher the immersion factor of a game the less likely it is to cause the over eating that many attribute to playing in the first place.
On another note, the simple fact that most video games are controlled using the hands makes the act of eating a nuisance, taking away from time spent playing.
Video games can certainly promote poor habits but really so can an obsession with anything. Perhaps the effect of immersion is more than the simple ramblings of someone suffering from hunger, sleep deprivation or a bursting bladder but a matter worth truly exploring.