Manifestations of Bleed

Watching the two documentaries, along with revisiting the Bowman article “Bleed: The Spillover Between Player and Character” and Tuesday’s discussion got me thinking more about the different kinds of bleed that can exist, even outside of non-game contexts and how more everyday bleed-like phenomenon creep into and affect our daily lives all the time. The distinction between the kind of “bleed-out” in which the character’s personality mingles with the player’s outside of the game (ie, immersing oneself in an assertive or aggressive character translating into the player becoming more assertive or aggressive in their own lives, such as in Jim and Andy and the Great Beyond, or leadership skills gained by leading things in-game translating to the application of those skills in post-game “real life” situations) and the kind of bleed-out in which the player continues to see the world in a more gamified way after the game is over and is unable to break out of the kind of thinking set up by the mechanics of the game is a pretty clear one, yet they are both examples of the game pushing out of its boundaries and affecting the player out of game.

Both of these types of bleed-out also have the potential to provide the player with positive effects or negative, and I wonder what some strategies for dealing with negative experiences of each might be and if they would be different. The first kind of bleed, the one Bowman is concerned with, since it is related to the personality or behaviors of the character bleeding into that of the player seems like it might be helped by things like an intentional separation of character from self during a debriefing session post-game. The second kind of bleed seems to be more about the way the character must view the world as a game bleeding into the player’s own view of the entire world outside of the game, and about the disorientation of switching back to the “real” world after the game is over. This would also probably be helped by a debriefing session, but it feels like there would be a difference in the mindset shift needed  between bringing yourself back into the self and bringing yourself back into an environment. Is there? Or is viewing the world in a gamified way/investing more in the game world than the “real” one just another part of the character a player takes on?  I’m interested in knowing other people’s thoughts on how far apart or not different forms of bleed might be and potential strategies for managing them. Conversely, how different (if at all) would the positive impacts of either kind of bleed be? And at what point (if any) are you able to say that immersion has gone “too far”?

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