Virtual World Weariness
On Delaying the Experiental Erosion of Digital Environments
A common understanding of the role of a game developer includes establishing (or at least partially establishing) what is interactively and perceptually available in (video)game environments: what elements and behaviors those worlds include and allow, and what is – instead – left out of their »possibility horizon«. The term »possibility horizon« references the Ancient Greek origin of the term »horizon« (oros), which denotes a frontier – a spatial limit. On this etymological foundation, »horizon« is used here to indicate the spatial and operational boundaries that a (video)game environment affords its players. This book chapter discusses a particular feeling that emerge in relation to playful encounters with the »possibility horizons« of videogames. I am referring here to the realization, as a player, that a game environment can be experientially exhausted and is, as such, ultimately banal. In other words, I will examine how our deliberate engagement with the interactive environments of digital games can trigger sensations that are analogous to what Romantic authors referred to as Weltschmerz (»world-weariness«).