Lightbars in Her Story
One part that’s interesting to analyze in a game is what the player’s presence is. In most modern games, players assume the role of a character, while in games like Candy Crush or Tetris, the player is simply that – the player. In some games, as Brendan Keogh pointed out in his analysis of SUPERHOT and Cibele, the player is intentionally kept out of the game world entirely or forcefully. One of my favorite recent games in terms of presence is Her Story, which has you assume the character of a detective (not very original) sitting behind a computer sifting through files (the player character does the same as the player, also not super original). But the light bars that reflect in the virtual screen of Her Story, those are something I hadn’t seen used like that.
The light bars, in the screens’ reflection, are inferred to be behind you in the physical world, your real-life reflection mixing with the reflection the game projects into our the real world. In a way, Her Story reaches into the real world and puts something there that isn’t real behind the player. It creates a weird sence of being enveloped by the game world, as your reflection and the game’s reflection meld together into what you see on your screen. It’s an extremely simple and subtle effect, but it created a sense of presence I’d expect of VR or AR, just like that.