Posted By: TeataineThe common thread to all these immersive experiences, in my opinion, is a sort of surrender of the player to the GM's narrative rythm.
If you got a GM, there has to be some concord between you and she, to enable your immersion in the interactive system, and in your character.
But in modern games
(those with no GM) there is the concord between you and the other players, and your joint immersion in the interactive system that makes the day. Your immersion is rather stronger in those games, in my experience, due to methods created specifically for tapping into just this phenomenon. And maybe due to methods being mechanics-light. Deceptively simple methods give raise to intense and complex interactive drama.
To me it is all a question of letting the game take command of you. So the game takes over by inspiring you to do things "the character way", rather than your own way. It takes place when there's an atmosphere that lets your intuition rule the field, in concord with other players, resulting in a creative mesh of sense, sensibility and imagination.
Those party to these experiences often look at them as pinnacles of great gaming. And no wonder; it is the closest thing to pure ego-transforming magic we have in games (and other media) today.