Immersion is a Web Original series created by Rooster Teeth Productions. In it, Burnie Burns determines that many things that are taken for granted in Video Games - gaming's own tropes, if you will - simply don't work in real life.
Or do they? With the help of his set- and costume-designer friend Griffon Ramsey, he decides to go and test scientifically if some of the things in video games are in fact possible, like a gamer's MythBusters.
The first season involved Burnie and Griffon working together to explain and set up the experiments, with Griffon's husband Geoff Ramsey and his friend Gus Sorola, also both longtime members of Rooster Teeth Productions and cast of Red vs. Blue, acting as the Lab Rats - usually getting themselves hurt somehow.
- "Video Game Car": In games like Grand Theft Auto, you drive a car in third-person, with the camera about 10 feet behind. Could that possibly work in real life?
- "Online Gaming Distractions": In Call of Duty and other online shooters, some of the more rude players can be quite distracting. But would a real combat specialist be distracted by random sexual and ethnic slurs?
- "Fighting Girl Clothes": In a lot of Japanese fighting games like Soulcalibur, the women's clothing can be pretty scanty. Just how practical would it be to fight in that kind of clothing?
- "Side Scrolling": It's strange how people can seem to orient themselves so well in side-scrolling games like Super Mario Bros.. It must be easy to do it in real life then, right?
- "Video Game Inventory Systems": In Doom, your character carries a shotgun, rocket launcher, BFG and many other guns - all at once. How would a real person cope with this?
- "Video Game Food": In games, whenever your character is hurt the only thing that makes them feel better is food. Would that work in real life?
- "Zombie Headshots": In comparison to zombie games like Left 4 Dead, would it really be that easy for an average person in real life to just pick up a firearm and be able to shoot zombies in the head?
- "Food Special": A special episode shown at PAX East 2011, which has no video game tie-in. We all know that artificial flavoring doesn't taste like real fruit, but if you put purple flavor into a grape, would anyone notice?
- "Horde Mode RTX Special": Geoff and Gus have already shown their relative ability to face off with Zombies. It gets moved to practical application when they are on the receiving end of a Zombie Apocalypse.
Then in a visit to Supanova with Gavin Free, Burnie confirmed that they would be shooting a new season in late 2012/early 2013... and the people acting as the new Lab Rats would be Gavin himself, as well as Michael Jones. Shooting was confirmed to have started in Spring 2013, for a presumed summer release.
Season 2 commenced on May 22, 2013, with the release of the episode "Simulation Racer", before settling into a regular schedule in April 2014. The season concluded a year after its start, on May 29, 2014, with the "Trials Fusion" episode.
- "Simulation Racer": Is it possible that driving a car in a video game could make you anywhere near as good as a driver who races the same track for real?
- "Split Screen": Back in the days when you had to share a screen in multi-player, looking at your opponent's screen was a tactic to locate them and give yourself an advantage. But would screen looking work in a real-life situation?
- "Fruit Ninja": Is it possible to slice fruit with ninja style moves? Or is this just an excuse for the scientists to throw fruit at our Lab Rats?
- "Pacman": In Pacman you navigate a top down maze, avoiding the ghosts that you can see as a result of your viewpoint. But would such a view help you avoid the ghosts in a real-life maze situation?
- "Mario Kart": A two-for-one episode. Burnie and the Lab Rats investigate whether it's possible to actually do a 'boost' from the start line of a go-kart race; and ask - just how many bananas does it take to flip a kart?
- "Trials Fusion": Has playing bike rider game Trials Fusion helped our Lab Rats learn to ride bikes over obstacles?
A third season was announced in April 2015 and premiered on November 1, 2015. This one features a rotating cast of five scientists and six lab rats, including the writing team for RWBY and had much more elaborate experiment set ups. Starting from '"Five Nights at Freddy's in Real Life"', there are bonus episodes that features another pair of Lab Rats playing the course.
- "Fallout 4 in Real Life": Can our Lab Rats navigate the (Texas) wasteland, finding a code to enter the Vault they are headed for, and without dying to the numerous hazards?
- "Five Nights at Freddy's in Real Life": Michael and Gavin have played all the Five Nights at Freddy's games; so surviving the night locked up with Rooster Teeth's own maybe-animatronic horrors should be a breeze for them. Right?
- "Metal Gear Solid in Real Life": Featuring two new Lab Rats (Kerry and Miles), Burnie and Gavin want to see if box camouflage would really work when sneaking through a warehouse.
- "Star Wars Jetpack in Real Life": With Blaine and Chris as our Lab Rats, they see if Star Wars jetpacks can really work as depicted.
- "Space Invaders in Real Life": Could one small ship really defend a planet from lines of descending space invaders if you knew the pattern they were coming at? Shot at RTX Aus, with Michael and Ryan as Lab Rats and Gavin filling in Burnie's main scientist role.
Season 4 began airing on November 9th, 2016 with Team Nice Dynamite at the helm again.
- Hitman in Real Life: Michael and Gavin return in an attempt to see if it's highly possible to sneak into a party, assassinate a target and escape without getting caught, similar to all of the Let's Watches towards the Hitman2016 game.
- Resident Evil in Real Life: Michael and Gavin go into a zombie infested hospital to see how different camera angles (first person, third person, fixed) work in real life compared to Resident Evil games
- Destructibles in Real Life: Michael and Gavin test to see if it's possible to break shit the same way they do in Half-Life, The Legend of Zelda and Rainbow Six Siege
- Surgeon Simulator in Real Life: Michael and Gavin are tasked to replace a heart similar to Surgeon Simulator 2013
- NBA Jam in Real Life: Michael and Gavin play with fire to see if lighting a basketball on fire will make you play better similar to NBA Jam.
- "Flipping a Warthog in Real Life": As part of the 14th Season of Red vs. Blue, we see how much strength it takes to flip a Warthog.
A fifth set of episodes began showing on March 21, 2017:
- "The Last of Us in Real Life": Would being hung upside down from a snare really affect your aiming as much as The Last of Us suggests it does?
- "Mass Effect in Real Life": In the game Mass Effect the ability 'Charge' allows for the infliction of massive damage on enemies. But how practical would such an ability be in real life?
- "Fortnite in Real Life": A lot of video games let you build a defensible structure to help you take on enemy waves — but would such a construction do the job in a real-life situation?
Find all of the Seasons here on the RT Site.
- "Shark Week: Immersion": After a long hiatus, Discovery Channel aired a special for Shark Week 2019, in which pop-culture depictions of sharks are tested, culminating in an actual dive with real sharks.
This series includes examples of:
- A Date with Rosie Palms: Implied in "Fighting Girl Clothes".
- May alternatively be implying something about the muscleman Griffon was oiling up earlier in the episode.
- Badass Longcoat: Anyone observing the experiment typically has one on standby, and many people are shown wearing one in the Season 2 intro.
- Boom, Headshot!: In "Zombie Headshots".
- Butt Monkeys: Geoff and Gus in Season 1.
- As of season 2, Gavin and Michael.
- Season 3 started with the same two, now they seem to be pulling in anyone who says yes.
- With Season 4, it's back to Michael and Gavin. Gavin even more so, since they had promoted him to tester during Season 3, only to force him back into the jumpsuit again.
- The Cameo: The introduction to the second episode of Season 2, an episode dealing with Split Screen and screen looking in real-life has Caleb steal the end of Burnie's last line.
- Chekhov's Gun: A cross-video series one. The "Mario Kart" episode of Season 2 reveals that they had everyone in the RT office eating bananas for a week to get enough peels for the experiment. So anytime in the past year you saw a RT staff member eating a banana in videos - this episode is probably why. Heck some of the clips they show to prove this have bananas in places that won't even help the peel-count, such as on shirts or in the Animated Adventures!
- Cluster F-Bomb: The whole point of "Online Gaming Distractions".
- Covered in Gunge: Just one of the many options that could be used to complicate an experiment (e.g. Space Invaders).
- Deadpan Snarker: Griffon.
- Deconstruction: The entire point of the show is to comedically examine if certain video game tropes and mechanics have some validity in real life. It usually doesn't, but there are occasions where certain elements do work in reality.
- Demoted to Extra: In season 2, since Gavin and Michael are the new test subjects, Geoff and Gus are no longer needed to reprise their previous roles. Gus joins the experiment team with actually setting up (or at least explaining) the tests, and Geoff doesn't appear at all. Geoff, however, does reappear in a Sponsor-only version of the NBA Jam, but Jack accompanies him this time.
- Likewise, Season 3 sees Gavin promoted to the experiment team with a rotating cast of test subjects, including Michael.
- Inverted in Season 4, which sees Gavin "promoted" back to lab rat.
- Disguised in Drag: In the bonus episode of Hitman, Chris did this. It works in his favor as no one was able to immediately recognize him.
- The Dog Bites Back: Hitman ends with Burnie being stuck with a poison sticker. There's also the hint that the Lab Rats were the ones responsible for getting Burnie snagged in the snare in the pre-test part of the Last of Us episode.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Gus trips on his first step in "Inventory Systems" and never completes the obstacle course.
- Duct Tape for Everything: In its early days, before it became far more professional.
- Epic Fail: Bruce's performance in "Hitman", full stop. First off, his wig just looks like a messier version of his regular hair. Second, when he goes to get a waiter outfit, he ends up taking his mask off (for some reason) and breaks it trying to put it back on, then leaves without the waiter outfit. Third, he randomly uses his poison sticker on an attendee for no apparent reason, which wastes the sticker and causes security to start unmasking people. And fourth, he constantly walks by his target without doing a thing, or even seeming to notice he's there. Even Burnie is constantly getting confused and aggravated by watching him.
- Fake Difficulty: Burnie likes to add extra things to the experiments to make them more difficult, whether or not such additions make sense, mostly just to torture the lab rats for fun. Most examples are justified, however:
- In the pilot episode Video Game Car, he has Monty and Frank attack Geoff and Gus as they make their way to the car. Somewhat justified as, in games like Grand Theft Auto, AI characters will try to attack you as you get into cars.
- In Video Game Foods, the main experiment was to see if eating food could heal Geoff and Gus's hangovers and tiredness. However, in order to make this test more true to the games where said food is often found randomly on the ground and such, the food is made to taste and even smell disgusting, which just makes the two of them sick. Justified since, after all, that is usually how food is found.
- In Zombie Headshots, Geoff uses a shotgun and Gus uses a pistol despite them both having experience with the opposite gun and, as Geoff points out, both are available. Justified since the test was about whether or not someone could pick up a gun they've never used before and shoot zombies perfectly, so Burnie made them use the gun type they weren't as familiar with.
- Simulation Racer had Gavin and Michael being force-fed cheese puffs and milk during pit stops. Unlike other examples listed above, this seems to have no justification whatsoever; cheese puffs and milk are far from commonly-used pit stop food (Terry himself says during the video that he'd never eat that during a race), and only the lab rats get fed instead of Terry as well. The result of this is Michael throwing up and Gavin nearly doing so on several occasions, hindering their progress.
- Happens accidentally in Space Invaders in Real Life. The Invaders' projectiles end up doing the following: disorienting Michael by hitting him in the face, knocking him away from his weapon, knocking over their ammo box, and jamming his gun (the last of which is arguably the reason they lost). In the behind the scenes, it was confirmed that at least the first one was an intentional (or just hoped-for) side effect.
- Fanservice: In "Fighting Girl Clothes", for sure.
- Foregone Conclusion: All the episodes basically amount to "Would this video game idea work just as easily in real life?", and considering the insane topics (healing from old food, becoming a ninja by playing a video game, etc.), you can safely assume the answer is "no" just based on the introduction.
- Some exceptions occur, however; in Online Gaming Distractions, Shane aims better when being jeered than when not (though it does still lead to him being distracted and pausing longer between shots). Geoff completes the Inventory Systems challenge, though he was in the military and even he had difficulty carrying all that stuff. And both Geoff and Gus do well in the Zombie Headshots episode, though both have used firearms before; Griffon, who's never shot a gun before, took three shots to kill one zombie. The most obvious example is the Mario Kart episode, wherein Gavin demonstrates that the tires of a car being lifted and the accelerator being pressed early actually can have a positive effect on performance.
- For Science!: Allegedly, at least. In practice, Burnie and co. lean more towards For the Evulz.
- Gag Censor: "Fighting Girl Clothes" uses images of slang for female body parts to censor said body parts.
- Genre Savvy: Michael, in the Resident Evil episode, has played enough RE games to know that the "dead" zombie on the operating table will come back to life and attack them the second they grab the key.
- Groin Attack: If paintball guns are involved, somebody is getting shot in the groin.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: Zig-zagged in Metal Gear Solid In Real Life. The guards robotically follow set patrol paths and stupidly go back to them after about 5 seconds of being suspicious, but they also detect motion realistically and immediately sound the alarm when they find a downed guard to hunt for the intruder. Averted in Hitman in Real Life, where the security guards are actively looking out for one of their colleagues as the Hitman, they just don't know which one or which disguise they're using.
- Hidden Depths: Geoff's military career is brought up a lot more here than any other Rooster Teeth production.
- Hyperactive Metabolism: Parodied, when eating lots of stale food unsurprisingly fails to make either test subject feel better.
- Hyperspace Arsenal: Averted majorly: They force Geoff and Gus to carry the entire arsenal from Doom. Gus can barely move with all that gear on him.
- I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: In the Fallout Free-Roam episode while in Coe's bar Gavin handles the pistol without paying any attention to where he's pointing it. Gavin's recklessness eventually causes the gun to go off while pointed at Coe.
- Implausible Deniability: Miles tries this in the Metal Gear Solid episode after he's cornered by two of the guards with no gun and no box for cover.
- Interface Screw:
- Whenver the lab rats are forced to see another camera feed on top of what their eyes are actually looking at in front of them, such as in "Split Screen".
- Gavin is forced to walk around with essentially beer goggles in front of his face in ''Fallout in Real Life' to simulate radiation poisoning, severely impairing his ability to see and walk.
- Overcrank: Used at times. Of course, since one of The Slow Mo Guys is on the show...
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Their "Hitman" video sort of hinges on this. The lab rats are given an eye mask and t-shirt just like everyone else at the event, but also a wig and some makeup. Considering they don't disguise their voices, and everyone in the room is either an RTX attendee or a Rooster Teeth employee, one wonders just how they were even able to avoid getting caught before acting out.
- Punny Name: Congressman Mike Hawk, the target in the "Hitman in Real Life" episode. Naturally, his speech is rife with dick jokes and innuendo.
- Reckless Gun Usage: In the Fallout 4 episode, Gavin breaking the cardinal rules of gun handling with NERF guns namely keep your finger off the trigger unless you're shooting and don't point at things/people you're not trying to destroy. He accidentally shoots and kills a questgiver violating both rules. Averted whenver actual firearms are in play, and Rooster Teeth makes a point of explicating safety rules.
- Recognition Failure: In the Five Nights at Freddy's episode, Gavin and Michael recognize three of the monsters - Mr. Diddles from "Let's Play - WWE 2K14", Pongo from the Rooster Teeth Shorts and the chicken, but fail to recognize the Ursa Grimm from RWBY, though Michael does correctly name it as an Ursa on Night 3.
- Recycled IN SPACE!: It's MythBusters WITH VIDEO GAMES!
- Refuge in Audacity: Michael and Gavin working together in Hitman in Real Life. Their assassination attempt basically entailed directly walking up to Mike Hawk and his guard, taking them out conspicuously, then walking away smoothly. It works. Bonus audacity points for Gavin giving an enthusiastic thumbs-up after poisoning his guard and even giving a "cheers' with his drink right before slipping away.
- Running Gag: In Resident Evil in Real Life, Michael and Gavin starting each round by trying to high-five each other in each different camera perspective, and failing miserably each time.
- Just the sheer amount of times they have to mess with the lab rats' perspectives by placing cameras around and forcing them to watch through them ("Sidescrolling", "Split Screen", "Resident Evil", etc) counts on its own.
- Bad guys being given tasers to "motivate" the lab rats. This is one Gavin and Michael will lampshade (and bemoan).
- Shout-Out: The entire show is arguably built on this.
- Of course, Caleb would be in the intro of the screen-looking episode.
- Spanner in the Works: Michael's first run in Hitman in Real Life was foiled twice by the RTX attendees. His attempt to deliver a poisoned drink to the target disguised as a waiter is ruined when one of the guests knocks over his drink tray. His backup plan, infiltrate the security room and disguise as a guard, falls through when another guest spots him in the act and alerts the guards.
- Special Guests:
- Threatening Shark: The entire theme around the 2019 Shark Week special was to see if sharks really are as dangerous as they're portrayed in media.
- Training Montage: Used in the Fruit Ninja episode, with Monty 'training' Michael and Gavin.
- Unorthodox Reload: Gavin discovers that having a 3rd person camera mounted behind his shoulder makes it very difficult to reload his Nerf gun. He remedies this by resting the gun on his shoulder so that he can see the chamber, and loading a dart into it that way.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: The '"Fallout 4'' episode takes place in an open world and gives Gavin and Michael free reign to handle confrontations however they want. Naturally, they immediately resort to violence against the Tunnel Snakes instead of talking things out like adults and show mercy only to the enemy leader at the end.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Half of the premise is the interaction between mad scientist Burnie and his test subject friends.
- Vomit Discretion Shot: Well, you don't see the puke, but you can hear it pretty easily in "Video Game Food".
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: In the Simulation Racer episode, when Michael throws up in the car, we see a bag full of his liquid vomit. He then tries throwing it to Gavin, who almost gags and loses control of the car he's driving virtually. Twice, he flips the video game car due to this.
- Worth It: Gus can be heard to claim that being humiliated in his attempt to carry 200lb of weapons at once was worth it for a single beer.
- Zombie Apocalypse: The first RTX special.