Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Gamers and Their Avatars

Photographer Robbie Cooper spent three years taking pictures of online gamers and lined them up next to their avatars. Cooper writes:
In 2003 I was photographing the CEO of a company, when he told me that he used virtual world games to play with his children. He was divorced and had bad access to them, so he would meet them every evening in 'Everquest', where they would play and chat. I asked him, what did they talk about? He told me that they discussed things like homework, school, their mother; the normal stuff of humdrum reality.

His description of this banal but emotionally important exchange, taking place in the vivid fantasy of a game, got me thinking about the nature of the game itself; it's a world of surface appearances and symbols. Within that, their interaction had been reduced to text; it was a technological extension of psychological models -- the imaginary, and the symbolic structure of language.

via GearFuse


RevAnne said...

This is pretty cool. I just finished reading Jeffrey Deaver's novel Roadside Crosses, in which the "synth" world and real world purportedly become confused in the mind of a cyber-bullied teen. It's an interesting reflection on the power of the internet, blogging, social media, mmorpgs, etc.
"The internet eliminates the way you look in real life, so you get to know a person by their mind and personality." The text on the disabled gamer is definitely worth a read as far as the value of online communication in many of its facets. My experience in having a year of virtual class time before meeting my DMin classmates is similar, btw. We knew each other far better than the groups who had been meeting in real life on a regular basis, and were much closer and more social as a group. They were a little intimidated by us, partly because we functioned as a loud and boisterous family group rather than a team of colleagues.

John said...

"The internet eliminates the way you look in real life, so you get to know a person by their mind and personality."

This is a fascinating observation, and quite true. The physical self in the online world is purely invented. Only the personality is observable.