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Choose your avatar!

Screen Shot 2017-08-05 at 7.41.11 PMThe New York Times posted a few pictures from the book Alter Ego: Avatars and Their Creators. The concept behind the book is to show real people and the characters they create to represent themselves in video games. It’s a real insight into people to find out how they would choose to look.

How would you choose to look? I think it’s valuable to know what you look like to yourself in an idealized form. Do you look the same? Are you covered with armor? Are you sexier? Would you just accept all the defaults that were given to you?

It’s worth thinking about, these characters accomplish a lot, most more than the people that control them. Imagine if the confidence and skill people had with their characters translated into their lives. If you could create a visual image of yourself when you were at your most creative, what would it look like? Could you become that character?

In truth, are you yourself or your avatar?

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Video Game Dictionary – Half-Real

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This dictionary of video game terms contains some common phrases, but it also has some new ideas for concepts unique to the video game world. His book is called Half-Real . I imagine that you can infer the rest of the book from this list of definitions.

Remember, fun is elusive and defining fun is by definition, not fun. Also, subversive play is an interesting concept. Video game characters rebelling against their creator and questioning their role in the seemingly unbendable rules of their world. Here are some examples:

Ant farming
“‘Ant-farming’ is when you design with a gods-eye view in mind – it’s when you throw around concepts which are ‘interesting’ or ‘provide fascinating social dynamics’ or ‘would really feel like a virtual world’ – but fail the basic ‘fun’ test. This is when the designers are designing a game that’s more fun to observe than to actually live in.” (Schubert 2004)

Subversive play
Subversive play is play against the intention or authority of the game design/game designer. (Flanagan 2005). The concept presupposes games that have a dominant authority that players can revolt against.

Fun
While fun is an elusive concept, the most popular school of thought claims that video game fun comes primarily from the enjoyment of problem solving.

Sid Meier claims that “A [good] game is a series of interesting choices” (Rollings & Morris 2000, p. 38).
Koster (2005) claims that fun arises from trying to understand the pattern of a game.
The idea of fun as a result of problem solving is also present in the concepts of interesting choices and aesthetic index.
A second school of thought describes video games as a combination of a number of different types of fun, where different games emphasize different types of fun.

Hunicke, LeBlanc, and Zubek (2004) list 8 types of fun: Sensation, Fantasy, Narrative, Challenge, Fellowship, Discovery, Expression, and Submission.
Garneau (2001) list 14 forms of fun: Beauty, Immersion, Intellectual Problem Solving, Competition, Social Interaction, Comedy, Thrill of Danger, Physical Activity, Love, Creation, Power, Discovery, Advancement and Completion, Application of an Ability.
Concerning game design, Shelley (2001) emphasizes that “The Player Should Have the Fun, Not the Designer, Programmer, or Computer”.

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