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is or is not, an avatar

vvistovvvvistovv Member Posts: 88

 Ok, my friends and i have had a heated debate over the definition of Avatar.  Of course the movie came out so it's on the top of our minds.  So what is an avatar when it comes to gaming exactly?  The definition on www.merriam-webster.com says its: "4 : an electronic image that represents and is manipulated by a computer user (as in a computer game)."

So, most of us have an xbox live account (i do not) and have played wow or whatever mmo.  The 2d character profile on xbox live or PSN, my friends consider, are their avatars.  Which i agree.  But what they don't agree with me is that their mmo character, such as their wow charater, darkfall charater, or whatever they are playing, is not considered an avatar.  And i disagree with that completely.  OF course your mmo character is an avatar!  Its an image that you picked out to best represent you or persona that you intend to portray that is being manipulated by.. YOU!  Yes, it may not BEST represent you because of the limited scope of the game but the hair color, skin color, etc. was still picked by YOU.  

I would like to get all your thoughts on the matter of whether you consider your mmo character, or even single player customized character, an avatar.  Because we all know that is it, right?

 

Comments

  • pauldriverpauldriver Member Posts: 198

    I think for most people when taken in the context of an MMO, their avatar is a humanoid representation of themselves. This stands true for spaceships in EVE apparently seeing as a lot of people complain over the fact they can't play as an "avatar", only as their ships.

    Jam is sticky.

  • penguinmanepenguinmane Member Posts: 73

    a mmo character is not always an avatar

    I am penguinmane

    if im a warrrior on wow or any other game... the char name of imabadkid that i played was not me... friends in the guild was always say 'hey pen'

  • SigrandSigrand Member UncommonPosts: 367

    I consider a character in an MMO to be a represantitive version of myself.  It doesn't have to look anything like me, but the personality and behavior of the character are determined by me.  In a single player game, if I don't edit the character in any way, only play it, I don't consider it to represent myself.  It's a set character with its own personality/decisions that I control, but may or may not do what I think it should at certain times.

  • pauldriverpauldriver Member Posts: 198

    @penguin: Aye, as happens to me but I gather that he is specifically talking about being represented by a graphical avatar.

     

    EDIT: Direction of comment.

    Jam is sticky.

  • LynxJSALynxJSA Member RarePosts: 3,186
    Originally posted by penguinmane


    a mmo character is not always an avatar
    I am penguinmane
    if im a warrrior on wow or any other game... the char name of imabadkid that i played was not me... friends in the guild was always say 'hey pen'

     

    You're confusing a pseudonym or alias with an avatar.

  • Carl132pCarl132p Member UncommonPosts: 537

    Apparently if its an electronic representation that you control its an avatar. Right in the definition. Don't think you can interpret the dictionary it's pretty factual. My characters in an mmo represent my existance in the virtual world no matter what they look like and are therefore my avatars.

  • GruntyGrunty Member EpicPosts: 8,617

    It's a hell of a lot better than calling your character a 'toon'. Bugs Bunny is a toon.

    "I used to think the worst thing in life was to be all alone.  It's not.  The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel all alone."  Robin Williams
  • pauldriverpauldriver Member Posts: 198
    Originally posted by grunty


    It's a hell of a lot better than calling your character a 'toon'. Bugs Bunny is a toon.

     

    God yes. I have never been able to quite make peace with that particular term in MMO's.

    Jam is sticky.

  • championsFanchampionsFan Member Posts: 419

    The use of "avatar" in the context of electronic characters first appeared  in author Neil Stephenson's 'Snow Crash' (1992), and it is a metaphor.

    For centuries "avatar" has been the English translation of the Sanskrit word which Hindus use to describe the descent of a deity into physical form on earth.   The metaphor was so elegant that it has become ubiquitous.   For communication purposes, "avatar" now refers to both the little forum pictures and to the on-screen characters in an MMO.  But whether the metaphor really applies, whether their is anything personal abut you descended into that computerized form, depends on the individual case.

    Cryptic is trying a Customer Development approach to MMO creation.

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