Essay Research

How do avatars effect the players experience within video games?

Adams,E. (2014) Fundamentals Of Game Design Third Edition. Pearson Education, Inc. :

Quote by Steven Pool on Lara Croft: “She is am abstraction of sexual and attitudinal signs whose blankness encourages the viewer’s physiological projection. Beyond the bare facts of her biography, her perfect actuality means we can make Lara Croft into whoever we want her to be.”

Avatar- A character in a game who serves as a protagonist under the player’s control.

People are sensitive to the movement of human beings, and flaws in the animation will break their immersion.

The nature of the player’s relationship with the avatar varies considerably from game to game. Whether the player designed the avatar himself, whether the game displays the avatar as a visible and audible presence, how the player controls the avatars movements, and many other factors influence that relationship.

On custom designed characters in MMO’s: The more personal expression you can offer, the more the player will enjoy exercising their creativity. This is true for children and younger people, who are at an age which playing with identity is a part of their own development.

About pre-set characters: The relationship between the player and the avatar varies depending on how the designer specifies the avatar’s appearance and qualities.

On specific-avatars: Lara Croft too, has more looks than personality; she’s a stand in for the player, not a 3D being.

Gordon Freeman from half-life is non-specific: Designers gave him no voice or ability for the player to see him so they can fill inhabit the empty shell.

In terms of character control “with indirect control, the avatar is distinctively someone else , with a mind of their own; with direct control, the avatar is in some degree an extension of the player himself”

Things like backstory and character development can both help the player to relate to an avatar or feel distanced MENTION LARA CROFT AND NATHAN DRAKE.


Jamie Madigan. (2015) Getting Gamers: The Psychology of Video Games and Their Impact on the People Who Play Them. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

An emerging line of research says that when the choice is ours, it’s often about building a better version of ourselves”

“Other researchers have found that the ability to create idealized versions of ourselves is strongly connected to how much we enjoy the game, how immersed we become, and how much we identify with the avatar.”

Seung-A ‘Annie’ Jin, who works at Emerson College’s Marketing Communication Department, “She found that players who were able to create a Mii that was approximately their ideal body shape generally felt more connected to that avatar and also felt more capable of changing their virtual self’s behavior – a fancy way of saying that the game felt more interactive and immersive. This link was strongest, in fact, when there was a big discrepancy between participants’ perceptions of their ideal and actual selves.”

“But a compensation effect has been observed. People with a higher body mass index – likely overweight or obese – create more physically idealized avatars, [which are] taller or thinner. And people who are depressed or have low self-esteem create avatars with more idealized traits, [such as being] more gregarious and conscientious.”- quote from Nick Yee used to work as a research scientist at the Palo Alto Research Center now works at Ubisoft


Are video games beneficial or detrimental?

Jesse Schell. (2010) The Art Of Game Design (Second Edition). Morgan Kaufmann

From page 442


On CAN GAMES BE GOOD FOR YOU? “Games come naturally to humans, and afford so much pleasure, that only someone of a very extreme philological orientation would maintain that all gameplay is harmful. Several positive effects are often attributed to games.”

EMOTIONAL MAINTANANCE- “Games are one of many activities that people can engage in to try to maintain and control their mood and emotional state. People play games to try to-







Connecting socially with others-“Games can act a social bridge, giving us reasons to interact with each other, letting us see how others respond to a variety of situations, introducing topic of conversation, showing us what we have in common, and creating shared memories”

Health benefits in terms of mental exercise particularly for the elderly.


Problem solving

Systems of relationships






Do video games perpetuate gender and racial stereotypes?


Adams,E. (2014) Fundamentals Of Game Design Third Edition. Pearson Education, Inc. :

“Hyper sexualisation refers to the practice of exaggerating sexual attributes of men and women in order to make them more sexually appealing.”- mostly to teens.

Things like clothing, breasts and poses for women and build, height and looks for male characters.

Skimpy clothing lets them display their physical attributes as much as possible, and sexually suggestive poses further drive the point home”

Kratos from God Of War games, typifies the hyper sexualised male character as do most of the characters in fighting games. Lara Croft is the best-known example of a hyper sexualised female character”

Very common is Japanese culture and media.

Games to mention: Tekken, DOA, Tomb Raider, MGS V, Final Fantasy?

Possibly mention other media- Movies, TV? Comics?



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