avATARIum

avATARIum

 

            From the first examples of story-based videogames, the mechanism to invest the player in the experience was the Avatar. Games like Space Invaders and Donkey Kong made the player an aspiring hero to save the world or a princess or two. The avatar was a unique character that the player became dedicated to - that they wanted to succeed and felt failure when their avatar failed. As the video game realm developed, the avatars became more and more elaborate. The user had more choices to mold their avatar into a character that they developed through decisions that would directly impact the game. The player could become a racecar driver, a pilot, a dragon slayer or anything else the digital realm would allow. In the last 20 years, the digital footprint for the avatar has grown exponentially. Games like Second Life and The Sims have pushed the avatar role to interesting new places. These arenas allow the player to be in an artificial space that they can mold and manipulate for their avatar to interact with. Second Life, for example, is a digital space with rules like the real world such as property, commerce and jobs that revolve around the players desires in game. The avatar is becoming a digital representation of the player in a space that they have more direct control of. These decisions to invest more and more in the digital space bring new questions as to where the real world ends and the digital space begins.