In the article Expressing My Inner Gnome: Appearance and Behavior in Virtual Worlds, Lam and Riedl explore the “role-playing” behavior of gamers. The authors go on to mention the video games: World of Warcraft and Second Life. A game that came to my mind that embodies a virtual world is the game The Sims. This “video game” is hardly that. The entire purpose of the Sims is to create your own world by developing online relationships, building a home and at the end of the day…. playing house.
These games enable anyone to create an alternative of themselves. I remember in a psychology class I took a teacher made each student draw a picture of themselves. There were no instructions other than to draw what each person thought they looked like. The purpose of this assignment was to examine the unconscious behaviors of people to put more attention to certain areas of our body that we are self conscious about. Those who have a complex about being short, as researchers found in the article, had a tendency of having taller avatars.
To summarize my point, these games enable people to become whoever they want rather than facing who they are. It is a false interpretation of oneself. To those who play simply for the fun of the game, there is no harm. But for those who play to become someone else, these games become destructive to ones psyche.