Gaming: A Slightly Altered Version of the Real World

The word and title “gamer” has become so much more prevalent in our technological world today, and it is not exclusive to teenagers. Some player demographics follow: The average age of MMORPG players is approximately 26 years old; 25% of MMORPG players are teenagers; 50% of MMORPG players work full time; 36% of players are married and 22% have children (The Daedalus Project). I never knew how diverse the players in the gaming world are. It was also found that both younger and older MMORPG players spend 22 hours a week in these gaming environments, and that 80% play with someone that they know on a regular basis (The Daedalus Project). It seems as though MMORPGs are like social media sites in that they are social environments where new relationships are created and current ones are reinforced.

Gamers all relate to their avatars differently. For some, the avatar represents a “projection or idealization of their own identity, while for others, the avatar is an experiment with new identities. There are also those for whom the avatar is merely a pawn – the means for an end. These differences actually fall along personality differences” (The Daedalus Project). Being an introvert myself, I can relate to the fact that introverted players are more likely to create their characters around idealizations of themselves while extroverts like to experiment with new identities.

From what I see, what it comes down to is that when we have a choice, we want to build a better version of ourselves. Of course, it’s all related to how immersed we are in the game, how much we enjoy it, and how much we relate to our avatar, which in turn creates a more interactive and connected environment. Then, we behave in a way that we perceive our avatar identity. Those with attractive and taller avatars embody more confidence, unlike those with uglier and shorter avatars. In the gaming world, “we first make an observation about our avatar, infer something about our character, and then continue to act according to our perceived expectations” (Edge). We conform to image. The avatar we choose reflects something about ourselves, and also unconsciously affects how we behave. But isn’t that how it is for every social media website? For example, is our Facebook profile merely an avatar of ourselves? It’s an interesting concept to think about.

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