Friday, March 17, 2006

avatars

the avatar dressing and modifying - seems to be an important part of the game for the students.

Yet - some are finding that they want their avatar to look like them as much as possible. That was their first assignment and they didn't like it at hte time. Now they have total freedom with how they look. They tried out different hair and skin color and clothes and shapes - it was overwhelming for some of them with all the choices. Then they're slowly going back to the original look.

I wonder how true that is overall. If the people flying around in Jedi soldier uniforms or pikachu costumes are relatively new and over time they slowly change back to normal too.

And then do people stop playing? Once the character is "normal looking" - is the excitement of the game over?

That's the question for the rest of the semester...

1 comment:

Aldo Stern said...

"I wonder how true that is overall. If the people flying around in Jedi soldier uniforms or pikachu costumes are relatively new and over time they slowly change back to normal too."

That's a good question Kim. I think many people do experiment for a period and then settle into an avatar or avatars they are comfortable with. However, it's not necesarily an iusse of "normal". For many people that may mean settling in as wood sprite wih wings, a furry, a vampire, an elven warrior, a Gorean Taluna huntress, or yes, sometimes an avatar that looks a bit like their rl self--or perhaps what they wish their rl self looked like.

To some extent I have seen this process be affected by the other games they have played--it is not unusual for some one who played TSO, for example, to make their initial SL avies appear similar to what they had there. I know that was how I started out until one of my friends who also had come over from TSO pointed out, "dude, you have the ability to be whatever you want here? why are you doing the same old thing?" At the time he was in the form of an oompaloompa, and there is something startling about getting fashion advice from one of Willy Wonka's minions (classic Gene Wilder movie version). Now, over a year or so later, the avatar I most commonly use is a tall thin fellow a thick beard and Maori tatoos, that in some contexts would be considered "normal", but in most phases of my life certainly would not be so. He is, however, what I have come to comfortable with in wandering SL.

Part of what is at work here is, I think, that it takes a while for most people to get comfortable just being in SL, let alone comfortable with a particular avatar. Part of what makes that happen seems to be tied up with each individual determining what their role is in the overall society of the platform or one of its sub-cultures. Have your students begun evolving a sense of what their roles in this society might be?