Untitled Document
Not a member yet? Register for full benefits!

 Virtual gamers reveal themselves

This story is from the category Life
Printer Friendly Version
Email to a Friend (currently Down)



Date posted: 07/10/2004

A "real-life" photography exhibition at the Proud Gallery in London from 8 to 28 October this year, allows people to 'step offline' with their virtual identities, showcasting for the first time how people play with identities in online environments.

Photo-journalist Robbie Cooper wanted to see if people's real lives were echoed in their digital alter egos in role-playing environments.

"It seemed really fascinating that there were people interacting in these environments and getting to know each other through avatars," Mr Cooper explained.

Concentrating on multi-player online role-playing games (MMORPGs), the exhibition looks at the millions of people who 'play' in these complex social enviironments - games which are evolving beyond the meaniong of the word 'game'.

"Technologically-mediated interaction is made out to be dehumanising and unnatural, and I think that is maybe a bit exaggerated," said Mr Cooper.

The self-images that people create vary, but most show that there is an echo of the person in the avatar.

The more control players have over how the avatar looks, the more there is some sort of reflection of the real person.

"It is quite a subjective thing, putting together a likeness. Your real life is bound to be reflected in it."

But those echoes are not necessarily physical. They are usually taken from aspects of a person's personality rather than the appearance of the physical form. After all, virtual realities are alternate realities - a way to escape the constraints of the physical, so the best place to lose aspects of the physical that are really unwanted.

One woman he photographed is a full-time mother with two young children. Chalmaine looks just like any other busy parent. Online, her life could not be more different.

"She plays Jova Song, this character that hardly has any, or few, clothes on. She was playing a second life in a 3D chatroom where the competitive element has been removed.

The exhibition, sponsored by Sony PlayStation, also features gamers like Jason.

He has muscular dystrophy, is wheelchair-bound, and breathes with the aid of a respirator. Online, in the game Star Wars Galaxies, he is Boba Fett-like. Swathed in silvery armour, with his face obscured, he is the masked epitome of strength.

See the full Story via external site: news.bbc.co.uk

Most recent stories in this category (Life):

17/09/2014: Do wearable lifestyle activity monitors really work?

25/08/2014: In our digital world, are young people losing the ability to read emotions?

05/08/2014: A little video game-playing linked with better-adjusted children

29/07/2014: Wireless home automation systems reveal more than you would think about user behaviour

13/05/2014: US Navy releases 'stealth' e-reader for sailors

06/05/2014: Study shows lower verbal test score for toddlers who play non-educational games on touch screens

08/04/2014: Feelings of Failure, Not Violent Content, Foster Aggression in Video Gamers

05/04/2014: Intelligent Warning Systems May Make “Dilemma Zone” Safer