Monday, February 13, 2012

Who are they really? And with what group do they belong?

TL Taylor,

Your article, “Finding New Worlds” Play Between Worlds: Exploring Online Game Culture, offered a great deal of insight into the world or creating and displaying identity, by use of virtual platforms. You talk about the convention that the online users attend in person, and one point in particular that stands out to me is the woman who makes her nametag ahead of time, including her actual name along with the name that she’s given her avatar. The others in the room only wear their avatar’s name, but this particular woman has taken the extra step in trying to integrate her actual identity with her real life persona. It seems that many times, people will use virtual worlds as an escape from their given identity, and see these sites as opportunities to reinvent themselves, as they can simply hide behind their avatar.

You also talk about how the people sit and associate with one another at the convention, depending on the server they belong to in the game. Like in all facets of everyday affairs, people want to feel a sense of belonging, and that they fit into a particular niche. Though these people are not physically with each other every day, being on the same server gives them a commonality, as well as a sense that they have a home base, and place of belonging.

It used to be that what was happening in real life was documented onto the internet. But now, there’s been quite a shift, and instead, what’s happening and being created in online worlds, is coming to be reflected into real life. You talk about the “Live Quest” game, a game that takes place in the online world, and was replicated to happen in real-life, at the hotel. I see this as a prime example of this concept.

You also explore the idea that social connections are critical in an individual having a positive experience in a virtual world. You say, “As also become quickly apparent to me, social connection, collective knowledge, and group action are central to the individual’s experience.” I absolutely agree that social connections are a necessity.

The identities displayed in virtual worlds are not direct replicas of an individual’s actual identity; they may be similar, or even complete opposites. You write that you were both “benefited” and “hindered” by your character and I can absolutely see how this was the case. I completely agree with your statement that “how you choose to represent yourself has meaningful implications psychologically and socially.”

Thank you for taking the time to read my feedback.


Blaine Schoen

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