Player and Avatar: The Affective Potential of Videogames


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Do you make small leaps in your chair while attempting challenging jumps in Tombraider ? Do you say ""Ouch!"" when a giant hits you with a club in Skyrim ? Have you had dreams of being inside the underwater city of Rapture?

Video games cast the player as protagonist in an unfolding narrative. Like actors in front of a camera, gamers' proprioception, or body awareness, can extend to onscreen characters, placing them ""physically"" within the virtual world. Sometimes players may even identify with the characters' ideological motivations. The author explores concepts central to the design and enjoyment of video games, including affect, immersion, liveness, presence, agency, narrative, ideology and the player's virtual surrogate - the avatar. Gamer and avatar are analyzed as a cybernetic coupling whose dynamics suggest a fulfillment of dramatist Atonin Artaud's vision of the ""body without organs.

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McFarland & Co Inc
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