My Avatar, My Self

Identity in Video Role-Playing Games


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About the Book

With videogames now one of the world’s most popular diversions, the virtual world has increasing psychological influence on real-world players. This book examines the relationships between virtual and non-virtual identity in visual role-playing games. Utilizing James Gee’s theoretical constructs of real-world identity, virtual-world identity, and projective identity, this research shows dynamic, varying and complex relationships between the virtual avatar and the player’s sense of self and makes recommendations of terminology for future identity researchers.

About the Author(s)

Zach Waggoner has a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition from Arizona State University. He is Course Coordinator for The Writers’ Studio at Arizona State University and lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

Bibliographic Details

Zach Waggoner

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 207
Bibliographic Info: 15 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4109-9
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5409-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface       1

1. Videogames, Avatars, and Identity: A Brief History      3
2. Locating Identity in New Media Theory      21
3. Morrowind: Identity and the Hardcore Gamer      48
4. Oblivion: Identity and the Casual Gamer      98
5. Fallout 3: Identity and the Non-Gamer      128
6. Virtual and Non-Virtual Identities: Connections and Terminological Implications      158

Appendix: Transcription of Vishnu’s First Two Hours of Morrowind Gameplay      175
Chapter Notes      185
Bibliography      193
Index      199