Player and Avatar

The Affective Potential of Videogames

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SKU: 9781476667195 Categories: , ,

About the Book

Do you make small leaps in your chair while attempting challenging jumps in Tomb Raider? 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?
Videogames 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, thus placing them “physically” within the virtual world. Players may even identify with characters’ ideological motivations.
The author explores concepts central to the design and enjoyment of videogames—affect, immersion, liveness, presence, agency, narrative, ideology and the player’s virtual surrogate: the avatar. Gamer and avatar are analyzed as a cybernetic coupling that suggests fulfillment of Atonin Artaud’s vision of the “body without organs.”

About the Author(s)

David Owen teaches at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. He has written essays and articles on theater, digital performance and videogames in The Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds and The Canadian Theatre Review.

Matthew Wilhelm Kapell teaches American studies and humanities at Pace University and lives in Brooklyn.

Bibliographic Details

David Owen. Series Editor Matthew Wilhelm Kapell
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 240
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6719-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2942-1
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Studies in Gaming

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments  vi
Introduction  1
Chapter One. Digital Like Me  23
Chapter Two. The Gamer as Cyborg  75
Chapter Three. The Illusion of Agency in a Virtual Environment  109
Chapter Four. Winning the Hearts and Thumbs of the People  158
Chapter Notes  209
Works Cited  213
Index  223

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “An engaging book that approaches the interactions of players and video games from an interdisciplinary collection of perspectives…approachable, topical, and well sourced…recommended”—Choice
  • “The author analyzes players’ performances of narrative, affect, and identity through avatars in videogames, to explore gaming’s potential to support or subvert different political, social, and personal agendas”—ProtoView