Wednesday, March 12, 2014

On Avatars

I've spent much of today editing segments for an upcoming episode of The Fangamers and, listening to some of their stories, I noticed a common thread for many of them: the use of female avatars in video games (or other gaming) being an instrument in coming to understand their identity.

That caused me to think about my own avatars and what they mean for me. I think a lot can be gleaned about someone from seeing how they present themselves in a fantasy space, but I have so many that I'm not sure what they even mean. I suppose I should explore that.

Many people intentionally create avatars as an extension of themselves. Some people create characters that look, sound, and act as close to themselves as possible, while others create characters that represent what they want to be--a tall, thin mage or a muscly warrior (or vice versa?), or whatever they might aspire to be, exploring what it's like in the shoes of such a person.

My avatars, though, are neither me, nor anything I'd say I aspire to be. They are characters, personalities I enjoy and feel familiar with. Masks, perhaps; other people I enjoy playing as for a while.

Rather than being a place I escape to when I'm uncomfortable with myself, I take on these personas to give myself a different perspective. I don't know if it's true, but I like to think that my characters come from a desire to empathize with people quite unlike myself. In other words, I'd like to think that if I can step out of myself and see through the eyes of these different people, perhaps I can do the same with most anyone and form a greater understanding of my fellow man.

I'm not sure, though.

In any case, I think I'd like to explore some of these characters of mine in depth at some point. Each one has a lot of information behind them. I was going to summarize each one here, but that's way too much ground to cover for a single blog post. Perhaps some time I'll give each one a write-up and explore what aspect of my personality might have given rise to their creation.

Here's a list, from my most-often used on downward:

  • Kirtan "Muffin" Osbaston: a stubborn and rebellious loner with a dog.
  • Champagne "Chane" Lorrens: a compassionate soul, eternally optimistic
  • Donovan Kent: a manipulator, running from a troubled past
  • Priscilla "April" Wrawr: an impatient, easily-distracted prodigy
  • Glenn Mills: a chivalrous idealist, lacking in confidence
  • Keith "Face" Lorran: a callous comedian, who finds the humor in everything
  • Riyan "West" Westerling: a calm pragmatist, suspicious of tradition
  • Arthur Cadonen: a pessimist, morbidly resigned to his fate
  • Paithan: an excitable explorer, filled with childlike wonder

Of the nine characters above, five originated as table-top roleplaying characters in one way or another.

I have other characters in my head as well, but all of those have either been cast aside as I've grown (for instance: Kyle Culex, the original Losar) or haven't yet become fully developed.


  1. I've been playing evil characters in most things lately. No idea what that says about me.

    1. Clearly you're doing research for your inevitable rise as a supervillain.