Journal article

(Re-)Orienting the Video Game Avatar

Lars de Wildt, Thomas H Apperley, Justin Clemens, Robbie Fordyce, Souvik Mukherjee

Games and Culture | SAGE Publications | Published : 2019


This article explores the cultural appropriation of the term avatar by Western tech culture and what this implies for scholarship of digital games, virtual worlds, social media, and digital cultures. The term has roots in the religious tradition of the Indian subcontinent and was subsequently imported into video game terminology during a period of widespread appropriation of Eastern culture by Californian tech industries. We argue that the use of the term was not a case of happenstance but a signaling of the potential for computing to offer a mystical or enchanted perspective within an otherwise secular world. This suggests that the concept is useful in game cultures precisely because it pla..

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University of Melbourne Researchers