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It's this dilemma that sent LBP fan and Media Molecule forum poster, TeaBaG, on a mission to create his own avatar from scratch. His customized pumpkin head real-life Sackboy looks identical to the one he created in the game. To see some before and after pics, and to find out what materials he used to make his avatar, just read more.
The webapp Turn Your Name Into a Face is pretty self-explanatory: you type your name into the only field on the page, and it gives you a super-pixelated avatar. Different name, different avatar. Yes, that's all it does.
Lame? Boring? I challenge you to open it up and not start compulsively typing in every name you can think of. You're no better than the machine.
And this is when a videogame obsession becomes a problem: A woman in Japan, who was a fan of the virtual reality game Maple Story, was angry that her virtual husband in the game virtually divorced her, so she killed him. Virtually.
While she's obviously not being charged with murder, she is in hot water for illegally accessing his computer to kill her victim's character, which could be a penalty of five years in prison. Proof that breaking up is always hard to do, even if you have never even met the person.
Naturally, I spend a lot of time playing video games and visiting websites that use avatars. I think of them as digital characters, that are human-like, but not necessarily reflective of what I think real people should look like. Aside from cracking a few jokes about the impossible curves of video game vixens - I mean, the Fantastic Four game even put Jessica Alba's body to shame - and the built-in stereotyping, I hardly ever pay attention to avatars.
What's interesting though, is the fact that a recent study showed that androgynous digital personas, ie avatars, are perceived as less trustworthy than ones that are clearly either male or female. It makes me wonder if people honestly find the need to assign gender roles to digital images, or if people are just more accustomed to the exaggerated gender stereotypes that seem to be perpetuated online. According to New Scientist Tech, people typically extend this impression to the person behind the avatar too - meaning avatar design and behavior may have a range of unforeseen psychological influences and that such virtual personas need to be carefully designed to make the right impression.
The issue of trust and personality perception is especially intriguing when you think about the number of people that spend a great deal of time in 3D virtual worlds like Second Life and end up creating avatars to represent themselves and later make virtual friends. Still, not "trusting" an avatar because it's androgynous seems bizarre. Everyone trusts David Bowie, right?
No this isn't a post about America's next top avatars contest, but it is about the model-like beauties of Second Life. Based on Andy Warhol's short films: 13 Most Beautiful Women and 13 Most Beautiful Boys comes a serious of canvas mounted portrait prints by the Italian artists Eva and Franco Mattes. Actual Second Lifers originally created these creative avatars. What are your thoughts? Do they scream beautiful in a virtual, digitally enhanced sorta way? Leave your comments below.
[via play-girlz] Want to know more about Play-Girlz's co-editor Ingrid Diaz? Check out my Geeky Girls We Love interview with her.