Of Avatars and Self-Inserts

Double Jump Kris MiiOne month down… Eleven to go! I hope everyone’s January went as well as it could as we start to head into February.

With every new year comes another chance for people to better themselves and to plan where they want to be in the future. Many people vow to better themselves, to give up bad habits, to help friends and strangers alike… Almost as if one was playing the hero in a video game.

One of the best aspects of playing video games is picturing yourself as the hero. As the player, you control the main character, the avatar, throughout the adventure. Everything hinges on your decisions, your actions, your choices, but more often than not, the avatar has his or her own name and destiny in the world. You’re just a person behind the screen tagging along for the ride.

Many video games take this one step further by allowing the players to recreate themselves in the video game’s world as an avatar character. Sure, plenty of games let you customize the main character’s name, but a few even give you your own character to not only help influence the game but to also form deeper connections with the game characters.

Our Sims 4 Selves!

The Sims franchise lets you take this to a whole other level, of course, allowing you to create whoever you want and make them live out their life however you want. It’s the ultimate God Mode.

With the two latest generations, the Pokemon games have been allowing players to choose different skin tones, hair and eye colors, and entire outfits for their avatar. The Fire Emblem games Awakening and the Fates trio also have you customize your character, including some choices for battle stats and plenty of class options, to be the pinnacle character of the games themselves. While Fire Emblem: The Blazing Sword also gave you an avatar character, it definitely wasn’t as interactive as actually being a character on the field of battle.

With Virtual Reality on the rise, players can be more immersed than ever in video games. It’ll definitely be interesting to see how VR will play out — imagine a VR Pokemon or Fire Emblem game!

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2 thoughts on “Of Avatars and Self-Inserts

  1. I have to admit that I didn’t care much about customizable avatars much until recent years. Now that you can get really specific with looks and parameters, I find it fun to use an avatar. The only downside is sometimes it means that your character doesn’t get as much development. I like the occasions when it does, such as in recent Fire Emblem, where your avatar is a part of the story and can even talk to others.

    • Yes, sometimes your character tends to get left in the dust in terms of development because it needs to follow a certain script, but I love the games that gives you a bit more freedom. It feels more immersive. I always had enjoyed those “Choose Your Own Adventure” kind of stories as a kid, and to be able to have some freedom in the outcome of a story or video game is fascinating to me. It’s one reason why I’m looking forward to playing Batman: The Telltale Series.

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