AVATARS AS GHOSTS IN MMORPG

Kaylee Payne Kruzan, Tim Appigani, Indira Neill Hoch

Abstract


As the adoption rate of new media technologies grows ever faster, possibilities for self expression and virtual identity formation increase. While much is said about the prevalence of our lives online, little research to date considers that mortality on equal terms to the lives we live offline. Informed by theories from existential psychology (Becker, 1973) and communication (Peters, 1999), our research considers the ways in which avatars created for virtual gaming environments capture the essence of their creators and live on inside the game environment by mirroring the features of what in popular culture might be called ghosts. Given that avatars become central features of the game world, our work likens the ghost-like avatar presence to the dynamics of hauntings in popular literature.


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