Sponsored By

Column: 'The Esoteric Beat: Psychology of the Sim'

Today's 'The Esoteric Beat,' regular columnist Jim Rossignol's look at the esoteric side of game design, examines Standford University's Nick Yee's <a href="http://www.ne...

Frank Cifaldi, Contributor

March 7, 2006

1 Min Read

Today's 'The Esoteric Beat,' regular columnist Jim Rossignol's look at the esoteric side of game design, examines Standford University's Nick Yee's recent New Scientist article regarding the change in a player's behavior based on the physical appearance of their avatar. In this extract, Rossignol expands on Yee's research with his own thoughts: It's all tied into to how humans deal with both abstract interfaces and other intelligences. Games are often decked out with a number of very basic cues that we take for granted from the world - elements of how people look, how they react to us. Fun things are brightly coloured, evil dudes are glowing red, and so on. How things cohere as part of a world that mimics our own without actually being our own, is essential to the way in which we are predisposed to respond to them. As Yee's work shows, the experience of a game in everyone was taller and prettier than us would be quite different to a game in which we were the taller and prettier one. While playing a game you appropriate elements of that game, and your game avatar, as a facet of yourself. 'Self' is the important concept here, because gamers, like all people, have an implicit understand of self that is not fixed to that of the body. As Yee's research shows, people's selfhood is plastic, depending on a lot of external scaffolding above and beyond proprioception and personal image." You can read the full Gamasutra column, including plenty of extracts from the article (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external web sites).

About the Author(s)

Frank Cifaldi

Contributor

Frank Cifaldi is a freelance writer and contributing news editor at Gamasutra. His past credentials include being senior editor at 1UP.com, editorial director and community manager for Turner Broadcasting's GameTap games-on-demand service, and a contributing author to publications that include Edge, Wired, Nintendo Official Magazine UK and GamesIndustry.biz, among others. He can be reached at [email protected].

Daily news, dev blogs, and stories from Game Developer straight to your inbox

You May Also Like