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Alter Ego: Avatars and their Creators Hardcover – 18 Jun 2007

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 140 pages
  • Publisher: Chris Boot; 01 edition (18 Jun. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905712022
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905712021
  • Product Dimensions: 30.7 x 16.1 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 757,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book! Really interesting to see avatar & adult player photograghed along side each other.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 4.7 out of 5 stars 10 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars People worth meeting 15 May 2009
By 1MarbleMissing - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I received this book I thought I could just do a quick glance through it then off to bed. Oh well, I don't usually have this much fun being wrong, so that is one good thing. If you have any dealings with mmorpg gaming, the pictures alone make the book worth having. However, even if you don't, the bios and essays with each catch your interest and may even draw you into the virtual universe. Some are just fun to see, such as the 4 women who have been friends since middle school and are women warriors online. Some make you realize that all the hype in the world can't adequately demonstrate the importance of the venue to some. In particular the photos of people with handicaps and their online personalities tied with their bios and essays. Those are not mere pathos. Look closely, and you will see their personalities shining through. And some are just amazing in the imaginations of the players. One even made me do a double take. The real life image looked as if it came from the movie "The Matrix", making the avatar look "more real" at first glance. In all, it is a lot of fun and may even kick start your own creativity.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Coffee table book for a gamer or digital culture scholar! 18 Dec. 2007
By Jill Walker Rettberg - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What fun this book is! The front cover is a "hologram" just like on the covers of some of the books I had as a kid in the seventies, where moving your head a little morphs the photo of two World of Warcraft avatars into a photo of the couple who play them. The entire book is devoted to photos of avatars alongside their players, with brief facts given about each player and avatar. A perfect coffee table book for a gamer or digital culture scholar!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All that we see or seem... 19 Jan. 2011
A Kid's Review - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Beyond the cool lenticular cover, showing a virtual WoW couple and their RL human counterparts, this book's first "alter ego" is an avatarless Arch-Wizard: Richard Bartle - he who helped start it all, with his work on the creation of MUDs. I love this book even more for his inclusion. (A whole generation of gamers missed out on MUDs; what a shame...)

If anything, I was surprised at the lack of balance. Of the 60 avatars, 16 come from Second Life, 9 each from City of Heroes and the Lineage games, 6 from World of Warcraft, and 5 from the Everquest games, with the remainder made up in ones and twos. Perhaps the author and photographers had difficulty in finding people willing to be exposed this way - shining the light of day onto the fantasy of online roleplay.

It was interesting to see how peoples' avatars differed (or not!) from their physical person. The people themselves are from all over the world, from the gold farmer in China to the superheroine in Greece to the wheelchair-bound Star Wars rifleman in Texas. Their jobs are just as diverse: a housewife, a butcher, a model, an IT consultant, and of course, students. I found it very interesting to hear what brought these individuals to their games, what it means to them to play. I heard echoes of some of my own reasons. Whatever the game, whatever the server, whatever the country: we gather and play online. (My game is WoW, with toons on several servers.)
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars from 17 July 2009
By Miss Print - Published on
Format: Hardcover
At first glance, Robbie Cooper's Alter Ego: Avatar and Their Creators (2007) is fundamentally a coffee table book: large, non-standard size, glossy photos, high quality paper, and a really interesting topic. But it's also more than that.

With the unprecedented popularity of massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG) like Second Life and World of Warcraft, avatars--the customized, computerized virtual characters that move around a computer game when you move your mouse or type on the keyboard--are a big deal. They're not only how a player interacts with a given game interface, they are also how a player presents themselves to that game.

For that reason, avatars also become a part of a player's life--sometimes simply to enable gameplay but also often in very meaningful ways unrelated to the game per se. The chosen title of this book, Alter Ego, points out that fact very well. These are characters that players alter for various reasons. Some to adopt a persona more accurate than a physical appearance could ever be. Others to create a virtual version of themselves down to the smallest detail. At the same time, avatars also can become an alternative personality.

In this book Cooper has collected photographs of real people and the avatars they have created for themselves. The book also provides vital statistics (who they are, where they live, game played, etc.). Each person interviewed also explains, in their own words, the thought process that went into making their avatar and what it (and online role play gaming in general) means to their lives.

The book and its range of subjects is fascinating. Senior citizens in a nursing home, a disabled young man, teens, drag queens, actors, entrepreneurs, and regular people are all represented in this book. And they all have an avatar.

No one really knows what the implications of increased online socialization will be yet. But in a time where more and more time is spent online, Alter Ego shows that there is a lot more to gaming than mashing a few buttons.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gamers, Blood Elves Mug for the Camera 14 Aug. 2007
By Samuel Claiborn - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Upon first discovering 'Alter Ego,' it's difficult avoid the feeling that you should have thought of the idea first: a book that pairs photos of people with their images of their avatars. It's not condescending, exploitative or academic--Cooper's images are presented factually, at face value and show that MMO gamers cannot be classified as geeks or otherwise. In fact, the diversity of subjects, both real and in-game, is the book's most enjoyable aspect. 'Alter Ego' may not attempt to engage the somewhat ridiculous debate regarding games as art, but it's depictions of elaborate avatars does prove definitively that gamers can be artists.
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