clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

How much are we controlled by the appearance of our in-game avatar?

This episode of PBS Game/Show takes a look at how we may or may not change our behavior or biases depending on the outward appearance of our in-game avatar. That is, when there are certain things assigned to us in-game, such as things like height or even race, it may change how we think about the character to the extent that we play the game differently.

It's an interesting thought, especially since there are now fewer games that take control of your avatar's appearance away from you; we're now used to, and usually argue for, more control of how we look in a game. We ask for options to make sure we can look like as many people as possible, and we may get upset if we can't create characters that look like ourselves. Thankfully games are getting better at giving us those options, although it has, at times, felt like an uphill battle.

But the idea that our behavior changes depending on how we look in-game, and that we're dragging around our own personal baggage that we then dump on our avatar, is somewhat disturbing. We don't like to think of the ways we may have been programmed to think by the culture around us, even when it seems to impact our in-game behavior.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Patch Notes

A weekly roundup of the best things from Polygon