The avatar and the player: Understanding the relationship beyond the screen

A. Gazzard

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

17 Citations (Scopus)
219 Downloads (Pure)


This paper looks at the concept of the avatar in terms of our interaction and viewpoints. It proposes a vocabulary of terms which analytically describe the player: avatar relationship as opposed to the player: screen relationship, emphasising the performative rather than the representational elements. In place of transposing cinematographic concepts such as first person' or 'third person' to the discussion of avatars, as has been the case in the past, the paper proposes the idea of the 'altered positions' of the avatar, whether that be playing 'within' the character' or 'outside' of the character. These concepts link to the avatarial display and avatarial presence of a game character and emphasise how the various 'positions' effect our movements and experience within the game world, and help us understand how we, as players, are 'performing' through our avatars, engaging in and enjoying a player->controller->avatar experience that is essentially aesthetic and emotional.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of Conference in Games and Virtual Worlds for Serious Applications, 2009.
Subtitle of host publicationVS-GAMES '09
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)978-0-7695-3588-3
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventVS-GAMES '09 - Coventry, United Kingdom
Duration: 23 Mar 200924 Mar 2009


ConferenceVS-GAMES '09
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • avatars
  • presence
  • display
  • altered positions
  • games


Dive into the research topics of 'The avatar and the player: Understanding the relationship beyond the screen'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this