Show Less
Restricted access

Avatar, Assembled

The Social and Technical Anatomy of Digital Bodies


Edited By Jaime Banks

Avatar, Assembled is a curated volume that unpacks videogame and virtual world avatars—not as a monolithic phenomenon (as they are usually framed) but as sociotechnical assemblages, pieced together from social (human-like) features like voice and gesture to technical (machine-like) features like graphics and glitches. Each chapter accounts for the empirical, theoretical, technical, and popular understandings of these avatar "components"—60 in total—altogether offering a nuanced explication of avatars-as-assemblages as they matter in contemporary society and in individual experience. The volume is a "crossover" piece in that, while it delves into complex ideas, it is written in a way that will be accessible and interesting to students, researchers, designers, and practitioners alike.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Chapter Seventeen: Achievements & Levels: Building Affirmational Resources (John A. Velez)


| 169 →


Achievements & Levels

Building Affirmational Resources


Even occasional gamers can recall moments of pure excitement after beating a videogame challenge—the thrill of colors flashing, points racking up, or an inventory overflowing. A game’s ability to evoke those feelings of elation after finally overcoming a seemingly insurmountable challenge determines its place among gaming classics. Super Mario Bros. (1985), for example, provides a mix of excitement, relief, and pride after the final jump in a series of improbable leaps to reach the flagpole. The fruit of these achievements, broadly defined here as rewards for completing or making significant progress toward a goal, almost always manifests through a change in an avatar’s appearance, a medal added to an avatar’s trophy room, or a piece of loot dropped into an avatar’s item slot. The various types of achievements earned by players can take on different meanings as they define a game’s experiences and shape players’ memories. In this way, achievements accumulated across avatars and their games are frequently imbued with unique memories and feelings (Wulf, 2016).

Often these achievement-related feelings and experiences come in handy when we are not feeling like our usual selves. For example, beating other racers in Mario Kart Wii (2008) can relieve a bad mood by simply distracting you from its cause (Rieger, Wulf, Kneer, Frishchlich, & Bente, 2014). Bad moods, however, come in all shapes and sizes—a...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.