Controlling vs “Being” Your Video Game Avatar | Idea Channel | PBS Digital Studios

Do you control or *are* you your video game avatar?

Avatars have increased in complexity over the years, from paddles and Pacman to highly rendered and human-like beings and first-person floating cameras. Whatever your avatar is, it is consistently a TOOL, a way for you to engage with the videogame world. But are you merely controlling it or ARE YOU your avatar? This is an important question because if a player truly feels that their avatar embodies them, we might have to think differently about what our moral and ethical obligations as videogames present us with a plenty of uncomfortable and moral choices. So are you really controlling your avatar? Watch the episode to find out!

Check out Jamin Warren’s GameShow episode about Gender Swapping in Videogames!

Links and Sources:

Wired Article

Gamespot’s Reality Check:

Problem Machine

Gonzalo Frasca:

Extra Credits:


“Europe” by Roglok (

“Carry on Carillon” by Roglok (

Level 5: Room for the Homeless

“Bouncy Castle” by Roglok (

“:P” by Roglok (

Binaerpilot “Geeks”
“Squarehead” by Roglok (

Outsider “Explore”

StatueofDiveo “Final Days”

Chiptune – Kenzalol



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Want some more Idea Channel?

Here’s Last Week’s episode: “Did Horse_ebooks Show Us that SPAM is the Web’s Native Artform?”

Want another one? Here ya go: “Can You Actually Enjoy Breaking Bad?”

Here’s some more: “Is There An Introvert Craze Because of Technology?”

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