Chapter 3

Representation, Customization, and Transformation

One of the most commonly discussed issues concerning virtual characters relates to audience identity. Given the once widely held view that gamers are typically young males, it is not surprising that the identity of game players has emerged as a key topic for game studies. And when we look at games today, it is clear that there are issues of identity representation. It doesn’t take a thorough analysis to establish that white male characters are by far the most common lead characters in games, that female characters are more typically presented in supporting roles or as characters to be saved, and that nonwhite characters are underrepresented and rarely placed in player control. But this ...

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