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Hiding or Priding? A Study of Gender, Race, and Gamer Status and Context on Avatar Selection
Unformatted Document Text:  GENDER, RACE, GAMING, AND AVATAR SELECTION 9 different avatar selection choices. Researchers found that users who selected avatars for dating made ones that were more attractive (Vasalou & Joinson, 2009). Users who selected avatars for gaming made ones that accentuated attributes that would be advantageous for the game, such as intelligence. Oddly, all users felt their avatars really reflected their actual self. So even when selecting alter-self avatars, users seem to be convinced of similarities with themselves. Thus, traditional self-report measures of similarity between a participant and their avatar may yield limited or non-existent results. Game Context Single-player games. Computer gaming dates as far back as 1947, the year the Cathode- Ray Tube Amusement Device was patented (Vaughn-Nichols, 2009). In fact, during the 1950s, board game simulations were among the first uses for computers beyond calculations. Games included checkers, Nim, and a tic-tac-toe simulator called OXO (Jorgensen, 2009). Some have called OXO, developed by a British doctoral student for a 1952 thesis, the first true video game (Vaughn-Nichols, 2009). These first games were “single-player” games, meaning users play solo against the computer. This is contrasted against multiplayer games that allow more than one user to play the game at a time (Nieborg, 2006). The first mass-produced video games began to roll out roughly 20 years after OXO, with Computer Space in 1971 and Atari’s first hit, Pong, in 1972 (Vaughn-Nichols, 2009). These games allowed for both single-player modes and a type of multi-player mode commonly referred to as “player versus player” or “PvP” (Ducheneaut, Yee, Nickell, & Moore, 2006b). In this mode, players play against one another as opposed to in tandem. Yee (2006) delineated three distinct video gaming paradigms based primarily on their social interactivity. The first two of these paradigms typically fall within the category of single-

Authors: Dunn, Robert. and Guadagno, Rosanna.
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GENDER, RACE, GAMING, AND AVATAR SELECTION                                                     9
different avatar selection choices. Researchers found that users who selected avatars for dating 
made ones that were more attractive (Vasalou & Joinson, 2009). Users who selected avatars for 
gaming made ones that accentuated attributes that would be advantageous for the game, such as 
intelligence. Oddly, all users felt their avatars really reflected their actual self. So even when 
selecting alter-self avatars, users seem to be convinced of similarities with themselves. Thus, 
traditional self-report measures of similarity between a participant and their avatar may yield 
limited or non-existent results.
Game Context
 Single-player games. Computer gaming dates as far back as 1947, the year the Cathode-
Ray Tube Amusement Device was patented (Vaughn-Nichols, 2009). In fact, during the 1950s, 
board game simulations were among the first uses for computers beyond calculations. Games 
included checkers, Nim, and a tic-tac-toe simulator called OXO (Jorgensen, 2009). Some have 
called OXO, developed by a British doctoral student for a 1952 thesis, the first true video game 
(Vaughn-Nichols, 2009). These first games were “single-player” games, meaning users play solo 
against the computer. This is contrasted against multiplayer games that allow more than one user 
to play the game at a time (Nieborg, 2006). The first mass-produced video games began to roll 
out roughly 20 years after OXO, with Computer Space in 1971 and Atari’s  first hit, Pong, in 
1972 (Vaughn-Nichols, 2009). These games allowed for both single-player modes and a type of 
multi-player mode commonly referred to as “player versus player” or “PvP” (Ducheneaut, Yee, 
Nickell, & Moore, 2006b). In this mode, players play against one another as opposed to in 
tandem.
 
Yee (2006) delineated three distinct video gaming paradigms based primarily on their 
social interactivity. The first two of these paradigms typically fall within the category of single-


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