The New York Times recently posted a video from photojournalist Robbie Cooper’s Immersion project, which shows kids playing video games. Entertainment is entertainment. I have no problem with the fact that violent video games exist and that many people enjoy them. However, I think its important that young kids aren’t exposed to violent games, like Grand Theft Auto, for example. It is great that the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) exists and assigns “Mature” ratings to the most violent titles, but parents, more importantly, have to do their job. All rantings aside, I’m a bit disturbed by Robbie Cooper’s video because the kids are so young…too young for some of the games that I assume they are playing. At the same time, the video is interesting to watch – these kids are definitely immersed. Check it out.
On the other hand, Robbie Cooper’s “Alter Ego: Avatars and their Creators,” gained a bunch of buzz last year that I took note of. The project/book is a collection of photographs of gamers alongside images of their avatars – a character that gamers design and use to represent themselves in online virtual worlds, such as World of Warcraft and Second Life.
It is fascinating to see how people choose to represent themselves online. Many select characteristics for their avatar that mimic their own in real life, but others seem to rather live vicariously through their avatars and will, for example, choose a female character even though they are male. I pulled out a couple examples from The New York Time’s Alter Ego slideshow below:
* Credit: Robbie Cooper and The New York Times