In an increasingly virtual world, new identities that exist only in cyberspace are being created. Historically rooted, role-playing has been popular long before Shakespeare, and starting in the early 1990s, has moved into the computer. Now more than ever, it serves as a form of entertainment, escape and self-exploration to hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. In interactive, text-based computer games that are designed to represent fantasy worlds, players become authors not only of text but of themselves, constructing new selves through social interaction. On a MUD (Multi User Domain) game, places and selves are completely constructed through text. Thus, the short can be tall, the plain beautiful and the shy extroverted. "The anonymity of a MUD one is known on the MUD only by the name of one's character or character's gives people the chance to express multiple and often unexplored aspects of the self to play with their identity and to try out new ones. In MUDs one can be many." (Turkle, 10) Simulted Selves brings selected characters out of the computer and onto the printed canvas, further mixing fantasy and reality through artistic interpretation. Standing between the boundary of real and virtual, new cultures of simulations become active. Through inhabiting the virtual and the real simultaneously, questions of how to achieve a better sense of ourselves by accessing our perhaps repressed multiple identities is evident. And the possible risk of losing reality in the process is undeniable. However complex the individual outcome, life on the screen is for many, more exciting, compelling and fulfilling than real life. By articulating the boundary between real life (RL) identities and existence on a MUD, the very concept of postmodern identity acquires new meaning.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Multi-user dungeons--Design; Fantasy games--Design; Computer games--Design
Department, Program, or Center
School of Photographic Arts and Sciences (CIAS)
Gentry, Erika, "Simulated selves" (2003). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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