Virtual Identity Essay

3139 words - 13 pages

When it comes to playing video games online almost everybody creates a new persona for themselves. That usually includes a new name as well which is usually known as a gamertag, except for those rare few who use their real world names sometimes even full names as their gamertags. But gamertags could almost be defined as gamer's alter egos, their virtual identities. They can be used as a tool in which they can express themselves outside of their usual real world comfort zones. "Some would argue that virtual identity is a truer reflection of self than someone's image in the real world." (Chan) While that's not true for everyone in some cases it seems like a very real possibility that what gamers are portraying online is nothing compared to whom they actually are.I myself go by Seyss or Erik Seyss in games that warrant a full name. It comes from a book tape that I listened to with my mother during middle school, the book was called The Runner. For some reason even though Erich (how it's spelled in the book) was the villain of the story the name stuck. Seyss has been a part of me ever since I was 12 when I first really got into online gaming. I have truly realized that when I go online under that name I act very much like myself but at the same time an entirely different person. It's exciting actually to take on this sometimes completely fictional role, and things heat up even more in games with a role-playing environment. Entire life stories are sometimes created just for characters descriptionsAlthough inhabitants of virtual environments tend to put on a façade for other residents they are in a way expressing a deep down part of their character. While it may not be true for everyone it is the case for many. For those where it is true, their expressions are not always positive and can sometimes display sides of people nobody should ever see. It's hard because to discuss virtual identities you cannot only look at video games, you need to look at all virtual worlds. Humans are not only creating identities for themselves in video games but in every nook and cranny that the internet has to offer.A problem occurs though due to the private nature of the internet some use their identities to wreak havoc that they would never dare to in the real world. 4chan is a perfect example where internet anonymity can be used for negative purposes. It can be likened to a breeding ground for up and coming hackers. But not every user on the website is up to no good, actually the most common user is there for a good laugh. Due to the sites 100% user anonymity it can be hard to tell identify separate users and their intentions.Not only that, in games like Second Life where real world money can be used as currency people can use their anonymity to commit heinous acts. Even the United States government is starting to become wary. "US intelligence officials are growing increasingly wary of Second Life and other virtual worlds, which they say could soon become havens...

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