Hi there! Today in class we learned about online identities. With the large variety of virtual networks that exist online, such as Second Life, Twitter and YouTube, comes the opportunity to create an online identity. Users can choose their own level of involvement, along with how they want to present themselves online. While some may convey a bolder, more outspoken version of themselves on the Internet, other users may choose to hold back and maintain a more private identity.
As we delved deeper into the concept of an identity outside of reality, several questions arose. What factors can inform someone's "identity"? Is an identity outside of reality limited to the Internet? Can one create an identity through a video game? How do all of these factors affect one's religious identity?
I feel that video games can absolutely leave an effect on one’s identity, and have further explained below:
Do religious and cultural representation in video games matter, or is it “just a game”?
It isn’t just a game. Religious and cultural representation does matter when it comes to video games. For example, in Call of Duty (American Campaign), users are assigned the role of an American soldier participating in attacks and sieges on Germany and Austria. This role could indirectly impact users’ opinions of the video game “opponents” in real life. If this is the case, then one can assume that religious and cultural references could have an impact on users as well.
How is the hero’s identity, as constructed by the game developers, significant for the player?
If it is assumed that the virtual environment of a video game, along with it’s cultural and religious representations, can influence one’s identity, then it can absolutely be concluded that the “hero”/”antagonist” in the game can leave an even more lasting influence. Gamers can develop some sort of attachment to the role they play, and may even begin to affiliate with some of the hero’s characteristics.
Can video games be used as a medium to shape or inform religious identity?
I personally feel that, to some extent, video games can be used to shape one’s religious identity. There is a plethora of games on the market containing religious themes, such as Halo, David vs. Goliath, and Mecca 3D. Whether the video game is centered around a specific religion, or simply includes religious references, users' identities can be shaped.
Thanks for reading!