It depends on different kind of people to feel different levels of embodiment in a game play. People who can get used to the controlling way of computer play is more likely to feel embodied while they are playing games. Just like the baby start using their hands, it will take some days to use your body fluently, the same as to learn how to play with computer. But after their proficiency using the tools, it will be more approximative to feel physically and viscerally into it.
In other words, the experience of one’s body is not fixed or rigid but adaptable to the numerous tools or technologies that may be embodied. This furthers our understanding of how players form an embodied relationship with the avatar in the game world through their habitual mastery of the control device in the actual world. (Crick 2010:267) As Wood argues, ‘players with very good skills would not even notice themselves thinking about playing’. (Wood 2007: 116)
Just as what Shinkle thought, in defiance of the Cartesianesque order of things – the body responds to its environment before the conscious mind does. (Shinkle 2005:29) Our body react faster than our mind when we have connection with the things beyond our flesh. That is the reason why we could feel embodied when we are familiar with something while using it. After I overmaster my character in WOW, a fluent feeling flows me while I was playing, I could move agilely to anywhere, go to the destination on the map easily and freewheeling hide myself form enemies. The improvement of flexibility helps a lot for game experiencing, drag me into the world with no difficulties, even I won’t intensively act as some people who will deeply empathy with the avatar, I still hold a strong vinculum with my avatar. Because I should keep cautious in an alert mood in case of some dangerous hibernation around me, if anything happen, I could make sure to take actions timely.
Embodiment is characterised by a plasticity which entails that it can include both the biological limb and the ‘artificial’ tool […] [this plasticity] allows its boundary to extend beyond and retract behind the epidermal one. (May 2011-2012: n.p.n) From this experiment, it has been proved that human can work with tool successfully. Human-beings are really good at making tools and using tools, the intimate relationship cause humans make life with tools. Until now, as the high speed of the development of computer and internet, digital media took place without doubt. And with our spiritual needs increased, social media’s market won’t fade. Since the digital world is going to meet our fantasies better and better, trying to fit and actualization the supersubstantial world, it has been part of our life and live.
Remember the time when social media has swept the world, people began to be addicted into the fake world until now, it’s easy to make people forget about time because the media provide an efficient access to a wide range of opportunities for their curiosity about others life or knowledge. This is the shallow level of the embodiment in social media. To be more specific, people actually embody themselves to the media from almost everything by their behavior. If you are sending a message, discussing anything using your brain, our cogitation and willingness have already disseminated via your phone. This is almost the same results for communication, thus people will naturally embody themselves into it. For example, form an infant’s perspective, she will never know why her father talking angrily to a little box, soliloquize, with the same emotion he uses to do on a real person. She doesn’t know that the box can send voice to another person, even they can’t see each other. We combine our imagination with the media to create a new situation in our mind, even it’s not real, but it works. Because the other side of the media is another person, interactive convey accurately without obstacles. So, it’s not hard to understand why we put more emotion in the digital word.
We are so immersion to be deeply into the person we made online, and become slaves of digital media such as social media and video game. Essena O’ Neil is an example of people who lives in social media- twitter a lot, but finally she finds out it’s not a good way to live a real life. It is impossible to let the digital one live instead of us, and we have to face the real word at the very end.
As an online game, it is a great example to make people put themselves into it to be embodied with digital word. Each character could be the player’s incarnation that live another life in the new world. The digital world have their rules which are not totally different from the real world, but the principle can not break. On the other hand, virtual world is a good way to experience another place like travelling. While this communicating way also cause many side effects that always remind you about how deep you put yourself in. Many body problems will show off if you spend much time with the machine, and that is the most efficacious way to help you get away from it. The worst consequence of playing is you are gradually suicide, there are many examples about people who have to see doctors or even die because of their addiction in playing games. The extension of too much embody will influence normal life for it’s not completely fit human’s physical life. We still have to control ourselves to keep a proper distance with the fake world, though people are trying to find another way to make the digital world actualization, or make us fit with it, like the movie ‘Transcendence’, they give us a best wish to extend our spirit into the digital world.
I am clearly understand and doing it without notice that, I am deeply embodied into playing games. For instance, I don’t need to jump in the reality when I want my avatar to jump in the game world, my subconscious will lead me to press the key ‘W’ on my key board. Otherwise, I’ll make many mistakes that I tried to jump but my avatar doesn’t move. This mistake will happen on the old people or the new players who are not familiar with this kind of playing way. I’ve witness this situation several times when my grandparents were trying to play vedio games, they were trying really hard to be absorbed in the game so their emotion and the body movement will be exaggerate because they can’t full control their hand to do the right response. They would jump or move their body to one side to escape from the danger but failed to success. So often to hear about their complains: “Why I didn’t move?!” Which means there avatar didn’t move but they’ve already moved their bodies.
When someone is deeply embodied in the avatar, it could be not easy to get them back in to the reality, and might cause some problems. Even thought, we can not deny the advantages overweight the disadvantages. Here is a super warm video I’d like to recommend: Avatar Days.
Crick, T. (2010) ‘The Game Body: Toward a Phenomenology of Contemporary Video Gaming’. Games and Culture [online] 6(3), 259-269. available from <http://gac.sagepub.com/content/6/3/259.abstract> [18 Oct 2015].
May, S. (2011-2012) ‘Embodiment, Transparency and the Disclosiveness of Failure’ Body, Space & Technology Journal [online] 11. available from <http://people.brunel.ac.uk/bst/vol11/shaunmay/home.html> [17 Oct 2015].
Shinkle, E. (2005) ‘Corporealis ergo sum: affective response in digital games’ in Digital gameplay: essays on the nexus of game and gamer. ed. by Garrelts, N. Jefferson: McFarland & Company, 21-35.
Wood, A. (2007) Digital encounters. London: Routledge.