VR and inhabiting someone else's body

Level 7 Dragon

Typo Kign
Mar 29, 2011
609
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Salute, Escapist

Remember the backlash when Rust first introduced randomly assinged races and sexes that were tied to the user's Steam ID? While a significant portion of the player base were indifferent, there was a good chunk of the community that were unfortable in playing a game with a character that is very different from them. Even the more diplomatic users claimed that it took a while for them to adjust to their new "shells".

There have been plenty of studies of how character customization and virtual avatars affect the human psyche (google "Proteous effect"). I have a hypothesis that this effect might be aplified in VR because of the enhansed immersion. Imagine looking down and seeing a body that is different to your own in build, skin colour or sex. So far this has been used to treat real conditions such as PTSD and Phantom Pain and as experimental method for sensitivity training.

This got me thinking, do you imagine dropping a game because you are forced to play a character who's body you don't like from a VR perspective? Certainly, the tech isn't quite there yet, but it's fun to speculate.
 

tippy2k2

Beloved Tyrant
Legacy
Mar 15, 2008
14,206
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Well I suppose we all know what the first day will look like...



As to the question, I think that would be at the very least an interesting thing to study. I'm not sure how much it would help people who are racist/sexist change their mind since racism/sexism isn't exactly logical but I think that people who are open or curious to the experience of others would benefit greatly from it. You can get that kind of experience outside of VR but like many other activities in gaming, VR could be a way to enhance that experience.

For example, many people have talked about how The Walking Dead helped them understand race just a little bit better since the main character was black and people did seem to treat you different because of it.
 

Superlative

New member
May 14, 2012
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Context is king in this case @level7Dragon, and just to situate my response, I am a 6'3, heavy built, black guy irl.


If the form I am stuck taking puts me at a disadvantage I may drop the game. I don't have a problem playing as a different race, gender or body type, but I have a huge problem with being unfairly gimped. If I get stuck playing a 10 year old or a blind person in the zombie apocalypse without being able to reroll I'd drop. I don't mind having boobs, or being short (I actually prefer gnomes in pathfinder) but I do mind not being able to fight on an even playing field.

Along with that, if harassment is an issue I'd leave even if the game itself is great. I don't have much tolerance for the N-word being hurled at me or crude jokes IRL so I'm for damn sure not dealing with it in a game.

TL;DR as long as I'm not nerfed or harassed I don't care.
 

DrownedAmmet

Senior Member
Apr 13, 2015
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This is the one thing that I look forward to the most for VR gaming. I've been a skinny dude my whole life, and I've often wondered what it would feel like to be fat. If they make a fat guy simulator it would be a system seller for me.
 

Level 7 Dragon

Typo Kign
Mar 29, 2011
609
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Superlative said:
Context is king in this case @level7Dragon, and just to situate my response, I am a 6'3, heavy built, black guy irl.


If the form I am stuck taking puts me at a disadvantage I may drop the game. I don't have a problem playing as a different race, gender or body type, but I have a huge problem with being unfairly gimped. If I get stuck playing a 10 year old or a blind person in the zombie apocalypse without being able to reroll I'd drop. I don't mind having boobs, or being short (I actually prefer gnomes in pathfinder) but I do mind not being able to fight on an even playing field.

Along with that, if harassment is an issue I'd leave even if the game itself is great. I don't have much tolerance for the N-word being hurled at me or crude jokes IRL so I'm for damn sure not dealing with it in a game.

TL;DR as long as I'm not nerfed or harassed I don't care.
Speaking of Rust. I've read that there was supposibly a spike in harrasment in Rust following the skin colour/sex update. Garry Newman was asked to neurtalize the situation. He politely refused. Afterwards he stated that he didn't take away people's choise, like in real life, they never had a choise to begin with.

Gamers and critics still debate his decision, though most agree that this made people who are otherwise in a socially comfortable position expirience harrasment that other groups deal on a daily basis.

I'm all for building empathy, though I would't want players have slurs thrown at them because of the avatar they are inhabiting.
 
Apr 24, 2008
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I'm very OK with playing characters that don't resemble me. I actually make them habitually. The thing is... I REALLY like to make them.

I'm the dork that spend half an hour+ on the character creation screen making the character I want to play as. I've never played rust, but the idea that a game has a set of tools for character creation that is gated to me kinda pisses me off. I like choice.