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Alter Ego: Avatars and their creators Hardcover – June 30, 2009


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About the Author

Robbie Cooper was born in 1969 in London and studied photography at Bournemouth College of Art. He won the Ian Parry scholarship in 1992 for his work in Somalia and has been been widely published, including in Liberation, The Sunday Times Magazine, Geo, GQ and Esquire. His work has been exhibited at galleries in London, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Berlin and Paris.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 140 pages
  • Publisher: Chris Boot (June 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905712022
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905712021
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.7 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,310,695 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 10 customer reviews
I bought an extra copy of Alter Ego for my nephew since he will soon be playing MMOs.
P. Goyarts
"Alter Ego" is a clever, fascinating idea... presented very well with Cooper's photographs and the short bios by Spaight.
K. Chu
I thought it would be just a nice topical coffee table book, but it is way more compelling than I expected.
xianatro

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By K. Chu on June 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
"Alter Ego" is a clever, fascinating idea... presented very well with Cooper's photographs and the short bios by Spaight. It's an awesome coffee table type of book that my friends always pick up first. It sometimes surprises me that there are still a lot of people who are totally unaware of the virtual world phenomenon/culture, so this book is a eye-opening introduction to all that.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Samuel Claiborn on August 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Upon first discovering 'Alter Ego,' it's difficult avoid the feeling that you should have thought of the idea first: a book that pairs photos of people with their images of their avatars. It's not condescending, exploitative or academic--Cooper's images are presented factually, at face value and show that MMO gamers cannot be classified as geeks or otherwise. In fact, the diversity of subjects, both real and in-game, is the book's most enjoyable aspect. 'Alter Ego' may not attempt to engage the somewhat ridiculous debate regarding games as art, but it's depictions of elaborate avatars does prove definitively that gamers can be artists.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By xianatro on August 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I thought it would be just a nice topical coffee table book, but it is way more compelling than I expected. The layout and form is quite unique. A precious work of art. Each pair of pages a jewel. There is a photo of each user on one side and image of their avatar on the facing page. But it's the couple of paragraphs in each of the users own words that wouldn't let me put the book down. Just amazing the various types of relationships these people have with their avatars. My favorite quote: "I used to be a satanic priest, but now I have a girlfriend."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jill Walker Rettberg on December 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What fun this book is! The front cover is a "hologram" just like on the covers of some of the books I had as a kid in the seventies, where moving your head a little morphs the photo of two World of Warcraft avatars into a photo of the couple who play them. The entire book is devoted to photos of avatars alongside their players, with brief facts given about each player and avatar. A perfect coffee table book for a gamer or digital culture scholar!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Miss Print VINE VOICE on July 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
At first glance, Robbie Cooper's Alter Ego: Avatar and Their Creators (2007) is fundamentally a coffee table book: large, non-standard size, glossy photos, high quality paper, and a really interesting topic. But it's also more than that.

With the unprecedented popularity of massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG) like Second Life and World of Warcraft, avatars--the customized, computerized virtual characters that move around a computer game when you move your mouse or type on the keyboard--are a big deal. They're not only how a player interacts with a given game interface, they are also how a player presents themselves to that game.

For that reason, avatars also become a part of a player's life--sometimes simply to enable gameplay but also often in very meaningful ways unrelated to the game per se. The chosen title of this book, Alter Ego, points out that fact very well. These are characters that players alter for various reasons. Some to adopt a persona more accurate than a physical appearance could ever be. Others to create a virtual version of themselves down to the smallest detail. At the same time, avatars also can become an alternative personality.

In this book Cooper has collected photographs of real people and the avatars they have created for themselves. The book also provides vital statistics (who they are, where they live, game played, etc.). Each person interviewed also explains, in their own words, the thought process that went into making their avatar and what it (and online role play gaming in general) means to their lives.

The book and its range of subjects is fascinating. Senior citizens in a nursing home, a disabled young man, teens, drag queens, actors, entrepreneurs, and regular people are all represented in this book.
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