Fatness and Fable: Regulating the Interactive Body in Video Games

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Beattie, Scott (2011) Fatness and Fable: Regulating the Interactive Body in Video Games. Somatechnics, 1 (2). pp. 357-371. ISSN 2044-0138 (print) 2044-0146 (online)

Abstract

The video game Fable 2 promises new modes of interaction, by which decisions made by the player can shape the game world and the body of their virtual persona. Some decisions affect the good/evil index by which the avatar takes on a diabolical or saintly aspect. Other decisions affect the character's purity/corruption index, which impacts on the relative thinness and upright posture or fatness and hunched posture and of the avatar. This moralisation of fatness, embedded in the ideological code of the game reflects a set of values about consumption, exploitation and the aesthetics of body. These ‘morality systems’ as they are described in video games are connected to the ways in which other characters respond to you, define the life choices and options (in the Fable games this includes marriage and children) and shape the metaphysical powers of your character. As interactive media evolves, and these kinds of complex interactions become more commonplace, we must challenge the design decisions that align meat eating, tenant exploitation, farting on angry people, bigamy, stealing, long periods of sleep and interpersonal meanness with a fat body image. We are increasingly using avatars as a form of virtual embodiment, particularly in social networking and the deployment of avatars in video games provides precedents for their use in other contexts.

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Item type Article
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/9390
DOI https://doi.org/10.3366/soma.2011.0024
Official URL http://www.eupjournals.com/soma
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Law
Historical > FOR Classification > 1801 Law
Historical > SEO Classification > 9404 Justice and the Law
Keywords ResPubID24291, fatness, virtuality, avatar, video games
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