How Easy is it to Dismiss Identity?

In class we discussed that people may deliberately not think about identity as much when playing games because it may interfere with the flow or fun of the game, as well as the fact since violence is a sensitively charged topic, people might not want to think about their identity in too much detail or with too much thought.

I found this interesting to apply what we talked about above to games such as “Rapelay,” since it is a first person game and because it was intended for the exact reason of rape, and not something like “Rollercoaster Tycoon,” where the violence of dropping people into the water is only a side feature. I feel that if the violence is the purpose of the game, for instance as in a FPS game, then yes, people may not want to think too hard about their identity, as in “Call of Duty 4,” where the player can shoot innocent civilians in the airport of the “No Russian Mission.” This ignoring of or pushing aside the knowledge of identity may be because it is not socially acceptable, for instance, to be a terrorist in the United States (even if you are acting undercover, you still have the option to kill the people in the airport). The player might not agree with doing something like what they play in games versus in the real world, but in VR if the player doesn’t analyze or scrutinize his or her identity too much, it is a little easier on the conscience, and in so many other ways general as well.

On the other hand, the rape in 1993 with the clown in a text-based “room,” was also intentional, and a first person experience, (as well as “Rapelay,” as I said above, earlier), but I am not sure how players in “Rapelay” or the clown in the text-based “room” would feel about identity. I think these two situations (FPS vs First Person Rape, for lack of better wording) could possibly be something totally different from what we discussed in class – the idea of thinking about/acknowledging identity too much may interfere with the fun or the flow of the game. In these two cases about rape, I think the player (or clown) could actually be acknowledging identity very much so, and that is why they are raping in virtual reality in the first place. Again, because it is not socially acceptable, and the player has come to realize this, the player instead does it in VR, where it either acceptable or “more acceptable.” Therefore, the player must have acknowledged both his or her real AND VR identity to figure this out. I think the player therefore thought about identity in detail, rather than it being ignored or shoved to the side. Perhaps since what happens in VR can be thought of as non-permanent, it is easier to dismiss the action of rape, but then also easier to get away with it?


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