Welcome to Empirical Purple

A blog by Simon Brady to cover a surprisingly wide range of geekiness, in a combination that no-one else does quite the same way. Probably. Either that, or it'll just be Simon talking about the likes of Football (usually the Soccer variety), PC & Tabletop Gaming, WWE, Movies, Music and occasionally even my actual job of Graphic Design, depending on what I'm up to in the world.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Online, your Avatar must never die

Avatars should never die. Online, your personal projected self-image should be the ultimate Mary Sue version of yourself. Good-looking, athletic, talented, super-cool, fashionable, charming and all the rest. It would surely take the most self-loathing of individuals to create an online persona that's worse than they are.

In Nationstates, I therefore created Simeone Di Bradini who is, all round, perfect. Playing for the nation I'd want to run (and not necessarily live in, of course) he has slowly grown in six years of RPing from international-class striker to something quite beyond any possible expectations I have had for him.

Were you to tell me in 2004 that my Under-21 striker with an exotic, mangled version of my name (because we all know that 'Simone' would read as a girl's name, the Inzaghi brother notwithstanding) would have a Cup named after him, be effectively immortal and perhaps the most-famous, or at least most widely and shamelessly promoted, character in NS Sports, then I'd have a hard time believing you.

My national leader/dictator died, at some point, because he just had to. Different stories needed to be told with different characters, and the timeline had to move on to tell another set of tales. Though often his mouth spoke my thoughts, he was still just a character. SDB is, totally, an avatar of me in that forum.

We're talking about things past Author Avatar here. Way, way, past Reality Subtext. We're talking a protagonist whose name is the same as the author's Screen Name, and who has the same attitudes and interests (except that he also has Impossibly Cool Hair).

So who did I have to go and use as an image for him? Of course, the only person I've ever been starstruck by, and even that was from 20 yards as he was doing his thing: taking a corner for England. The character will never die, of course, as now he's entered perhaps the strangest of RP realities, where he exists timelessly, now and forever, as the construct of... something or other. It's all a little complicated and even I barely pretend to understand it.

What got me, though, was someone else has killed off their Avatar. They named the nation after themselves - as is common - using their real name. Their avatar had the same name, picture, belief structure, sexual preference, quite simply they had put themselves in the game.

Eventually, this avatar was killed off by a disease the user himself fought and beat. And now we have a Memorial Tournament for that character, that the user plays in.

Even to me, with my online self-absorption, that's just plain creepy.


  1. I had an author avatar in my RPs as well, Siki Rej (Siki used to be my nickname), but he at one point faded into obscurity.

  2. You want creepy? Two words.

    Dominique. DOMASCA.