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Posted on 25. Nov, 2009 by in Lifestyle, Technology

There are now an estimated 10 million online gamers across the globe. Each one has an online identity, a personally created character representing them in their virtual world.

Robbie Cooper’s Alter Ego project represents a wide spectrum of the online gaming community, from casual players to obsessive gamers, from creators of worlds to virtual entrepreneurs.

Most of us spend a huge amount of time in front of screens, at work and play. Research studies indicate that in the US, the average school age child spends around 4 hours a day in front of TV, computer and video game screens. The average work age adult probably spends far longer. We access a whole spectrum of software, entertainment programming and information through these screens. The interaction with programming, software and with others, through this space, is becoming an increasingly significant part of life.

Outside of our life in front of the screen, we are also immersed in a structure of abstraction in our daily lives. Simulation, as Jean Baudrillard writes in the classic essay ‘Simulacra and Simulations’, is an internal state as well as an external hyperreality. Our experience in a hyperreal world (held in the grip of simulacra and where much of experience is mediated) is one in which media and medium are not simply located in their own spaces, but dispersed around us, in all forms of experience.

It seems to me that this creates a fixation with the imaginary and visual aspects of our collective psyche, and experience which is itself reduced down to the elements that we like. In the sphere of work this is mostly about information. Outside of it, it’s mostly about sensation. My aim with these projects is to assemble video’s, texts and images that record our relationship with this world. In this environment, the ways in which we relate to mediated experience become, for me, an interesting portrayal of life in our 21st Century culture.

Robbie Cooper.



Aurélien Capdecomme aka Velkan

Aurelien-&-Stephanie-Av

Name: Aurélien Capdecomme (left)
Born: 1983
Occupation: IT for national education
Location: Toulouse, France
Average hours per week in-game: 15
Avatar name: Velkan
Avatar created: 2005
Game played: City of Heroes

In City of Heroes and in real life we like to have fun with our friends. Our characters are a couple, as are we. We sometimes play separately but it’s very rare. We have separate game accounts so that we can play as a team.

We have been guild leaders since the opening of the European City of Heroes servers, and have a group of companions with whom we play regularly. We have even met some of them and they have become friends in real life. So the City of Heroes universe has an important role in our lives. We have witnessed its evolution through the difficult patches and have remained loyal. The Fantastic Legends guild now holds 70 heroes. I would never have dreamt we would attain these heights when I first started it.

Clelia and Velkan, without the superpowers, aren’t so different from those holding the mouse. They enjoy life and laughter. Our City of Heroes moments are moments of release that allow us to escape long enough to complete a few missions. Because of his mask, Velkan is often subjected to the mockery of his comrades, who point out that he looks like a fish. He also has a complex about his tights, which are too tight! Clelia is nicknamed the ‘pompom girl’ because of her powers. The energy released from her fists covers them in a halo of light, making them look like pompoms.


Andreas Fischer aka Zero Cold

Andreas-Zero-Cold

Name: Andreas Fischer
Born: 1980
Occupation: Designer
Location: Vienna, Austria
Average hours per week in-game: 17
Avatar name: Zero Cold
Avatar created: 2005
Game played: City of Heroes

I am married to a beautiful girl and the proud father of two sons. Family is very important in my life, and my wife and I play City of Heroes together. We have a lot of fun.

I design web pages and like to create a good atmosphere for all gamers out there. At the moment I am working on The Archive, the biggest City of Heroes players’ database in the world. I am a gamer with more ambition than just to get-the-highest-level-in-the-shortest-time. That is very important for me. My character Zero Cold was the leader of a supergroup named Justice Corp, or JC, all proudly fighting for justice in the world. Zero Cold was their mentor, their friend, and their father-figure. JC had about 30 members. But that was a long time ago. Now, a year and half later, Zero Cold has left JC, and in a new group, Team Xtreme. We had a powerful start in the community and are members of the Fansite Alliance. At the present time we have six members but every day more heroes want to join us. We know everything about our members. The team is a provocative supergroup – with a few comedians. We’re here to have fun rather than to fight for justice in that American style. Not at all. Team Xtreme. Fell the Xtreme!


Lucas Shaw aka Gaenank

Lucas-Gaenank

Name: Lucas Shaw
Born: 1985
Occupation: Student
Location: Texas, USA
Average hours per week in-game: 55
Avatar name: Gaenank
Avatar created: 2003
Game played: EverQuest
Server name: Povar
Character type: Barbarian berserker
Character level: 55
Special abilities: Dual wield

I play a tank. I shield the casters and deal out the damage to the MOBs. The guild I belong to is one of the most famous in EverQuest, where its top players are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the game. I’m a fighter. My job is to protect the weaker classes and kill monsters. What I’d like is to be able to keep pace with the best players, but no matter how hard I try, I never seem to catch them up. Relative to them, I’m just not moving. For a while I’d be playing up to 12 hours a day to try and get into the top ranks. It’s not really about winning – you can’t win EverQuest, there’s no end to it, that’s why it’s called EverQuest – and although you might get to the top or near it, you’d have to maintain it. I just wanted to win respect from people in the game, to be somebody in the EverQuest world. But it cost me. Everything else in my life started to suffer – my social life, my schoolwork, even my health.

You can actually order pizza from within the game. Time goes by and you don’t really have that much handle on what’s been going on outside the game world. You can’t go on for too long like that. I’m getting control of things now, I’ve cut right back on it. I just try and keep things in perspective.


Jason Rowe aka Rurouni Kenshin

Jason-Rurouni

Name: Jason Rowe
Born: 1975
Occupation: None
Location: Crosby, Texas, USA
Average hours per week in-game: 80
Avatar name: Rurouni Kenshin
Avatar created: 2003
Game played: Star Wars Galaxies
Server name: Radiant
Character type: Human marksman / rifleman
Character level: 55
Special abilities: Ranged weapon specialization

The difference between me and my online character is pretty obvious. I have a lot of physical disabilities in real life, but in Star Wars Galaxies I can ride an Imperial speeder bike, fight monsters, or just hang out with friends at a bar. I have some use of my hands – not much, but a little. In the game I use an on-screen keyboard called ‘soft-type’ to talk with other players. I can’t press the keys on a regular keyboard so I use a virtual one. I play online games because I get to interact with people. The computer screen is my window to the world. Online it doesn’t matter what you look like. Virtual worlds bring people together – everyone is on common ground. In the real world, people can be uncomfortable around me before they get to know me and realize that, apart from my outer appearance, I’m just like them. Online you get to know the person behind the keyboard before you know the physical person. The internet eliminates how you look in real life, so you get to know a person by their mind and personality. In 2002 at the UO Fan Faire in Austin, I noticed that people were intrigued by me, but they acted just like I was one of them. They treated me as an equal, like I wasn’t even the way that I am – not disabled, not in a wheelchair, you know. We were all just gamers.


Elizabeth Brown aka Thalia

Liz-Thalia

Name: Elizabeth Brown
Born: 1980
Occupation: Junior network systems administrator
Location: St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Average hours per week in-game: 8
Avatar name: Thalia
Avatar created: 2004
Game played: Hero’s Journey
Character type: Gearknight / Wizard
Special abilities: Godlike powers

I designed Thalia to look the way that I aspire to be when I’m older. I know the kind of person that I want to be, because I see some women like that, in real life or in films – like the character Aunt Meg in the movie Twister. I perceive them as friendly, graceful, comfortable with themselves, and very open and friendly and welcoming to everyone else around them. That’s how I want to be, and in some ways, by creating my Hero’s Journey character to look like my own future goal, it gives me something to visualize and work towards.

Growing up I’ve played several different types of simple role-playing games, mostly tabletop. It’s fun to figure out all the different configurations that you can add to a character. I just think it’s really fun, and I look forward to playing these kinds of games with my friends. I like the tabletop gaming for the camaraderie, and the laughter. One of my favourite games is Munchkin. Like, where else can you have ‘Sword of Slaying Everything Except Squid Of Doom’ power?

I actually don’t do a lot of role-playing any more, since I’ve recently started really becoming more like my character, by starting a family. I now have a five-month-old son.


Young Ki-Jang aka Knight Lummis

Young-Ki-Jang-Knight-Lumus

Name: Young Ki-Jang
Born: 1982
Occupation: Student
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Average hours per week in-game: 20
Avatar name: Knight Lummis
Avatar created: 2005
Game played: Lineage II
Character type: Knight
Character level: 30

My character is a knight. Growing up, I used to love reading stories about the warriors of Korea’s Silla Kingdom, as well as the knights of medieval Europe. I admire their bravery and prowess in battle. Sometimes I wish I could have lived in those times.

I enjoy playing Lineage because it’s a place where I can control my own destiny. In the real world, you have to conform to the expectations of your parents, teachers, and peers. What matters the most is how much money you have, what schools you go to, and who your parents are. Where you start determines where you end up. In Lineage it’s different. You create your avatar – it’s not already chosen for you. The path forward is up to you. Play well, and you will get ahead. It’s not like in the real world where things are set for you.


Giorgos Loukakis aka AereVoS

Georgios-AeroVos

Name: Giorgos Loukakis
Born: 1977
Occupation: Student
Location: Volos, Greece
Average hours per week in-game: 15
Avatar name: AereVoS
Avatar created: 2005
Game played: City of Heroes
Server name: Defiant
Character type: Mutant blaster
Character level: 42
Special abilities: Ultimate darkness incarnated, Absolute vampyric supremacy, Pure energy and pure fire manipulation

I will unleash the Vampire Hero within me. He is my only weapon against this false world. I will unleash AereVoS, the Ultimate Darkness Incarnate, the Absolute Vampire Supremacy.

One of the first rules of war is to keep your weapons secret. That’s why AereVoS is hidden within a child that’s grown up in a world full of injustice. He was hidden but always ready to fight, ready to change the world. Time passed and the child became a man, a man still angry at society, and a man with the mind and heart of a hero.

Reality is always cruel – cruel and insane. But there is always cyberspace – humanity’s next frontier, a virgin void with unlimited potential. Potential to incarnate Ultimate Darkness. The perfect womb for AereVoS.

AereVoS is my heroic alter ego, created by threading my childhood dreams. He looks like me, he thinks like me and he acts like me because he is me and I am him. His past is my past – he was a PhD student in a parallel universe until the day he realized that ultimate darkness was unleashed within him. Also, AereVoS has a dark past – a vampire incident that nobody knows about, something he holds beneath his wings.


Kim Nyvang aka Ligar

Kim-Ligar

Name: Kim Nyvang
Born: 1978
Occupation: Butcher
Location: Roennede, Denmark
Average hours per week in-game: 27
Avatar name: Ligar
Avatar created: 2002
Game played: EverQuest I
Server name: Kane Bayle
Character type: Barbarian shaman
Character level: 65
Special abilities: Barbarian strength

I’m a butcher in real life and a barbarian shaman in EverQuest. In the game I have long, flowing hair and the body of an Olympic weightlifter. In the real world I have short hair and an average body. I’m comfortable with who I am, but it’s fun to role-play a walking meat-shield in the game.

I’ve made a lot of good friends in Norrath. Not long after I started playing, I met a woman who went by the name ‘Tropical Storm’. We started hanging out together and going on raids and dungeon crawls. I know it probably sounds odd to non-gamers, but our friendship meant a lot to me. Even though we never met in real life, she was my friend. We could talk about anything – real-life problems, our jobs, and so on. After a couple of months I asked her if she wanted to marry Ligar in the game. Of course, I asked my real wife Lene if she would be ok with that. She knew that Trop – my name for her – was a good friend so she said she was fine with the idea. Lene would even come in sometimes when I was chatting with my virtual wife and tell me to give her a hug. I tried to explain my in-game marriage to some non-gamers once, but you really can’t make them understand. It’s like trying explain to a virgin what sex feels like.


Tini Sun aka SpicePrincess

Tini-Spice-Princess

Name: Tini Sun
Born: 1982
Occupation: PC game model
Location: Shanghai, China
Average hours per week in-game: 40
Avatar name: SpicePrincess
Avatar created: 2005
Game played: Arabian Nights
Server name: Aladdin
Character type: Cleric
Character level: 20
Special abilities: Resurrection, Healing

I played a lot of video games growing up and while I was in college. I was a big fan of an online game called Fairy Live. I even dressed as a fairy princess in Cosplay competitions. Two years ago, after I’d finished my degree in fashion design, I had the opportunity to become a model for China Joy. As a result of the publicity, I became very well known in the gaming community. I’ve become the first China game beauty. Guys can click on my avatar in Arabian Nights and see a photo of me! I even have a fan club! They write to me and ask for my picture. They even send me flowers. It’s very sweet.


Harisu

Haritsu-Av

Name: Harisu
Born: 1975
Occupation: Actress
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Average hours per week in-game: 13
Avatar name: Not supplied
Avatar created: 2003
Game played: Lineage II

In 2001 I appeared in a commercial – I was the face for a famous cosmetic product. Then I started to act – soap opera, dramas, and movies. And then I got into music. Now I’m working on my fourth album. I’m not only working in Korea, but also China and around East Asia. I was the first Korean transgender celebrity. I captured everyone’s attention, from little kids to grandfathers. When I go out to a restaurant, everyone recognizes me. Some people don’t really like me.

Once I came upon a group of avatars who were chatting about transsexuals. They were making jokes and saying how much they disliked them. I asked, ‘Why do you hate transgendered people?’ and they answered with more negative comments. So I just told them who I was. They were embarrassed and tried to take back what they’d said. The virtual world is very much like the real one.

I have different avatars but my favourite is an elf. My other avatars are not all females. Some are really good-looking male characters, very attractive. But it’s not like I want to play like a woman or a man. It’s like having an avatar as a boyfriend or girlfriend. It’s more like your partner. I definitely don’t get confused between my real self and my virtual self. When I’m acting I have to concentrate on my role. In the game I just try to be myself. If anything, my avatar has to concentrate on being me.


Jean François De La Fage aka Dark Freeman

Jean-Francois-Dark-Freaman

Name: Jean François De La Fage
Born: 1979
Occupation: Journalist
Location: Paris, France
Average hours per week in-game: 21
Avatar name: Dark Freeman
Avatar created: 2005
Game played: City of Heroes
Server name: Vigilance
Character type: Natural hero
Special abilities: Invincibility

I made Dark Freeman in my own image – his personality mirrors my own. He is of Japanese origin, as am I. Dark Freeman wields a Katana and practises Kendo, Ai-Do and Japanese martial arts. I have practised these art forms for the past 15 years.
I am the leader, or Oyuban, of a guild called the Yakuza Avengers, a guild that has a certain reputation on the French servers. Dark Freeman is ‘natural’ like comic heroes such as Batman or Hawkeye from the Avengers. For me, it’s more heroic to combat crime without mutant or magical superpowers, as there is more risk involved. I believe, as Pierre Corneille said in Le Cid, ‘to vanquish without risk is a triumph without glory’.

I founded the first MMORPG player association recognized by the French state. Its aim is to affiliate and promote all the City of Heroes players in France and strengthen the links between them, much like the worldwide chess or poker clubs. Because I am concerned for the image of MMORPG players in France and elsewhere, I work very hard for this atypical community that brings people together from all social and professional backgrounds. The final goal is to promote these people to the neophyte and non-gaming communities – to get recognition for a phenomenon that could be a new sport, or a new form of leisure. And to demarginalize these players who suffer from a negative image, surrounded by prejudices and misunderstandings.


Choi Seang Rak aka Uroo Ahs

Choi-Seang-Uroo-Ahs

Name: Choi Seang Rak
Born: 1971
Occupation: University professor
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Average hours per week in-game: 8
Avatar name: Uroo Ahs
Avatar created: 2004
Game played: Lineage II
Server name: Fehyshar
Character type: Dwarf warsmith
Character level: 59
Special abilities: Craft siege weapons, Whirlwind in battle

I’m a professor. I teach economics and public policy at the Dongguk University in Seoul. Because of my job, I don’t want people to see me playing. My colleagues would not understand. I just play at home, where only my wife and my friends know about it.

My teaching duties don’t leave me much time to play but my avatar is logged in 24 hours a day, seven days a week. She sits in the market place, buying and selling items while I’m away at work. In Lineage II you can park your avatar with a text message, like ‘Leather gloves for sale’, floating above its head. You only need to check periodically to restock their inventory. People buy more from my little girl dwarf compared to the old male dwarf I used to have, even though they sell the same things. Because I’m very polite, people think I really am a little girl.

Lineage II is a microcosm of the real world, complete with competition for social status, ostentatious displays of wealth, political intrigues, and a complex economy. For the past year, I have analyzed the game’s inner workings, compiling spreadsheets to find patterns in the economy – the best places to hunt, the most profitable items to craft, and so on. I enjoy the challenge and so far I’ve stored up about 150 million Adena in profit – about $15,000.


Thierry Te Dunne aka Naemie Theud

Thierry-Neamie

Name: Thierry Te Dunne
Born: 1963
Occupation: Building superintendent
Location: Angers, France
Average hours per week in-game: 21
Avatar name: Naemie Theud
Avatar created: 2005
Game played: Guild Wars
Server name: Arenanet
Character level: 20
Character type: Warrior and secondary professions
Special abilities: Elite swordsmanship, Hundred Blades, Elite axe mastery and evisceration

I’m part of that generation who tell each other stories about how in the beginning video games consisted of two vertical bars with a ball bouncing back and forth between them – Pong. At about that time, I would also write secret scenarios in my head for the toy soldiers inhabiting my castle, and for a stillborn twin. That’s how the novel The Song of Two Lives was born, even though I only wrote it thirty years later. One of the main characters is Naemie. Her crazy adventures became real, in the digital sense, when I discovered Guild Wars. Since then she has explored everywhere from Thyrie to Cavalon, immersed in someone else’s scenarios. I find it immensely pleasurable. Naemie is my digital spirit, perfectly realized in her striking image – red-headed, savage, generous, lethal! And with a strong resemblance to my feminine side. Her character is unique because she has a history, a literary genesis. She was not created in a rush or borrowed from someone else, but thought over, polished, cherished.


Lee Taek Soo aka Crammer

Mun-&-Lee-Crammer

Name: Lee Taek Soo (male)
Born: 1973
Occupation: Officer worker
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Average hours per week in-game: 10 hours
Avatar name: Crammer
Avatar created: 2006
Game played: World of Warcraft
Server name: 95
Character type: Undead
Character level: 40
Special abilities: Will of the Forsaken, Shadow resistance

Mun and I met at work. We became friends and started going out two months ago. Like many young couples, we enjoy going to the movies, going out to dinner, or just hanging out. We also like playing video games together. It’s a very popular dating activity in Korea. Many PC bangs have special ‘couples couches’ for couples to sit together and play console or PC games.

In World of Warcraft I play an undead warrior and Mun plays an undead shaman. We decided to play as the Horde since everyone was playing Alliance. We don’t belong to a guild, since we’re not very outgoing people. We just like to explore the world and go hunting as a couple. We’re not hardcore players. For us, there’s a clear boundary between the game and real life. Neither of us is deeply invested in our character. We play just for fun.


Kimberly Rufer-Bach aka Kim Anubis

Kimberley-Kim

Name: Kimberly Rufer-Bach
Born: 1966
Occupation: Software developer
Location: San José, California, USA
Average hours per week in-game: 70
Avatar name: Kim Anubis
Avatar created: 2004
Game played: Second Life
Character type: Content creator
Special abilities: Building interactive objects

I’m 40 years old and have two cats and five computers. I have been managing and developing online communities since the mid 1980s. I run a company called The Magicians that develops interactive content on the Second Life platform.

Most of the time my avatar looks like my real self, but about twenty years younger. I’m jealous of some of her clothes. I made a pair of boots that I wish I could export into real life. I usually dress my avatar in the same sort of stuff I wear. She doesn’t have a separate persona or anything. She’s just an extension of myself in this virtual space. Of course, she has a few abilities in Second Life I don’t have in my first life. When I was a kid, I wished I had a tail. You know, a tail I could wag, or point at things, like in John Peterson’s children’s book The Littles. So one day I decided my avatar should have a tail. I made one using the 3D modelling tools built into Second Life, and then I wrote a program to make the tail wag, point in various directions, droop, etc. My friend, The Magicians’ lead engineer Ian Young, took my code and did wonders with it, and we ended up with the Animagical Tail, which will not only do what you tell it to do, but will also pick up cues from your chat and help you to express yourself. Other people wanted a tail like this too, so I put it on sale in Lotus, my shop in Second Life. It sells quite well. I sell other things I’ve made – flapping wings, glowing crystal balls, bowls of swirling colour-changing butterflies and all sorts of other pretty, magical things.


Xu Wei Qing

Qing

Name: Xu Wei Qing
Born: 1976
Occupation: Power leveller
Location: Shanghai, China
Average hours per week in-game: 70
Avatar name: N/A
Game played: Legend of Mir

Think of me as a personal fitness trainer for your avatar. The first few weeks of many online games are a grind. Walk into a dungeon, find a monster, kill it, heal up, find another monster, kill it, and so on, over and over again. It’s boring. Computers are very good at automating repetitive tasks. So I figured, why not write a program that will play my character for me, so I can just skip to the fun part?

I’m starting to have more and more competitors. When I first started working as a power leveller, I was making 10,000 RMB a month (about $1,200). I had a lot more free time then. Now I work seven days a week and I only get about six or seven hours of sleep each night. As soon as I roll out of bed in the morning I start working.

In China, most players don’t have a problem with buying and selling virtual items. A lot of players use ‘illegal’ macro programs to level up their characters. Since so many people play the game, it’s hard to keep up with other players. Some people don’t have the time or skill to do it themselves. So if there’s a service that can help them get more enjoyment out of the time they do have to play, then what’s wrong with that? This isn’t cheating. Writing a program to make my avatar run twice as fast as everyone else, or have twice as many hit points – now that would be cheating. Many of the gaming companies agree with me. The one company that did crack down on item sales and macro programs saw their sales decline. Players want to use these services. Whether players level up in the normal fashion or using services like mine, they still have to buy game cards from the company.


Francis Chang

Francis-Frances

Name: Francis Chang
Born: 1978
Occupation: Student
Location: Portland, Oregon, USA
Average hours per week in-game: 15
Avatar name: Francis Chang / Francis Chung
Avatar created: 2003
Game played: Second Life

My first avatar in Second Life looked a lot like I do. I didn’t meet very many people very early on – I guess I was just stuck on the real-life convention where you don’t just walk up to strangers on the street and have a conversation. Then I created this female character. Having an avatar that wasn’t at all like my real-life self made it easier to accept that we don’t need to follow real-world etiquette.

For a computer programmer, Second Life is the ultimate playground. I’m not sure how best to describe what I do. Metaverse engineer? Virtual designer? Cyberspace pioneer? All these titles sound a bit grandiose. Basically, I make cool virtual cars. My claim to fame is the Dominus Shadow. It’s styled after a 1960s muscle car and is quite popular in the game. I don’t want to brag, but the Dominus Shadow is head and shoulders above the competition. The car is probably the single most complex item in Second Life right now. It’s designed to be really easy to use. Drivers can choose how they want to control the car. Players can choose a first-person, behind-the-steering-wheel view or an external, behind-the-car perspective. There’s a gearing system and cruise control that allows the player to control their speed. The car can drive up a wall, or hover like the DeLorean in Back to the Future.

The car is selling quite well. I recently donated a one-of-a-kind pink Dominus Shadow, which fetched $2,000 at a charity auction. A purple one went for $1,400. Since I’m not always online, I set up a test-drive station where customers can try before they buy. I’m on track to buy a 2007 Mustang with the proceeds.


Bill Jay Bryant aka General Zondar

Bill-Zondar

Name: Bill Jay Bryant
Born: 1959
Occupation: Truck driver / Guard
Location: Salt Lake, Utah, USA
Average hours per week in-game: 45
Avatar name: General Zondar
Avatar created: 2003
Game played: EVE Online
Server name: Tranquility
Character type: Combat pilot

I spent years in the United States Marine Corps and then in the Air Force Security Police. After my discharge I spent eight years working in the bail recovery business as a bounty hunter. When my wife decided it was time for a change, we bought a Peterbilt 18-wheeler truck and hit the road. I average 1,000 miles a day, providing security services and hauling high-value cargos for banks and the government. Each evening, when I pull into the Flying J truck stop, I boot up my laptop and log onto EVE Online. There I pilot a 14,000-ton armoured battle cruiser. I haul freight and turn would-be pirates into floating clouds of debris.

When my character was two months old I was showing off my new battleship to another player, trying to look tougher than I really was. We were shooting torpedoes at each other for fun. Well, I decided to fire a ‘smart’ bomb at him – not something to fire in a secure space, and especially not next to a space station. It hit the station and killed a bunch of other players. Within seconds, the local security forces launched an all-out assault on my ship. I didn’t have a chance. My new battleship was completely destroyed. Afterwards, I discovered that several players had placed a bounty on my head. It took me almost a year to lose the mark. Everyone thought I was a real badass pirate. I would gate into a system and everyone would flee. All I wanted was to make friends, but no one would play with me.


Serge Creola aka Megatox

Serge-Megatox

Name: Serge Creola
Born: 1958
Occupation: Hotline manager
Location: Brussels, Belgium
Average hours per week in-game: 20
Avatar name: Megatox
Avatar created: 2005
Game played: City of Villains
Server name: Vigilance
Character type: Experimenter / Corrupter
Character level: 24
Special abilities: Neutron ball, X-rays, Irradiation, Proton salvo, Cosmic explosion, Electron mist, Irradiating aura, Hyper-metabolism, Disabling field, Contamination, Mutation, Slow radiation

I discovered virtual worlds a bit more than a year ago and it was a real shock. A positive one! I am a fan of all Marvel comics and also epic fantasy books. I have dreamed so much thanks to them and when I started to play online, it was as if all the stories I had read were coming to life!

Megatox is me and I am Megatox, one does not go without the other. When I switch on City of Villains I am there with my own personality, the real and the virtual blending together. I simply step into a void bringing me to that Otherland. I spent a lot of time designing my costume because I really wanted it to be exactly how I wanted. I love this machine design I made, and the yellow and black colours are a mix I like a lot. The face is not like mine but I wouldn’t mind it in the real world. Megatox is all that I would like to be – strong, famous, respected, feared by some, daring, the talk of the town. This is why we complement each other. Together we make one complete person.

What makes me different from the other villains? Easy. Me, I’m real! But don’t give the game away. You are now the only one to know! This is me, Megatox. Serge is busy at work in his real life. I’m sure he won’t mind me having made contact with you, and be sure I will inform him of this later. He’s a nice chap you know.

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