an avatar - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
Selecting an avatar for The Game was always hard. It was costly too, the more features you wanted the higher the price. But once you were hooked up it was all you had to keep you interested for what felt like a lifetime. The games were only four hours long, but the scientists had worked out a way to make it seem like eighty years or more. You were born into the game as a baby and left old, unless you died and that was scary. Once in there you just didn't know it wasn't real, in a way it was real. There were rules too, mess up your new "home world" too bad and you locked in for every "reincarnation" until it was fixed. Of course if it wasn't fixable you were just in for a bad time for eons. The problem was that once in there no-one knew it was a game, it was just life. Then when you came out you had the choice of re-spawning with the people you knew or taking pot-luck. I know what you're thinking, why play at all? Well, what were our options? Live in the ether of our home nebula as the ghost-like star-creatures we were or get to live multiple finite lives? Every thought of what it would be like to hang out in space for a year with zip to do? Try three hundred. If it wasn't for The Game we'd have lost our God-given minds.
My Avatar was always female, I'm not sure why but it just appealed to me. I often changed my hair, build, skin colour and athletic ability. Sometimes just for laughs I went in as a gorilla or a whale; those were often the most fun anyway. I added in some bizarre feature when I'd earned enough karma, I'd be a math genius, an artist or sing like an angel...
My avatar is the biggest, scariest looking character I could make. It's got muscles I never worked for and fighting skills I never trained to learn. It has mean looking eyes of vivd green and a skin of palest blue. Its hair is so red and glossy it flows like a cold flame with each turn of my head. It can go long periods without food or drink and has an IQ smarter than Issac Newton. In that world where the avatar is me I am almost a God, I have power, influence and the ability to cause others pain if they cross my path. I can crack skulls and shoot arrows, I can run without stopping for hours. But this side of the screen I'm a bit flabby despite being taller than average. My hair is bleached white with green tips and I have a ring through my nose. Though my clothes were all black when I bought them they are now a washed out grey. I wish I could step into the screen and really live as that avatar, just reaching back through the screen every once in a while for another cookie or a slurp of soda.
No-one goes out in the real world anymore. The avatar goes for you. We stay in protective chambers, our minds linked in to the bio-machines that take out places. It's very much like a dream, the mind manufacturing senses rather than truly feeling them. There's no sense of smell anymore and most folks don't recall that there should be one. We don't use phones to either, just electronic connections, faster, simpler. The only real people on the streets these days are the underclass, those that didn't have the money for an avatar. You can see them right away. Everyone chose something physically perfect to represent themselves and taller than any natural person. We are seven feet tall with movie start looks and athletic ability, now, who wouldn't want that?
I've used an avatar so long now that it has become the dominant part of me. It think of its limbs as mine and the computer in its head as my brain. Only when it malfunctions am I forced to remember that I am a frail biological organism, unable to walk or even breathe unaided. There are those that don't like the avatars, but it's our right to use them. We are disabled and disfigured but our brains are as good as anyone's. Shutting down our robotic selves would be worse than murder; it would be trapping us in a prison we never earned.
Nobody uses ordinary avatars anymore. We are aliens, we are fantastical beasts, the only limit is our imaginations. Some walk on many legs as tall as apartment buildings, how they enter their dwellings for the night I have no idea. The fad began when some wanted their avatars to be like from the old movie "Avatar." Some wanted blue skin, pointing ears, enlarged golden eyes. Of course that was only the beginning. Everyone jumped on the band wagon making their public self a superhero, often with hidden features for a low low cost. Meeting someone these days tells you nothing but their taste in avatars. They could be another gender or age. So now no-one knows anyone, trusts anyone, actually meets anyone. It's the way it is. We got what we wished for - beauty, strength, perfection, safety. We got it all.
Once avatars were pixels, now they are our ambassadors out there in the real world we are too terrified to enter. We don't die in car crashes; we don't die from over eating or drugs; we just die quietly in our bio-chambers from old age when the life extenders can't work their magic any more.
Everyone is living several lives. It's hard to keep up. They can be tall Kevin for the weekend and then put that avatar in a closet. They can be petite Mirabelle on Mondays and Tuesdays, the cute waitress with the cutting sense of humour. Then to finish the week off they can be a bionic law enforcer living out their computer game fantasies on other avatars. Life is anything but boring. They say that even with our life extenders the population will be gone in another century, who wants to raise a child now? Who wants to get close enough to another person to make one in the first place? They can't even control an avatar for four years. Who can stand the real world for that long?
Every avatar starts off as a 3D poster, but once selected their off the market. Even twins aren't allowed to buy the same one. Without DNA we have to be able to identify perps on sight. But lately generic models have been hitting the street, no serial numbers, nothing.
Leo is watching an avatar movie, his closed eyelids moving like he's in REM sleep. Only the light on his temple shows that he's plugged into the net. He wants a new body, something more manly, more "action movie star." God only knows how he's gotten the credits for something like that.
The weird thing about this new avatar life, beyond not using your body anymore, is that it's augmented to the individual. We're all there in the coffee shop, but everyone's hearing a different song. We can all go to the same clothing store but the selection will be personal to our tastes.