face off/on

appropriation’s commodification
Face Off

Boingboing reported that a new application for the Xbox 360 by Digimask allows gamers to paste their own faces on game characters. Gamersgame reported that the developers of an upcoming beat ’em up, “Battle of the Gods” (BOTG) launched an unique promotion event via eBay. If you win the according auction currently running your likeness will be included into the game as a background character.

Back in ye olde times when MP1-modding was striving, and when we were still in the first stages of the infamous Lightsaber modification, DopeTek, a founding member of our team, perfected his technique of giving game characters faces. Then he encouraged the community members to send him mugshots of themselves, which he converted into the heads of playable characters. In the first installments of the mod, the main protagonist indeed sported the face of HairlessWookie, our team leader.

Clearly there are feedback-loops at work, leading from the games industry to the gamers and back again. Via commodification practices of appropriating computergames [developed within gaming culture] are re-appropriated by the industry. Complex moves within gamespace initially unintended and based on bugs and glitches, like snaking and strafe-jumping [their being possible discovered by gamers], are redefined to be features of subsequent games. Peter Molyneux“The Movies” commodifies the making of machinima. Now the customization of game avatars by means of mapping the own face upon them has been commodified, too.

The picture is a screencap from Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil” (1985)—it shows Mrs. Lowrie (Katherine Helmond) undergoing preparations for plastic surgery.
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