Character vs. Toon

You say tomato and I say potato.  I’ve been playing online games since their inception. That makes me old, yes it does.  Besides the many a MUD game I used to play, when the graphical online games hit, I was there with my 486/66 and the whopping 8 megs of RAM too. When there were more then 100 players online at once, it made everyone shudder with glee.

Let me find a walking cane…oh yeah and slouch my back…

“Sonny, when I started playing online graphical games we called ourselves characters. What you call toons today.”

In 1995 we were characters, in 2005 we were characters but somewhere around 2006/2007 the character part got lost and now we are suddenly toons. This happened about the same time players started saying “bio” when they needed to take a massive leak. Coincidence? Perhaps.

To me a character is something you create that is not supposed to be like yourself. It’s your alter ego, it’s where you step outside yourself and be someone else for a short time in between work and sleep.  While you are at work you are thinking about your character and of course and since you only get about 4 hours of sleep a night because you need to get to the last level or get that last piece of loot when you do actually crash you do not have enough time to dream before you have to get up for work the next day.

Is a character a toon?

Well since we are talking graphically of course a character is a toon. A toon is short for cartoon, which is what kids are missing out on Saturday mornings these days. They do have the cartoon network, but somehow it just isn’t the same. So yes, a character is essentially a toon. That makes sense.

Is a toon a character?

Ah now that is the question of the day. Do you demean your absolutely feelingless pixelated back of the head you are always staring at for hours a day by making it seem cartoonish? Does it sound like you are less serious about the game? Okay, maybe I went a bit far there. BUT where is the line drawn?

Surely some will say a toon is a character. However, I believe that those that use the toon terminology are seeing the avatar they are playing as just another pixelated funny looking being in a virtual world. While those that call them characters just might have a bit more emotional attachment to the same pixelated funny looking beings.

So I ask you fine gamers out there, what do you call yourself? Are you a character or a toon?

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