In this paper we present an analysis of the character creation interface on the Nintendo WiiU and explore the pragmatics of avatar customisation through a between-subjects, qualitative user study involving 24 participants. Our Mii research – or ‘Miisearch’ – is motivated by our desire to highlight the agency these interfaces have in self-representational practices; specifically, to understand the effects of interface affordances on avatar customisation in games. Furthermore, as self-representational practices are often studied using distance methods and self-reporting (e.g. surveys), we compare data on avatar customisation from two sources: a survey and participant observation via micro-ethnography. Results of our study reveal discrepancies between the survey data and participant observation, challenging popular methodological approaches in both the game studies and HCI communities. Most significantly, our findings illustrate the combined effects of gaming contexts and interface affordances on avatar customisation.

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Behaviour and Information Technology
School of Journalism and Communication

McArthur, V. (2018). Making Mii: studying the effects of methodological approaches and gaming contexts on avatar customization. Behaviour and Information Technology. doi:10.1080/0144929X.2018.1526969