September 13, 2004

The Avatar is Legal Voting Age

I finally got around to scanning my copy of the first print reference for the use of the term Avatar to represent a user’s graphical online presence.

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Definition Habitat: A make-believe world inhabited by small, colorful creatures, called Avatars. Human beings may visit Habitat and move freely about its regions, interacting at will with with Avatars. Human beings reach Habitat by traveling many miles through tiny telephone lines and entering through a large gateway, called QuantumLink. Once a human being enters Habitat, he or she takes on the visual form of an Avatar, and for all intents and purposes becomes one of these new-world beings. In the world of Habitat, people can play games and go on quests, but mainly they meet other people and have fun. — Run Magazine, August 1986 (full text transcription)

The Avatar just turned 18.


[Update July 06, 2008 by Randy]

A client provided me with another historical link to a 1986 article in Compute Magazine that has been archived online: Habitat: A Look At The Future Of Online Games by Kathy Yakal.

In the extended entry are the scans of the page of the screen shots (linked from the archive)…  




Wow, happy birthday to the Avatar. I’ve actually got that issue of RUN sitting on a shelf in my basement! :)

I very much remember this article. It got me very interested in a multi user environments.

As if I didn’t have enough to make me feel like an old coot. What did we do before the birth of the Avatar? Oh yeah, played SPB.

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