[MUD-Dev] First use of "avatar"?

Takis Kalogiratos scorn at otenet.gr
Thu Dec 13 17:05:45 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001


At 02:44 =EC=EC 12/12/2001 -0500, Travis Casey
<efindel at earthlink.net> wrote:
> Tuesday, December 11, 2001, 11:34:40 AM, Koster, Raph wrote:

>> The OED is doing a pilot project to incorporate a large number of
>> words derived from SF. You can read about it here:

>>   http://66.108.177.107/SF/sf_citations.shtml

>> One in particular that caught my eye was this entry:

>>   avatar (n.) antedating 1992 (in Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash)
>>   sense is a VR representation of a person

>> I want to say that avatar was used before Snow Crash. Am I wrong?

> Well, it was used by the Hindus, wasn't it?  I'd even say that it
> was used by them to mean a VR representation of a person -- that
> "person" is a god, and the VR they're creating an extension into
> is Maya, the world illusion.  It's not a *computer-generated* VR,
> but it's also not considered to be "real" reality.

Well I think the word in this use originated from the 'avatar'
concept in role-playing novels (Forgotten Realms, Planescape
etc). Avatars in most rpg settings are priests imbued with a small
portion of their deities power deeming them a representative of
their deity as well as creating a direct link with them. An avatar
can feel the mood or feelings of the deity while the deity is fully
aware of what is happening around their avatar or in their heads for
that matter.

> "avatar" is also the name of the "root" account on some Unix
> systems.  I don't know how far back that practice goes.

First time I hear that...which Unix?

Takis Kalogiratos
AKA: Nodens the Ancient
  and  Strahd Von Zarovich
  and  Scorn Do'Ulhen
Imp/Coder/RP Director of Akkadia MUD
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