Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Avatar

The above model is one of the high elves sculpted by Mark Copplestone for Grenadier's old "Fantasy Warriors" range. Although most of this range is now being produced by, the high elves are not available as new production. I bought this one on eBay.

These days the term, "avatar," is quite common with online message groups, multi-player games, etc. It's the digital representation of someone in the real world, just as an avatar in the Hindu tradition is the earthly incarnation of a divine being. So it was with the Ultima series. "The Avatar" was the character meant to portray yourself, the hero of the game. It was actually a title held by your character in-game. The people of Britannia would address you by that name, "Hello Avatar. Welcome back to Moonglow."

The title was apt also because this hero was a physical embodiment of the Virtues, the philosophy followed by the Britannians. This idea of the Virtues did not appear in the series until Ultima IV. Before that time the hero character was called only, "The Stranger." Interestingly, Ultima IV's quest for moral virtue was a response to parents' concern about the perceived negative influence of role playing games (upset by the killing, stealing, evil themes, etc.).

P.S. Check out the old floppy disc icon in the image at right. When's the last time you saw one of those?


Adam said...

They are awesome!!! Did you make the models yourself?

Andrew said...

Goodness, no. This model was sculpted by Mark Copplestone for the now out of business Grenadier Miniatures. I should have included this info in the post. I'll add it now.

I see you're an Ultima fan! I just finished painting a Dupré model last night. I'll have a photo posted soon.