Man cultivates healthy lifestyle to be more like his avatar

NewImage Marcus Dickinson, 40, was very overweight and unhealthy when he created his EVE Online character Roc Wieler, the tough guy seen above left. Eventually, Dickinson became so inspired by Roc that he hit the gym to be more like him. Above right is Dickinson now. "I'm a role player inherently," Dickinson says. "I take it seriously." Virtual reality: Avatar inspires gamer to hit the gym (CNN)


  1. I guess I’ll have to avoid playing Jabba the Hutt in any online rpgs.  If I ever play in one, maybe when (if) I retire or the kids move out or something.  Massive multiplayer bingo.

  2. I can just imagine him looking at himself in the mirror. “Yeah. Look at those guns.  Look at that chest.  I look just like Roc Wieler, man. Work that shit, dog.”

  3. I have a lesser version of that same idea in my own life: a bunch of years ago I ordered a wallet that says, you guessed it, “Bad Mother Fucker”. Many’s the time that I’ve pushed myself to do a few more miles, or more accurately, stopped myself from giving up too early, because of the perceived need to live up to that damned wallet.

    As silly as it sounds, I really do credit that wallet (and therefore that movie) with at least some of my health and stamina. So while I’m not a gamer, this guys psychological trick makes perfect sense to me.

    And since a whole lot of those miles are on skates, this feels quite relevant:

  4. This just makes perfect sense to me. In an avatar, if we want, we can create an idealized version of ourselves. Now, some times that may just be completely unfeasible, but assuming it isn’t what is to keep us from making that jump to say “how much of this could I actually become?” and then working to meet that goal? For full disclosure, I’d rather be a body-less conscience or some kind of android, god, or animal. Sooooooo…. don’t look for me at the gym I’m busy just not eating and pretending I don’t exist.

  5. Things I have done to be more like my avatar:

    – Exercised
    – Taken burlesque dance classes
    – Gotten psychedelic dragon wings across the backs of my arms (in progress)
    – Changed my gender

    And you know what? It’s been worth it, I’m a ton happier and healthier than I was before. If the discrepancy between your online self and what you see reflected back when the screen goes dark is what inspires you to get off your ass and get your body into shape, AWESOME.

    1. A friend of mine who changed gender looks completely different, but the biggest difference is that she now wears a smile. 

  6. I prefer an abstract avatar that reflects my taste & not what my “idealized form” is.  Also, his avatar is clearly black & bald, and this dude is white & has hair. Maybe he should just change his avatar to Mr. Clean & add an earring to his left ear to complete the look.

  7. John Leavitt, the host of the NYC flagship Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School and Molly Crabapple’s frequent collaborator, made a similar experiment lately in holding himself to the standards of Captain America:

    1. I admire what this guy did, but basically he’s non-hero “Steve Rogers” according to the link you have passed along.
      So is the goal he’ll buff himself up to the point of wearing the red, white & blue?

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