As seen in: Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar (APple ][)
Also in: Ultima IX (PC)
Distinguishing feature: Virtuous.
Strengths: Most everyone likes him (or her) and wants to help.
Weaknesses: Those that don't will try to kill her (or him).

Profile by Matt Cramp? | December 12, 2009

Who is the Avatar?

That's a fair question, one the citizens of Brittania would like an answer to. They know the Avatar is going to be an outsider from another world and, like Lord British, someone worth looking up to. One thing's for sure, though: It's certainly not you.

I'm sorry, but look at you. You're reading articles about video games when you could be doing something useful with yourself. How long have you been sitting there? An hour? More? How many dishes do you have piling up in the sink? Have you had a decent conversation with anyone today, or you are sitting in your house avoiding people again? You could be spending this time doing something with your life, learning something new, but you're reading the literary equivalent of comfort food. The Avatar? She (or he, it's hard to say) would not be impressed. The world has so many intractable problems, but the Avatar knows that solving them requires the Courage to face them head on, feels the Love for his (or her) fellow beings, and accepts the Truth that standing there isn't going to kill any Dark Lords.

You see, the Avatar is the embodiment of the eight Virtues: Honesty, Compassion, Valor, Sacrifice, Justice, Honor, Spirituality and Humility. The Avatar, whoever they are, lives those virtues every single day, serving as an example, a mentor, a teacher (and when there's a need, an ass-kicker) for the people of Britannia. So don't be offended when I say that it's certainly not you who walks in those massive shoes; you've never had your tarot read by a weird gypsy at a carnival, you've never been transported to another world, and you haven't once entered the Stygian Abyss and emerged holding the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom. You're not a hero, and considering what the Avatar goes through, it's just as well.

But you can, if you wish, get pretty close. This world, too, has its dragons that need slaying and its false prophets that need vanquishing. Sure, a dragon called African Poverty is not particularly glamorous or scaly or exciting, and Glenn Beck is not best vanquished via attacking him with a sword (seriously, no). But these problems aren't so intractable if there's the will to solve them. Mostly, what the world needs is an example, something the rest of us, the cowardly, the misanthropic, the self-deluding, can follow. Maybe you're not a hero, maybe you're not the Avatar, but maybe, if you strive to embody the Eight Virtues, maybe you'll also be someone worth looking up to.

GameSpite Quarterly 3 | Previous: Athena Asamiya | Next: Balloon Fighter