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Deep-Immersion Gaming

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Two Gamers on a Couch are playing a video game, or the gang get together to play a roleplaying game. Instead of showing what goes on by showing us the screen or the characters themselves, the scene cuts "into" the game, where the gamers themselves have taken the roles of the characters they are playing.

Any discussion the players have will be seen taking place between the characters. The characters will nearly always facially resemble the players, although they will often be altered to take on aspects of the player characters. This can be done with the intention of looking silly, such as the 7-foot-tall barbarian wearing his geeky player's signature Nerd Glasses or a male player shown crossdressing as his female character. A different art style may be used to show the gameworld; video game worlds may have something of a pixellated or cel-shaded appearance. Very rarely, one will see a series actually make the leap to using Machinima for this purpose.

This is a Sub-Trope of Fantasy Sequence, some display of how "immersed" the characters are in the game; it's their imaginative perception of what's going on. This allows us to see events in-game, and is a lot more interesting than watching two guys tapping on their controllers.

(Not to be confused with "immersion gaming," a form of live-action roleplay that lasts for more than 24 hours, takes place in and interacts with the real world, or both.)

Compare Two Gamers on a Couch, RPG Episode, RPG Mechanics 'Verse, Separate Scene Storytelling.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • .hack. The anime and the games are predicated on the idea of a MMORPG which is the literal embodiment of this trope. Note, however, that the appearances of the game characters do not necessarily correlate with those of the "real world" versions — characters of the same class and in-game gender look very similar. (E.g. Bear and Orca, Elk and Tsukasa, BlackRose and Mimiru, Subaru and another Heavy-Axe User, etc.) This doesn't stop some players from deliberately engineering their characters to look like themselves. In .hack//Sign, Subaru, Mimiru, Bear, and B.T. are all depicted with the same faces as their in-game characters. Kite is known to look a lot like his avatar while Orca, who is in middle school with Kite, looks like a large muscular man with little in the way of clothing. Other examples of the first type include Haseo and the second include Wiseman, who is a young boy despite being an old man in game.
  • Lucky Star: In the OVA, Konata, Nanako and the Hiiragi twins all play a MMORPG together, and they're only shown as their RPG characters for the whole segment. Their characters are essentially just chibi versions of their real selves but wearing fantasy outfits. While Konata frequently plays that same MMO in the TV series, nothing on her screen is ever actually shown as she plays aside from the in-game chat.
  • The RPG Episode in Welcome to the NHK's anime adaptation has Satou deeply immersed in an MMORPG. He also meets a Cat Girl healer, who he falls in love with, who turns out to be his friend and next door neighbour, out to teach him a lesson.
  • To Love Ru's trouble quest arc actually has the characters getting physically sucked into an RPG.
  • Chobits has an episode with the heroes trying to play a fantasy MMORPG with Chi. We never exactly see how the game works for the characters, but the viewers see it from a deep immersion point of view, with the regular characters all transformed into their fantasy counterparts.
  • Serial Experiments Lain at first seems to function on this level, as characters who immerse themselves in the Wired seem to do so via high-speed web browsing rather than virtual reality, leaving their actual bodies gazing at a screen and pointing and clicking links while they're mentally exploring the Wired's virtual world. But then the deep immersion starts to get deeper... much deeper.
  • While the game itself is a tactical wargame, Haruhi Suzumiya has scenes of the SOS Brigade as star fleet commanders when they play the game against the computer club. Haruhi gets really megalomaniacal here. There's also the nice touch of having their command ships' crews reflect their commanders (Haruhi's crew had varied aliens, Mikuru's wore cute animal masks, Itsuki's had henohenomoheji, Yuki's were copies of her; Kyon's crew is not shown except for a brief glimpse at the back of the heads of a few at a distance). The anime adaptation makes clear contrasts to highlight the Mundane Made Awesome traits of it all by cutting smoothly between ridiculously epic orchestral scores and dramatic speeches within the game and the tinny, 8-bit MIDI version in the "real world". Even funnier is the end, where the enemy flagship goes down to both Beam Spam and a Wave-Motion Gun, the orchestra is in full trumpets-and-drums, the enemy commander Disappears into Light... and cut to the computer screen proclaiming You Win!
  • Three Drama CDs of Hetalia: Axis Powers, called Hetalia Fantasia, has an MMORPG made by America and Japan that several characters join in.
  • The OPs of The Tower of Druaga seem to imply the series is somewhere between this Trope, Imagine Spot and All Just a Dream.
  • Mythic Quest, like .hack, revolves around players of a fictitious MMORPG. Few characters are seen both on- and offline, but the dichotomy in personality and appearance with Tragic/John and Aramusha/Anaya are recurring themes.
  • The manhua ½ Prince is this trope. The MMORPG "Second Life" is playable anytime (even in your sleep!) and the character's looks are based off your real life appearance. The game prides itself on the "99% percent realism factor" which means if you get hurt you get hurt seriously.
    • Oh, c'mon now. They only raised the pain level to 30%. Dying still hurts like a bitch, though.
    • The actual game that shares the name of the MMO in question, of course, isn't like this.
  • The Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise has a few examples of this, though they mostly take the form of characters being forced into the roles of game pieces by magic, such as in the Monster World RPG arc in the original manga. Other times, it's more likely to be the opposite- game elements appearing in the real world.
  • The Lord En/Online Gaming Arc of Beelzebub has the Ishiyama gang playing End of War 4 online and assuming avatar identities through several chapters of game play.
  • Sket Dance has Bossun becoming addicted to the rpg Monster Fantasy and through roping him in to playing co-op, also gets Tsubaki addicted. The manga then switches between reality and their adventures within the game.
  • In episode 8 of Love Hina, Motoko ends up in a dream where she and the main characters are in an old school game Keitaro has. The characters are constantly Breaking the Fourth Wall and realize they're characters in a game, and constantly switch from their normal size and Super-Deformed sizes when in the "game".
  • Whenever more than one person is involved with a game in the anime adaptation of Haganai, this trope is invoked, including one Dating Sim. This is played with in one episode where Maria, the healer, leaves to take a nap. Thus, her character stands idle during the climatic boss battle. After almost every character is killed off, Maria's character starts moving again. It was Kobato playing in her stead, though.
  • King of RPGs does this half the time, but it's the "real life" characters who are over the top.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s, there are two episodes where the heroes have to solve a video game duel puzzle; when this happens, a chibi-style avatar of the character appears in cyber-space using a Duel Disk (the first time) or a D-Wheel (the second).
  • Mekakucity Actors: The shooting game Takane plays near-obsessively, and the one she and Haruka design for their school festival.
  • Sgt. Frog: A recurring plot element involves the Keronians creating video games that are a bit TOO interactive.
  • Downplayed in Chapter 270 of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, which mostly takes place on a Minecr... er, Winecraft server. The avatars are far more expressive than anything that would be remotely possible in the real game, though the fact that they look like their players and can hear each other just by getting close are both perfectly plausible (even if the latter would require a mod).
  • Cardfight!! Vanguard often utilizes this trops - while sometimes it employs Yu-Gi-Oh!-like Hard Light projections for the units, and sometimes summons them with real magic, a lot of time, the card games are simply card games. Regardless, we still see fights between the units, exoplained as being what the fighters are visualizing in their heads.
  • Good Day to You, How About a Game?: The manga is about school girls who play a Mahjong game on their phones. Because staring at a tiny-ass screen for half the manga would get pretty boring, the author spices it up by showing the characters in place of their Digital Avatars, having a heated match around the mahjong table.

    Board Games 
  • Dragon Strike is quite possibly the Ur-Example of this trope: The board game was packed with a 33-minute VHS tape that served as an introduction to the game, showing four players and their DM controlling the events of the fantasy world by playing the game.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation had its own board game called A Klingon Challenge that included a VHS tape, which was meant to be played along with the game. The objective was to retake the Enterprise-D from a Klingon who had holed himself up in the bridge before an hour passed, after which the game would end. Notable in that he would often enact various situations that affected gameplay, such as placing a player in stasis for several turns.

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 
  • Jason's online gaming is shown like this in FoxTrot.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • This may very well have been started by TRON, where Programs were played by the same actor as their users. However, it's subverted in that the Programs are not the same people as their Users and merely just look like the User who created them (at least for the first film). Even then, it's implied by a line by one character that the appearance issue is because a part of the programmer's spirit goes into their creations.
  • Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over featured this, though it was justified as the game in question was a virtual reality game. However, each character's in game avatar was an idealized version of their real world equivalent. The strong character is weak, the cool character is a nerd, and the wheelchair bound grandfather could walk.
  • eXistenZ. The virtual reality game has so many layers that the characters are never quite sure if they're back in reality or not.
    "Are we still in the game?!"
  • The Gamers and its sequel play this for comedy, switching between scenes of the roleplayers sitting at a table and the fantasy world inhabited by the characters as whom they roleplay. Taken to an extreme in the third movie when the party banters with the main villain while waiting for the DM, ending with him asking who is playing him. The second film in the series has a male player playing as a female evil wiz-, sorry chaotic neutral wizard. The in-game actor flips back and forth between the player's actor in drag, and an actual woman. One scene even has them "tag-out", pro-wrestling style.
  • Of Dice and Men has the characters introduce themselves to the audience as if they existed separately from their players, although they are portrayed by the same actors. During the final game sequence, the lines blur a bit, as the characters sometimes speak lines within the game world that are obviously being said by the players at the game table.
  • Free Guy also depicts the players in this way.

  • A common occurrence in And You Thought There Is Never a Girl Online?. Whenever someone's real-life identity is revealed to Hideki, their Legendary Age avatar invariably becomes their real-life self in cosplay.
  • Games in Iain M. Banks's Culture novels can be this way. You can have them in your dreams, too.
  • The Better Than Life game in Red Dwarf is this, particularly since it manages to generate a perfect existence for its users without them even learning that it is fictional. Better Than Life's programming is able to probe an individual's subconsciousness so deeply as to determine exactly what what they would want as their ideal life, one even better than what they are capable of consciously imagining.
  • The entire premise of Tad Williams Otherland series, except those plugged into the network do not necessarily resemble their real selves.
  • Robert J. Defendi's free audiobook Death By Cliche has a unique twist on this trope. The main character is shot, fatally, but rather than dying his consciousness is somehow transported into the world created by a particularly poor DM (who, ironically, is his assailant). He becomes part of a ragtag party of adventurers, who are characters being played by real D&D players who are participating in a campaign run by his assailant. He eventually learns that he has some godlike influence over this world, and semi-intentionally alters the plot of the campaign, without the DM's intent.
  • Interstellar Pig snaps into and out of this whenever combat starts and ends. The game's actual mechanics for resolving battle are never revealed, but if the presentation of the fights is any indication, they're somewhat like the battle mechanics in the anime of Yu-Gi-Oh!.
  • Lisanne Norman's short story Is This Real Enough? starts with an MMORPG player preparing for a raid with his guild, but slowly moves into this as the raid goes catastrophically wrong. Then the players start to realize how strange it is that they're feeling pain when their characters get hurt, and the plot goes somewhere else entirely.
  • In Sword Art Online this is part of the premise - when the villain traps 100,000 players inside an MMORPG, he also changes their avatars to match their real-life appearances (resulting in a brief but funny scene where two players who were previously a seventeen-year-old guy and a young girl turn out to be a skinny, unattractive redhead guy and a short, fat, definitely not seventeen-year-old) and outright tells the players that if they die in the game, they're dead for real. Survivors who later join other MMOs choose avatars resembling themselves out of habit, though other players rarely do so.
  • Ready Player Ones OASIS system is this, combined with Virtual Reality Technology.
  • Players can fully customize their characters in Erebos. The protagonist, Nick, decides against it - But somebody else models their character after him, even naming himself LordNick.
  • Inverted in Log Horizon. Originally a simple MMORPG where characters could customize their looks to themselves or radically different, a major update to the game effectively teleports all those logged at the time into an Alternate Universe as The Game Come to Life. The anime adaptation shows brief moments of adventurers at their computers at play, before the transformation.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Happened once on How I Met Your Mother, showing Ted meeting "Blahblah" (by the time of the retelling he has forgotten her name) in World of Warcraft. They use actual game animation, though, so it gets funny for the non-gamers out there when you find out that Ted is playing the female human and Blahblah is the huge male draenei.
  • Used in an episode of The Big Bang Theory where Penny got addicted to "Age of Conan". Partly subverts the trope in using realistic game footage, but also plays it straight in having no visible interface and blatantly obvious user handles. (Queen Penelope? With no numbers or guild tag?)
  • Done in an episode of Spaced, where an argument between Tim and Daisy is choreographed to a game of Tekken. Every verbal smackdown corresponds to a blow landed in the game and Daisy mimics the victory pose of her game character. "Nina Williams Wins! Daisy Steiner Wins!"
  • Community:
    • Averted in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons and Advanced Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, in which the group, unsurprisingly, play Dungeons & Dragons. Both episodes feature the group simply sitting around a table talking about what they're doing in the game.
      Narrator: And so did the group describe themselves walking, and so did Abed confirm they walked.
    • Not technically gaming, but roleplay, in Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas, where the characters are shown as the stop motion figures that Abed believes everyone has turned into. Averted in a later "clip show" episode containing solely new footage that showed the rest of them sitting around the table uncomfortably playing along with Abed's Christmasland fantasy.
    • Played straight in Digital Estate Planning, where the gang play an 8-bit platformer and most of the action takes place within the game. Abed, naturally, takes things further, falling in love with one of the game characters and raising a family, who come in handy when the time comes to defeat the Final Boss. At the end, Abed saves the character in a flash drive, saying "I told you I'd come back for you."
  • The Total-Immersion Video Games on Red Dwarf. The concept is first introduced via the game "Better Than Life" where players can live out their dream lives. Rimmer's self-loathing proves to be so deep that it corrupts the game for everyone. Lister eventually starts using them to have sex with the various female NPCs since there's no living human women in his life.
  • The V-World on Caprica includes some of these.
  • Young Sheldon: In "A Musty Crypt and a Stick to Pee On", during Sheldon's Dungeons & Dragons game, the players are shown inside a crypt in costume.

  • In Yureka this is Justified as a legal requirement of MMOs (which isn't too far from existing Korean online laws) - your av's appearance defaults to your own, though it can be altered to a limited extent. The restrictions are looser in VR-space outside of MMOs, but everyone still looks somewhat like their real appearance.

    Music Videos 
  • The video for Operation Ground and Pound by DragonForce shows guitarists Herman Li and Sam Totman playing a fighting game on a TurboGrafix 16, with their own bodies inserted over those of the in-game characters.
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers' video for Californication makes great use of this.
  • The video for Architecture In Helsinki's song "Do the Whirlwind" turns the band into 16 bit style sprite characters and ends with them in a version of Pac-Man — all thanks to the art of Paul Robertson.

    Print Media 
  • The Dragon column "Dungeon Mastery" was occasionally illustrated by a comic strip that used the trope. The "real world" of the players was in a more realistic art style than the world of the game, but they were recognisably the same people.

    Puppet Shows 

    Video Games 
  • Invoked in the DLC Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep in Borderlands 2. While you're using your characters, in-game it's represented as Tiny Tina hosting a game of Bunkers & Badasses, and the game is being played by Lilith, Mordecai, and Brick. They will all comment regularly throughout the story missions, and during some of the sidequests as well. In odd twist, Lilith and friends play as the player characters from Borderlands 2, while the real ones are interrogating a Hyperion prisoner. Brick plays Maya for example. This got expanded into it's own game, Tiny Tina's Wonderlands, where three stranded mercenaries agree to play a campaign with Tina to pass the time until rescue, this time with actual classes from the game. While the Overworld map is represented by a model being moved around, dungeons are presented as a classic Borderlands-style FPS/ARPG.
  • Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online has the central conceit that the characters from previous Neptunia games are playing the titular 4 Goddesses Online, an in-universe MMO (this level of meta is nothing out of the ordinary). All the characters' default avatars look exactly like themselves, and like everything else, this is lampshaded. Neptune considered getting her avatar to look as cute as her real self a challenge, Vert considers the resemblance vital to immersion, Noire wanted her avatar's outfit to be easy to cosplay, Blanc realized that fixing her main complex with her appearance would just get her mocked, Nepgear and Uni aren't familiar with MMOs and didn't think to do anything outlandish, and Rom and Ram both wanted to see their Squishy Wizard selves acting as physical classes in-game.
  • A Variation: In Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, it's possible to seenote  Donkey Kong either playing Mario Kart 7 or playing Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D on his 3DS, both games that include Donkey Kong himself as a playable character. Because of this, he plays as himself in both games.
  • Edna & Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes takes this to its logical conclusion: playing a tabletop video game is equivalent to, and has the same mechanics as, entering a hypnotic trance. Lilli even encounters a personified hypnotic suggestion in the game (much to the confusion of the DM, who finds himself describing a character he didn't create.)
  • In I Was a Teenage Exocolonist, Nomi's CG during their five-heart event has them cosplaying as their Legends of Avamar archer inside the game.
  • Mighty Gunvolt Burst: The “plots” of the Gal*Gun characters’ campaigns all revolve around playing Mighty Gunvolt Burst itself, leading to this trope.
  • Phantasy Star Online 2 manages to play with this. In-universe players of PSO2 are often depicted as interacting with other characters in-game, including the Player Character. Except in-universe players are playing the game, while the Player Character and his/her allies are actual entities, and they coexist. Also, the Digital Avatars of the players also coexist with the players and the ARKS and aren't actually digital like the players are meant to believe. It's rather complicated.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 
  • This is a staple for any Webcomic about video gaming (and it's not like there are many of those), so:
  • Happened in a few Megatokyo strips.
  • Happens a lot in PvP.
  • The IM program in El Goonish Shive. The author actually Lampshaded this trope the second time it was used.
    • Also the semi-canonical game of Black & White in the NP strips.
    • The storyline "Duel of the Discs" does this with a Magic: The Gathering style card game. Mr Tensaided is very impressed with how immersed Grace gets.
      Tensaided: You roleplayed. You paid perfect attention, and yet you pictured our game as an actual wizard duel so vividly that you cried out after Justin took a bad hit.
    • "Squirrel Prophet" is set at another tournament of the same game, and does the same thing, especially with Sarah being The Roleplayer.
    • This is also frequently done in the video-game parody storylines of EGS:NP, although with the NP strips being of questionable continuity unless specifically stated, Dan sometimes goes back and forth within a story between "this represents a game Grace is playing" and "this is an AU where Grace is the game character".
    • "Who Is Ellen?" Part 2 features a roleplaying game and has scenes set within the game where George, Rich and Larry are all shown as their characters. Nananse, who finds it harder to get "into" the game than the others (and whose character is from the real world anyway), is repesented as herself, still sitting on her chair. Larry is also shown as his real self within the gameworld when he's metagaming, and transforms back into his character when called on it.
  • Happened in one panel in The Wotch, and it used magic.
    • Used more frequently in a later chapter, about a role-playing session.
  • In Something*Positive, all game characters qualify.
  • Chainmail Bikini neatly fits this description, as the scene shifts back and forth between chararacters-in-gameworld and players-at-table views. When a newcomer took over one of the characters in the RPG, that character's face changed to represent the new player.
  • DM of the Rings and Darths & Droids are based entirely around this concept with the images taken from The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars respectively, but with all the speech being comments made by the players of a tabletop RPG following that story. The same applies to any Campaign Comic, after these two launched the trend.
  • The Fantasy and Space themes of Irregular Webcomic! are this. Space tends to go a lot deeper, to the point where it's a major surprise when Paris drops out of character after being so disgusted by A Wizard Did It. And it's even more of a surprise when she gets no response, possibly because Me had been killed some strips earlier. There's been no follow-up in the Space theme about this. (Though it had once been declared that DMM from the Me theme isn't the same as DMM as the GM, the fact remains that neither GM has been seen since.)
    • At the beginning the Cliffhangers theme was this as well (note that, like the other two, it's titled after a GURPS genre book) but that got dropped very quickly.
  • Several strips of Loserz, starting with this one.
  • Weregeek uses this throughout.
    • It has fun with it in an early storyline — it's set up so that initially, you don't know for certain whether what you're seeing is a real-world flash-forward sequence, or the game of Shadowrun that was briefly mentioned earlier.
  • Dork Tower does this with RPGs
  • This happens in the "Years of Yarncraft" story of Sluggy Freelance. Everyone's characters look almost exactly like them, with adjustments by fantasy race played, and act like people capable of a full set of normal actions, and some non-player characters also act as if sapient.
  • Real Life Comics plays this trope straight in whatever game the cast happens to be interested in at the time.
  • My Roommate Is an Elf has this when the character play 'Offices And Businessmen', a tabletop Dungeons & Dragons parody.
  • The World of Warcraft comic Hammer of Grammar played with this when a character, represented by her in-game avatar, is seen seated in front of a computer at the character creation screen, rolling a new character, who then features in the next several strips.
  • The Unspeakable Vault (of Doom) is weird about this. Almost all the time, the events of the strip are presented "as-is"—Cthoolhoo eats someone, for instance, and we have to take it for granted that such is a canonical occurrence. Every once in a while, an event involving supernatural investigators turns out to be an example of this trope, usually right after everyone's character gets eaten. And on one occasion, the roleplayers themselves got eaten by Cthoolhoo.
  • Speak With Monsters initially focuses on the game world, but quite blatantly uses Negative Continuity, and often has elements that don't quite fit together from a Watsonian perspective. Later strips sometimes show the people playing the game, and demonstrate their personalities and how said personalities affect the game world.
  • So far Original Life has done it with Gears of War, Mass Effect, and Fallout: New Vegas. In the latter two cases it's somewhat justified.
    • The previous series that led to Original Life, Better Days featured a chapter in which Lucy joins her boyfriend's D&D group, and in a single afternoon manages to complete the story arc that was supposed to last them months.
  • There are several smaller arcs in Sequential Art that show Pip as he appears in Realm of Lorcraft. There was even an arc in which the whole gang played the Lorcraft board game, with Pip as the Evil Overlord, Art as an Elemental Mage, Kat as a Shadow Assassin, and the Think Tank playing as a single Knight.
    • This showed up again when Pip and Art played Minecraft. Granted, the game lets you customize your own skin for your avatar, but not to the extent they did (you cannot add glasses, ahoge, or eyebrows to your character, for instance).
  • Dissonance: Gen is introduced this way, shooting a teammate for not following instructions.
  • Deconstructed in Critical Miss: Erin often interacts with video game characters, but they're hallucinations brought on by trauma from a car accident. It's frequently shown that she's really talking to nobody.
  • Dumnestor's Heroes follows a campaign this way.
  • Homestuck takes this to an extreme, not only is the game total immersion, it destroys the universe to create a new one.
  • Happens occasionally in Full Frontal Nerdity. Usually, the group refuse to do anything sufficiently in character for Deep Immersion Gaming to be appropriate.
  • The in-universe MMORPG crossover segments of the webcomics Sunstone and Blood Stain use this for the reader's benefit in determining what the protagonists' avatars look like. Dr. Stein in particular is said to intentionally customize his character to look like himself.
  • Briefly invoked and then subverted in The Order of the Stick: during Belkar's semi-hallucinogenic dream sequence, Shojo tells Belkar that he must learn to "play the game". Cut to Belkar, Shojo, and Mr. Scruffy sitting in "normal" clothing at a table with dice, character sheets, and a DM screen for Shojo. Belkar, confused, tries to clarify that the webcomic is not a representation of an actual campaign, but merely a world where D&D 3.5 edition rules apply. Shojo confirms this to be true (thus confirming in-universe what Word of the Giant had answered many, many times before and putting an end to the debate), and the dream continues as scheduled. Although the game metaphor is extended throughout the rest of the page, the pair is never shown in modern clothes after that.
  • Guilded Age: Takes the trope to its logical conclusion.
  • Most of the action of Magience takes place in a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game.

    Web Videos 
  • Most of The Guild's season 4 finale is presented this way, with the live-action cast appearing dressed as their avatars, like they did in the "Do You Want to Date My Avatar" music video.
  • Video Game High School is practically built on this trope.
  • Parodied in Suede's review of Pokémon: The First Movie. He, Linkara, and Jew Wario are given access to a Pokémon MMORPG. When they enter, Suede and Linkara look like animated versions of themselves... and JW looks like himself but female. This horrifies the other two, and he begrudgingly switches to male.
  • The Onion uses this in their report on World of World of Warcraft, a fictional game which itself is an aversion.
  • Noob happens mostly in the MMORPG all the characters are playing.
  • 1 For All takes place inside a Dungeons & Dragons game, although it does flash back out for rolls and player interaction. On one occasion, there has been a little spill from the real-world to the game world ("Stealthy Approach"), as a killed guard kept repeating to the guild to roll perception.

    Western Animation 
  • In Casper's Scare School episode "Bands on the Run", Jimmy plays Guitar Hero. His avatar resembles him with long hair and dressed as a rock star.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Marge Gamer", all characters in an MMORPG Bart and Marge played were clearly fantasy versions of other Springfield residents. Apparently, everyone in town plays on the same server, by some Contrived Coincidence. They all managed to create characters who look exactly like themselves, except for minor details (Marge's character is basically her with elf ears, for example.)
  • Everlot in the Kim Possible episode "Virt-u-ron". Ron recognizes the villain in-game (it's an MMORPG, and the villain's been capturing all the other players) from his voice and mannerisms in the real world. The villain then reveals himself by removing the helmet of his in-game avatar. And the Tunnellord actually has Rufus' face under his helmet.
  • South Park did this with the actual game of World of Warcraft. As they used machinima footage from the real game, they couldn't put the character's heads on the in-game characters, but the characters still looked similar: Stan and Kyle wore clothing the same color as their hats, Cartman was a short, fat Dwarf in red, and Kenny wore orange.
    • In "Good Times With Weapons," the boys pretend to be ninjas, and the show flips back and forth between what is really going on and what is happening in their game. Their game is presented in an anime style, and each boy appears as a musclebound, adult ninja, with vague resemblances to his actual appearance and clothing.
  • The cast of Chaotic do this literally.
  • Happened in an episode of Danny Phantom; played straight with Danny and Tucker, but initially averted with Sam, whose online Avatar looked nothing like her real-world appearance... until she disabled a holographic mask to reveal her real face. Her size and build were still completely different, though you could see her ponytail even before the big reveal.
  • In ReBoot, the User is never seen except through their avatar in whichever game they are presently playing, as the entire story takes place within a computer, and, you may not know it, but in the ReBoot-verse, every time you play a game, you're endangering the computer people.
  • In The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, Jimmy literally invents a machine to go inside any video game.
  • In the American Dad! episode "Dungeons and Wagons", Jeff, Steve, and their friends obsess over an Everquest or World of Warcraft-esque fantasy MMO called Dragon Scuffle, and all events in the game are drawn in a completely different style from the main show, though all of the characters speak with the voice of their player. Downright hysterical when Steve's massive warrior speaks with Steve's scrawny voice.
  • Adventure Time had fun with this, and old-style Atari graphics.
  • The entire point of Captain N: The Game Master.
  • The Duck Dodgers episode "MMORPD (Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Duck)" does this too. Justified as being a Virtual Reality game in the future.
  • The episode "Monsters & Mana" in the sixth season of Voltron: Legendary Defender. It's a Breather Episode before things start getting really heavy.
  • The DuckTales (2017) episode "Happy Birthday, Doofus Drake!" features this when Huey and Della play Legends of Legendquest.