Exploring the Uncanny Valley with Japanese Video Game Characters


DiGRA '07 - Proceedings of the 2007 DiGRA International Conference: Situated Play
The University of Tokyo, September, 2007
Volume: 4
ISBN / ISNN: ISSN 2342-9666

Dr. Masahiro Mori's robotics design theory, the Uncanny Valley, has become a common reference in virtual character design. The theory holds that robots whose appearance is very close to being human, but not fully, will evoke a very negative human reaction. The theory is often referenced in design outside of robots, especially in video games, but there is very little data to support this application. The attempts at photorealistic graphics in the latest round of video game hardware have made reference to the valley common in even mass media discussion. This study asked 60 subjects their opinions on 75 different virtual characters from both inside and outside video games to investigate the relationship between human-like appearance and attraction. The results found definite parallels between Mori's predictions with robots and subject opinion on virtual characters, and have direct application to video game character design.