An avatar is a game player's on-screen representative in the game world.
Depending on the type of game being played, the player may view the avatar from a third-person view or inhabit the avatar directly, as in first-person perspective games. Some games allow direct control over the player's avatar—games in which players use joysticks to help their avatar navigate on screen are examples of this approach. Other games allow only indirect or partial avatar control, for example through manipulation of the game world.
Most games have clearly identifiable avatars. In games with narratives, the avatar is nearly always the protagonist of the story. However, there are cases in which the concept of an in-game "avatar" does not apply. "God games," games in which the player has direct control over the game world and makes choices that affect multiple in-game characters, are one such example. Puzzle games such as Tetris, and strategy games such as video game versions of chess, also do not generally include avatars.
In recent years, game console operating systems have begun to include avatar-like features, in which players create digital representations of themselves that may then appear in certain games. Examples include Nintendo's Miis and Microsoft's Avatars.