Avatars have been part of the Internet for a very long time. I once had a book called Avatars! by Bruce Damer that documented many of the early attempts at virtual worlds. Alphaworld was one of the ones I regularly used because my brother was researching them at the time. We were flying around in blocky pixel renderings of avatars, but pretending it was really like Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash. It certainly felt a step up from text-based MUDs and MOOs, until it got a little boring because we didn’t know anyone else.