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Mar 19, 2008



Based only on the trailer and the articles you cite + comments, I get the feeling this is another of those glass half-full vs. half-empty perspectives that can't help but be polarizing: gamers-as-freaks versus everyone-else-as-freak'n-luddites. Given the range of opinions expressed in the above material, perhaps it might even be balanced in a less charged atmosphere? I'll wait for someone who as actually seen the full documentary to decide this one. ;-)

Hypothetically, even if one had a "balanced" documentary, I think it would be difficult to achieve consensus. On the one hand gamers seem to reflexively defend everything that goes on in virtual/game worlds (yea some of it is unflattering). On the other hand, a lot of what goes on in virtual worlds can be a damn inspiring statement about the human condition (leadership opportunities for those who don't normally have it, cross-boundary social engagement class/ethnicity/gender/age, teamwork...) that often seems lost. The problem is that if you're not there, you likely don't have much of a clue; or conversely, if you are there, it is way too easy to circle the wagons at the first sign of criticism.


I would be very interested to see a study that attempts to shed more insight into the psychology of flaming and other conflicts among gamers and between gamers and non-gamers.

And yes, some people may find more freedoms online than they can in real life but after 5 years on EQ, any naive beliefs of utopia and the intrinsic goodness in online communities I had went right out the window (and have never returned). People are people, regardless of the place of existence.


Btw, I was interviewed at the beginning of their filming for this, and at this point, I'm far too wary (and self-conscious) to go and see it on big screen. So I will hopefully get a full look when it comes out for personal viewing.


Is this actually distributed under Fair Use or just one of those great documentaries you have to buy?


Thanks, Jane.

Nate -- Yeah, that may be right. Kind of like the duck/rabbit picture -- you see what you're inclined to see.

Nicolas -- They're looking for a distribution deal at the moment. If they do that, then you'll be able to see it somewhere and possibly buy it at some point. Personally, I'm hoping they get some kind of deal just so I can see what they've come up with.


I'm one of the subjects of the film...I was actually contacted by the documentary filmmakers after posting on this site regarding an article one of your contributors had written about the benefits of meeting people in virtual environments.

I'd like to comment about the reviewers who chose to perceive my relationship with Kevin Keel as a "doomed" one (thank you, Eric), and also seem to be under the impression that average people with average jobs (I'm a mortgage processor at the moment, but have a degree in education, and Kevin has a degree in theater and worked in customer service and tech support...I think we really are fairly average) are somehow representative of the worst stereotypes of gamers out there. I thought as I read Mr. Zimmerman's review that he would only have been happy had the filmmakers interviewed someone like my brother, with his six figure salary and his Ferrari, whose wife and daughter both also play MMO's. His lifestyle is SO much more photogenic than mine, and obviously the uneducated masses need to know that there are successful people out there who play MMO's. I like to think of myself as doing well enough, coping with a chronic illness on my own while not living in my parents' spare room, which was at one point a fair likelihood given that my prescriptions without insurance run a fair penny. Still, it was obvious I, too, would have needed a Ferrari at the least to meet Mr. Zimmerman's criteria for success.

As he did not bother to watch the movie carefully enough to correctly name the game that Kevin and I play (or read the press kit, I would assume - it's EQ2, not WoW), I have to wonder if Mr. Zimmerman paid similar attention to the rest of the movie, or only bothered to pick out those things that supported his view of the film as full of stereotypes. If you read the comments of a non-reviewer who also attended the film upon reading the Gamasutra review, you saw that person say they wondered if the reviewer had seen the same film. I have to wonder that myself.

I wonder how all the Indiana guys feel being described as having "dead end jobs" when in reality their jobs are no better or worse than the vast majority of Americans. They have houses, wives, cars, bills to pay and insurance, they can afford a few little luxuries with friends....isn't that the American life for a great many people? Since when did a professional with a BMW become the face of America? It certainly isn't a life that is led by millions of people around the world who play MMO's.

And I think that was really the point for the filmmakers, they didn't have the desire to show Michael Jordans of the MMO world who were leading raids at night as they were corporate raiders by day. The point was to present ordinary people with average lives that people like my cubicle mate whose husband plays WoW could relate to. Her husband is an auto body mechanic. He's one of the guys. This movie is for them. It's not for the reviewers, the academics, or the statisticians who want more cold hard facts on gold farmers and the economic impact of trading in Lindens. It's for the people like my parents who have watched and listened to their kids talk about these games for years now and still don't really know what an MMO is.

For now, though, I'm going to head off the computer, as today was another ten hour day, and go watch the episode of Top Chef Kevin and I DVR'd last night. It's been over a year now and things are going very well. Thank you for your good wishes, Eric =)


Hey Heather!

I have to echo Heather's remarks about Mr. Zimmerman's seeming judgement of our lives and our relationships. Karalee and I are happily married, were at the time of the film and will be for what I consider the forseeable future (i.e.;forever). We have two wonderful sons that are the joy of my life. I can't wait until I get home to see them, spend time with them and get to know them. No epic lewtz or Raid boss kill could ever replace that.

For those who are reserving judgement, thank you.

For those who are going into this already having judged the film, please, open your mind. Abandon preconceived notions and try to remember that we're just regular folks with a hobby that we're passionate about.

This film doesn't portray myself or the other Indiana guys as people with Dead-End jobs, no lives or any other stereo type. Rather it celebrates the fact that we can play WoW (In some segments quite a bit, but there is a reason for that which I won't delve into since some people have yet to see the film) and live normal, happy, social lives in the physical and the virtual worlds.

The film doesn't potray Heather and Kevin or even Myself and my wife or Anthony and his wife as Doomed. It shows us as...well...normal couples with normal problems and working thru them in a normal way.

To me, it feels like Mr. Zimmerman has a much different view of what your "average" gamer is than what the actual gamer is. Perhaps he should spend a little less time in the studio making/designing games and a little more time getting to know the people who he is supposedly representing to the public. If he is shocked and disgusted by what he saw in the film, then it is possible that he really doesn't know who/what the average gamer is.

I say these things out of all respect for Mr. Zimmerman as I know that he is deeply involved with Gamer Advocacy, as I am myself, but there comes a point where the Public Voice/experts become disassociated with their constituency.

As one of the subject of this film, and therefore possibley most likely to be offended/angered by what I saw, I feel that the film was honest. The film portrayed us honestly, as passionate gamers living our lives.


Oh yeah, one more thing...

The "Fortress of Dorkitude" is ultimately a bachelor pad...and as such...well, it looks like every bachleor pad I've ever been in, except just add 4 computers to the living room.


Nate--"The problem is that if you're not there, you likely don't have much of a clue; or conversely, if you are there, it is way too easy to circle the wagons at the first sign of criticism."

Too true! I'm attempting to write a dissertation on MMORPGs (specifically ones with "medieval" settings), and I have a devil of a time trying to explain to my adviser what exactly I'm doing (so far I think I've succeeded, as he's allowing the project to go forward). Seemingly more so than most earlier media, MMOGs have an experiential component that's incredibly hard to explain or reproduce, which makes even talking about them with uninvolved parties a complete chore. Thank goodness that people are continuing to do it, though-- the form is getting to be too prevalent not to address.

Thanks to the folks involved with the film who have posted-- I'm definitely looking forward to seeing Second Skin, should it make it to my local independent theatre.


I wouldn't take it seriously, being a subject in the film they greatly distorted, exaggerated, reedited and flat out lied about the story I provided them with. I'm actually in the process of seeking legal action against the makers. If anyone has any suggestions send them my way. :-)

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