One of the indie films I enjoyed at the 2008 South By Southwest Film Festival was a documentary called Second Skin, which is about the culture behind the gamers who inhabit the virtual online worlds of World or Warcraft, Everquest and Second Life.
Over 50 million people around the world live in these online worlds, and Second Skin takes a look at a few of the characters in this space, running the gamut from a couple who met online in WOW and will be meeting for the first time ever in the real world, to a young man who’s addiction to WOW drove him to move into a boarding house as part of a 12-step online gamers self help group called Online Gamers Anonymous.
The entire film is now available for free online via Hulu. Watch it now after the jump.
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The Merriam-Webster Dictionary added the word “fanboy” last year, and they list its first usage as 1919. Sadly, they don’t provide any examples for that usage. Curly Lambeau founded the Green Bay Packers that year in Wisconsin, but I don’t think he had throngs of fanboys around him just yet. For the record, Merriam-Webster defines a fanboy as, “A boy who is an enthusiastic devotee (as of comics or movies).” Interesting that they don’t include the term fangirl, which I hear all the time. Can’t a girl be just as enthusiastic as a boy, Merriam-Webster?
Although fanboys really came into common usage when it applied to comic book fans, since the 90s it’s come to cover enthusiasts of movies, video games, TV shows, music, and anything else people seem to line up for. It’s also grown out of its original usage as a derogatory word used to conjure up images of people like the Comic Book Guy on The Simpsons, and has become the marketing demographic that every company covets.
Given the rise of the power and size (no pun intended) of fans, it’s only normal that film cameras would start turning the other direction to document the phenomenon of fandom. First you have films that generate fans, then fans start making their own films, inspired by their fandom, then films that are made about the fans, and finally fictionalized movies depicting fans of fictional shows. It’s come full circle, and in today’s GeekBomb we explore the world of films about fans.
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Last night I was able to catch a great movie called Second Skin (bad title), about the culture behind the gamers who inhabit the virtual online worlds of World or Warcraft, Everquest and Second Life. Over 50 million people around the world live in these online worlds, and Second Skin takes a look at a few of the characters in this space, running the gambit from a couple who met online in WOW and will be meeting for the first time ever in the real world, to a young man who’s addiction to WOW drove him to move into a boarding house as part of a 12-step online gamers self help group called Online Gamers Anonymous.
Most of the people who play these online games are addicted, attracted by the idea of an open playing field where everyone starts with zero, and physical attributes are customizable. Most of the players form groups and fight together in Guilds, some of which have their own extensive application processes complete with personality profiles.
Second Skin is a fantastic look into the lives of people that live in two dimensions, but at what cost or gain?Â And then there is the idea of time investment being converted in virtual assets that now have a physical value attached. Over a hundred thousand gold farmers operate out of China, creating an un-level playing field where gold and advanced levels can be bought instead of earned.
But Second Skin is not an anti-gaming, it treats the unique and quirky cast of video game geeks with respect, probably too much at times. Most of my friends are obsessive video gamers, maybe not of the mmorpg variety, but still, I recognize a lot of them in the characters featured in this film. Second Skin could have been Trekkies for hardcore online video gamers, but at times holds back on this type of humor. I feel like the filmmakers, chose to protect some of these characters rather than give full access to the quirks connected with hardcore gamers.
Some relationships are tested by the game, and others formed. One married couple plays online every night for 6 hours in the same room, but on separate computers. Together but apart, but again together virtually. Another couple of friends engage in a week long race to level 70 when a new WOW expansion pack is released.
You don’t have to be a video game player to enjoy Second Skin, and you might even enjoy the film more if you you aren’t.
/Film Rating: 7.5 out of 10
A few movie trailers for films playing in the 2008 South by South West Film Festival have popped up online. Check out the trailers for Blip Festival: Reformat the Planet, Second Skin and New Orleans Mon Amour after the jump.
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