Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Night Gamers - A documentary

Via the Minnesota-based vlog, Minnesota Stories.

Because it's not enough to only want to play it, someone has to document it.


There is no stronger advocate for the Live Action roleplaying scene than I, however there is NOTHING more boring than watching (to quote my old buddies Kevin and Wayne) "a bunch of well dressed geeks standing around in a hot room on a Saturday night playing Rock, Paper Scissors."

The magic of the live action game has always been the participation and unlike video games, which have brought us Machinima, roleplaying is a personal experience that exists in the participant's imagination. It takes a whole lot of suspension of disbelief to pull yourself out of the environment and into the moment and I'm afraid that a documentary just won't quite catch that. What it does catch is lines like "I'm using Awe! Look this way!" or the clumsily delivered lines that sound wonderful in the moment, but seem tossed together, melodramatic and overly-accented and clipped when viewed later.

That said, if the documentary's aim is to explore the "what" and the "why" rather than the "how", there could be some interest.

This verité-style documentary explores a theatrical game in which participants dress and act like vampires. Gaming, especially Live-Action Roleplaying, has created a subculture that few people know about. Meet Cole, a 25-year-old office worker who spends one night a month as an immortal old woman. Follow Scott, a struggling young writer, as his character, Prince Margrave, is dethroned. As he tries to retrieve his place of power, he discovers that the conspiracy behind his defeat may have been personal rather than just part of the game.

In an imaginary world where fights are solved by paper-rock-scissors and red Kool-Aid stands in as blood, it is not difficult to tell fantasy from reality. The documentary, NIGHT GAMERS, explores the reality dictated by fantasy.

Keep it on the radar and see where it goes. The real-world bitching and infighting was always an interesting element of the scene. It was amazing how the internal politics of ancient creatures were so driven by the fickle relationships of those young men and women who played them.

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