I miss my gamer days. I actually do, but the problem is I was never a true gamer, but more of a casual player. I just wanted to run a game once a month or so, and it’s hard to find a group like that (even the guys I would play Heroclix with were always way more into it hat me, playing a couple times a week as opposed to me playing a couple times a month). I never did D&D (I know it’s fantasy, but I don’t dig having to deal with other deities. I have one God and he’s sufficient.) but would regularly play Earthdawn, Night Life ( Like Vampire the Masquerade, but less pretentious) and Star Trek (Which turned into the most popular one amongst my group). We even did a game night for one of my three bachelor parties.
I’m sure I mentioned the Gamers 2 on this blog a year or two ago, but I can’t seem to find the post to link to it. In any event, it’s a fun movie that captures the spirit of gaming, moving back and forth between the players sitting at the table playing, and shifting into the scenario itself, showing up the adventure they are having. It’s funny, and has a lot of heart – and despite being a sequal, is actually a superior film to the less than memorable The Gamers.
This weekend I watched Zero Charisma, a crowdfunded take on gamer life which originally screened at the Tribeca Film Festival. The main character is the archtype of the loser gamer – the one who lives with his parents (or in this case grandmother) feels entitled, the rule lawyer and obnoxious type. It’s not a bad film. The direction is good and there really is a story here. The main problem is having someone totally unlikable as the protagonist (and in certain ways antagonist). We don’t see much of an arc with him…he might have grown just a teensy bit at the close of the movie but I’m not sure. I feel I can cut him some slack when I see his mother (who abandoned him at an early age) and the truth is, as obnoxious as he is, he’s right about a few things. That doesn’t save his life from falling apart though, and in the end, you really can’t say he doesn’t deserve it. We spend an hour and a half laughing with him and cringing at him. It manages to be beautifully sad in the end.
I also hit up Knights of Badassdom. This one takes place at a LARP and ask the question what would happen if a bunch of gamers used a real spell book by accident and summoned a real demon? It’s directed by Joe Lynch, who I’ve been enjoying on Holliston and was recommend by Ted over on the Horror Ect podcast. It’s great. A fun time in gamer culture, with some outside characters to ground us. Peter Dinklidge is amazing here by the way. This is before Game of thrones, but he is an absolutely brilliant warrior in this. It manages to be tense, funny, bloody and fun all on a budget about equal to what you might pay for a happy meal at McDonalds. This, by the way is exactly my beef with the SyFy channel. They constantly put out soulless boring, stupid films on shoestring budgets with lousy CG on budgets about the same as what we see here. If this were the kind of movie SyFy was running on Saturdays, I’d be glued to the TV. Find some filmmakers with passion and a hook like this and give me some good films and you could win me back I and second. In any event, Knights is a high recommend along with the Gamers 2. Zero Charisma isn’t bad per se, but go in knowing its going to be a little depressing…there’s no rewatchability on that one.
I really have to run and get some Violent Blue done. I’m trying to do a topical series this week, but I can feel the window closing on me before I have to dip into the buffer and post a different strip. Still, before I go I’m going to throw a fun little music video in here. Also well done, though I’m not sure if gamer culture is being celebrated here or satirized…