'The World of Warcraft,' and similar multi-player interactive online games such as 'Second Life', have millions of players. The documentary shows that the games are the centerpieces of a huge and highly profitable industry, one that has developed its own culture, with social organizations -- clans and syndicates -- that have specific codes of behavior, as well as a wide range of products and merchandise.
Cast of Characters
Online, players, represented by self-designed avatars, go on quests and do battle, flirt, celebrate conquests. The gamers are mostly young twenty or thirty-something singles.
In addition to three roommates and several couples -- who could well be your family members, co-workers, classmates or friends -- we meet game creators, Chinese gold farmers, business analysts, psychologists and the leader of The World of Warcraft syndicate.
Theme and IntentThe documentary is an insightful psychological study that focuses on a range of specific gamers, but has broader implications about the impact that the creation of alternative realities in cyberspace can have on real life behavior and expectations. The gamers' high degree of concentration on cyberspace artificiality is alarming, and there are other disturbing issues raised by their dependence on elements of a world that simply isn't real.
The way that director Juan Carlos Pineiro-Escoriaza bounces back and forth between the real world and cyberspace, capturing the interactions of players and their avatars, is a smart and entertaining way of presenting the film's subjects and theme. The footage shot in gamers' homes is intimate, revealing and funny. The graphics are superb.
Second Skin is entertaining, intriguing and gives you a lot to think about whether you're a gamer or not. It's entree into an unusual and surprisingly well populated corner of our complex contemporary world.
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- Title: Second Skin
- Director: Juan Carlos Pineiro-Escoriaza
- Release Date: August 7, 2009
- Running Time: 94 mins.
- Parents Advisory: Advisory for content
- Location: various US cities
- Language: English
- Company: Pure West Films