Alan (my also-a-rock-star husband whose work you can check out on his website, and I just finished up watching a documentary of sorts on Hulu called "Gamers."  Predictably, it delved into the world of online social gaming - especially MMOs or Massive Multi-player Online games - looking at such hugely popular examples as World of Warcraft and EverQuest.

The doc itself was, eh, okay.  While sweet, it failed to capture the humor, texture, and nuance of this wildly influential subculture and the people who subscribe to it with such fervor.   It often presented too many opinions simultaneously and there were several sequences that seemed like they had been much more fun to film than they ever would be to watch.  But it was only an hour and, in that time, it gave a thoughtful glimpse at some interesting characters - both on- and off-line.  (Some much better examples are the now classic "Trekkies" and its sequel and, my personal favorite, "King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters."  Now there are a couple of docs with some real heart.)

Nonetheless, the thing that always strikes me about films like "Gamers" is how utterly accepting these communities are.  The people highlighted are white, black, straight, gay, transgender, Jewish, pagan, Evangelical, heavy, bespectacled, borderline anorexic, pot-smoking, day-job working, mothers, orphans, in cities, on farms, and wearing Dilbert ties and wielding swords.  No one cares who you are as long as you conduct your level 70 battle dwarf honorably.  And that's amazing.

I had friends who gamed in high school, and I've even been to GenCon once or twice, but it was never a world I felt drawn to.  That air of escapism, of avoiding the real world... it just never appealed to me.  For many it is a retreat, but for some, social gaming acts as a testing ground.  Alliances, even friendships are formed and tested.  There's emotional investment, and a true social aspect to play.  That's what fascinates me about it now.    

In the coming months I will certainly take time to explore social gaming more as it relates to the power of collaboration in the broader field of social media.  In the meantime, I welcome any thoughts on gaming, gamers, or better documentaries available on Hulu.    
2/28/2011 12:25:59 pm

Watch 'We Are Wizards." on hulu about the subculture of Harry Potter inspired rock bands. Amazing from many perspectives. Very endearing.

4/19/2012 09:27:50 pm

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