Monday, September 15, 2008

Dorkness Rising

Back in 2003 I picked up a copy of an Independent film called The Gamers. I was attracted to it because it explored that area I'm so fascinated by, the place where fiction overlaps with reality. The Gamers followed the adventures of a group of geeks playing a game that while not specifically named, was obviously Dungeons and Dragons. The clever bit was that the game was shown both in the real world and in the world of the game, so you get to see the players as their characters. The film was very low budget and I mean very, and yet it had a certain charm to it. I've watched it several times over the last few years.
Last week I picked up a copy of the sequel, The Gamers II: Dorkness Rising. I won't say that the second one is better than the original but it's certainly as good, and it has somewhat higher production values and a better script. It's much more like a real movie and less like something put together by some bright college students.
This movie has a completely different group of gamers (though one of the actors from the original group is back) going through a new adventure and this time the filmmakers had the cooperation of Wizards of the Coast, the company that owns Dungeons and Dragons, so in this movie the game is shown clearly to be D&D. The plot basically concerns a young man named Kevin Lodge who wants to write a Gaming Module, and is attempting to test it out on his regular gaming group. He wants to finish the adventure before writing the module, but the group can't seem to get all the way to the end without getting killed. Plus, the members of his group are a bunch of hardcore power gamers who keep taking the adventure off course.
Desperate to finish the game, Lodge asks the group to try and find some new players, but unfortunately his group has a reputation and no one will join. One of the members finally convinces an ex-girlfriend to join the game which makes for some interesting results.
There are a lot of in-jokes in this movie and I probably only got about 80% of them. For others you'd have to be a gamer yourself and my experience with table top role-playing games is limited to one very disappointing game of Dungeons and Dragons several years ago. However I do play on-line games and I have a lot of friends who are true gamers, so my working knowledge of the gaming sub culture is pretty good. There are also a couple of in-jokes that you'll only get if you saw the original Gamers. Oh, and in one scene one of the characters wears an X-Crawl t-shirt. X-Crawl is an RPG created by my buddy Brett, and I did some artwork for the original source book, so that was kind of cool.
Anyway, I really enjoyed Gamers II and I'm sure I'll be watching it again. You can check out the trailer at:

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