From April 23rd through April 29th, cinema screens near the MIT campus will flicker to life with the 2008 Independent Film Festival of Boston, and one film in particular has caught our eye: Second Skin, a documentary about the lives of gamers. From the film's website:
Second Skin takes an intimate look at computer gamers whose lives have been transformed by the emerging genre of Massively Multiplayer Online games (MMOs). World of Warcraft, Second Life, and Everquest allow millions of users to simultaneously interact in virtual spaces. Second Skin introduces us to couples who have fallen in love without meeting, disabled players who have found new purpose, addicts, Chinese gold-farming sweatshop workers, wealthy online entrepreneurs and legendary guild leaders - all living in a world that doesn't quite exist.
The press I've caught about the film so far has been intriguing. From The Austin Chronicle:
The doc is a car wreck in rush hour, even from a gamer's perspective: You can't look away no matter how depressing, unbelievable, or grotesque the story becomes. But this isn't just the pitfalls of the gaming industry; it's a hell of a lot of fun. Mixing expert opinion with amazingly true testimonials, Second Skin might just be the most accurate and entertaining glimpse of the economy and psychology of technology since Tron.
And, according to The Escapist:
Documentary nuts walk away having seen a window into yet another strange world. And gamers walk away feeling like they had seen seen their life story, with slick editing, a peppy soundtrack, and the seductive polish of an Apple commercial.
Not all the reviews are positive, as in Gamasutra:
Beyond my disappointment that the film never even mentioned Second Life, I was bummed that the most interesting aspects of this new medium were barely explored. How we experience ourselves is unarguably impacted by our relationship with virtual worlds and MMOs. The physical world still waits, however, for a film that fully explores these issues.
Despite some possible flaws, however, the film still sounds like it's worth seeing. The film is 95 minutes long and will be playing at the Somerville Theater in Davis Square at 9:30 PM on Thursday, April 24th. Tickets are available from IFFBoston website, and a trailer is available at http://www.pwdocs.com/secondskin/?id=trailer.
We hope to see you there!