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Gamers by Ben Gonyo

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Gamers is a documentary by Ben Gonyo that purports to examine all aspects of the so-called MMORPG lifestyle. Gamers is a good deal more light hearted than other films attempting to quantify and qualify MMORPG culture such as the decidedly heavy handed Second Skin.

Gamers is essentially a "first-person" narrative as it follows Ben himself as he romps around MMORPG hotspot conventions and figures including big names like Curt Schilling and RA Salvatore. Ben attempts to distance himself as a third party onlooker to the gaming festivities, but any viewer can tell that despite all the measures taken to assure the viewers that he is "not a gamer", Ben's in there and loving every minute of it.

And that is one of the more interesting points of Gamers - Many of the selections featured for interviews and screen time fit the common stereotype of an MMORPG addict - Overweight, jobless, socially inept, and possibly a little scary, with nervous and jittery quirks while relaying nerd-tales about how one time they rolled a perfect critical on a red dragon. Ben seems bound and determined to make sure the audience knows "he's not one of these people" while playing up the common stereotype of the modern MMORPG gamer.

While light hearted as a whole, Gamers does seem to spend a fair amount of time casting MMORPG players in a decidedly negative light - while clearly most of these individuals are extreme examples of the culture.

But it sure looks like he was having fun the whole time. A lot of fun. Hmm. Something tells us Ben may have a few MMORPG skeletons in the closet, and he takes off into a hidden basement for a Deadmines run when no one else is looking.

Far from a clinical, factual examination of the culture, Gamers charts a madcap course from convention to convention, interview to interview, game to game. It's an on hands look at everything from Blizzcon to Gen Con. We're not so sure it's even really a documentary - It's Ben having a blast as he immerses himself in the hardcore MMORPG lifestyle.

All in all Gamers comes off as sort of a witch-hunt gone wrong, as what was possibly designed to play up the circus show selection of MMORPG enthusiasts for attention turns out to be Mr. Gonyo having a great time with these so called freaks and geeks.

You can check out Ben's site which includes a wide variety of media on the gaming populace, including Gamers, at http://gamersfilm.com/

(A review copy of this film was provided for this article)

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