Thursday, August 19, 2004

Movies about RPGs

As you all have figured out by now, I am one of those crazy types who spends weekends in muggy rooms "adventuring" in worlds beyond imagination. That's right...I play role playing games. Worse than that, I am a hardcore fan of Dungeons and Dragons, especially the newest edition (3.5). I have been running the same campaign now for almost 4 years and the characters are getting ready for the "earth shattering" finale.

It has long been a ritual in my gaming group (started by Rob, Josh, and me about 5 years ago) to have new players watch the awful how to play RPGs film "Dragonstrike" which accompanied a D&D intro game of the same name.

I also recommend that my players watch the following films at some time in their lives because they capture the feel of RPGs, not high fantasy, but RPG fantasy. The kind of meaningless collaborative storytelling that happens when you have no editors and people just want to have a good time. The movies are: Krull, Ladyhawke, Lord of the Rings (animated), Sword and the Sorcerer, Hawk the Slayer, and of course Conan the Barbarian. In addition I have a full set of the episodes of the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon as well.

Recently, a company called Dead Gentleman Productions made a movie called "The Gamers" and it has been a huge success in the gaming community. It has all kinds of in jokes about RPG sessions, like what happens to PCs when their players don't show up for a session (or they show up late and leave early). But I didn't think the film was very good. The acting is aweful, the special effects lame, and the story well that actually felt like a module. Not a good module, but it still felt like a module. On the other hand, one of Jody's students at USC (she was his TA) made a film with a similar concept also guessed it "The Gamers". This time though, the acting was better, the special effects were better, and the story? Well, it still felt like a module, but it was fun. What made this movie better was the actual fact that the characters (the main ones not their PC counterparts) actually have dialogue hinting at relationships beyond what we see in the film. We have kids from different backgrounds here. Oh, and the 3D graphics rendered church is pretty cool too. I recommend that you check out the website and watch the longer trailer. Neither of the films had a budget, one is 15 minutes long (you can't see it or buy it unless you can get it from Phil Broste himself which is worth trying to do) and the other is 90 minutes. One is made by someone who loves gaming, but isn't sooooo cooooool that he has to poke fun at it. The other one is made by gaming geeks who want to be cool and so throw in a lot of negative stereotypes. It's still fun though.

But I recommend Promoting Broste's USC film. I have seen the whole thing and I would rather have the world think this is what gamers are like rather than the Trekkies presentation the Dead Gentlemen give us.

1 comment:

Robert Barker said...

Christian, that movie (loosely used term) is aweful but very funny. Are you ready, ready for a dragon strike?