Saturday, September 5, 2009

Second Skin

An addiction can manifest itself in a staggeringly wide variety of forms in this modern digital era, so it shouldn't come as a great surprise to many, that some people are completely & utterly addicted to online gaming. And its not hard to see why this is so. Some of these games are so much fun, that you can easily suck up massive blocks of precious time for a never-ending quest for world domination, complex missions, slaying dragons & demons, rescuing fair maidens, fighting the forces of evil to name but just a few diversions! Having played many PlayStation 1 games way back in 1996, I can attest to the compelling nature of games. "Just 5 more minutes babe, just 5 minutes!" is a very familiar phrase that was thrown in the direction of my PlayStation widow-and of countless millions of other people... You get totally lost in the moment, desperate to get to the end of the next stage, goal, better time, end result. Its not the race, its getting to the end that transforms seemingly rational people into monosyllabic grunting neanderthals!

This wonderful documentary gets into the lives of a small group of players whose lives have been profoundly altered by their own unique addiction to an online game called WOW (World of Warcraft). By creating an onscreen character (avatars), these gamers then immerse themselves in this world absolutely, shunning everything else in their own personal lives, concentrating with a obsessive zeal to be further ahead, more heroic, more legendary than anyone else. The commitment alternates between intense-and undeniably, extremely unhealthy in more than one instance. Second Skin delves into these worlds, asking the gamers the necessary questions that are being raised onscreen. Just why on earth, do you guys (And ladies) let yourselves be in thrall to this game? How has playing it affected your own life? And what about the other people in your life-how has your playing WOW affected them? Without much surprise, this film is mainly focused on mainly young guys who've opened up to the camera's to reveal the real impact that their addiction to WOW has created. Their respective stories are all similar-but unique to their own situations. For some, the personal cost has been very high. Some learn to deal with their addiction, some don't acknowledge any problem whatsoever! Complete denial is always useful when you can't deal with the stresses in your own modern life.

Second Skin is an absorbing & entertaining documentary that immerses you very convincingly into the mindset of the online gamer, creating empathy & understanding for these people whose lives have been irrevocably changed by their addiction to this virtual world.

Watch it before you start on your own quest!