Yeey! The BBC has released a documentary on Second Life. The possiblities, future, applications possible, … you assme? Nope, of course not. As Hamlet Au says it well: ‘Narrated with a plummy diction usually reserved for nature programs, the BBC recently aired a 40 minute documentary on love in Second Life.‘ If you wish to watch it, Mr. Au has the necessary linkage for you.
This brings me to Gamezone, a four day event hold at de Singel in Antwerp, concering - duh - games. Although they have a extended program - lots of talk about games, lots of showing games, lots of documentaries about games - I was mainly looking forward to the screening of My Second Life by Douglas Gayton of which I’ve only seen the 1st episode. Sadly enough, the American distributor gave a sudden ‘njet’ on the film rights.
Most of the other documentaries screening can also be found on YouTube:
There is the interesting Cyberkoelies - or Cybercoolies in English - on goldfarming and Chinese labour used to ‘advance’ our Western World of Warcraft game characters. Made by Floris-Jan van Luyn this documentary follows a few ‘pro’ World of Warcraft gamers, working in what looks like a 21th century digital sweatshop and playing lousy payed for missions with other person’s WoW characters. The ‘evilness’ of this system can be discussed: is it a job that out-beats working in the rural area’s, or is exploiting Chinese workers because we are to lazy to start at level 1 and thus a form of - digital - slavery? As for now, I’m with the ‘well, it’s how they make their living, and probably there are worse ways, but what kind of gamer are you if you pay others - not enough - to play your game?’ camp. A Dutch documentary, so Chinese with Dutch subs, I really think one with English subs would get a lot of views.
Also viewable on YouTube is Droomwereld - Dreamworld - a documentary on Second Life following one Dutch person and the persons he meets on Second Life. Party English spoken, partly Dutch spoken. Just your average - neutral - Second Life documentary, actually.
Game Over & Over is an - awesome! - documentary on the usage of games and it’s future. Showing and interviewing the Netherlands’s top professional gamer, some insight full commentary and showing both the good side - creativity, learning and interaction - as well as the bad side - addiction, de-connection from Real Life. The main questions is where are games going will games be taking us: in the future computer gaming will be addiction number 1, an Olympic sport, a therapeutic instrument and a crucial educational device. Is gaming a blessing or a plague?
Imagine if you will, the progression of cultural history has had gone the other way, and games had been invented right about around time that Gutenberg technology came out. We had been playing video games for about 500 years and suddenly books would be invented. And books were be all the rage with the kids and parents would be all be worried about all the books that would be read. What would be the angry, worried, concerned editorials in the news papers be? I think they would sound something like this: ‘Reading books chronically understimulates the senses. Unlike the long standing tradition of game playing which engages the child in a vivid, 3-dimensional world filled with moving images and musical soundscapes, navigated and controlled with complex muscular movements, books are just a barren string of words on a page. Books are also tragically isolating. While games have for many years engaged the young in complex social relationships with their peers, building and exploring words together, books force the child to sequester him or herself in a quiet place, shut off from interaction with other children. Reading is not an active, participatory process, it is a submitting one. The book readers of the younger generation are learning to follow the plot, in stead of learning to lead.’
Partly English, partly Dutch.
For Emoticons by Heddy Honigman there was no on-line presence of the documentary to be found. Yet, described as ‘the documentary offers an insight on a group of ‘wandering soles’ all seeking for contact, comfort and love. The virtual world became a place for finding real friendship’, I think we have seen such documentaries before.