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Second Skin


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3 used from CDN$ 37.75

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Amazon.com: 17 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Truth Can Be More Than Skin Deep Aug. 5 2009
By M. Barnette - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
I was lucky enough to catch this little documentary at SXSW last year, and i have to say it blew my expectations completely out of the water.

As an avid gamer, I've grown a thick skin (hey look, a pun!) when it comes to filmmakers and news agencies trying to expose the "reality" of gaming. For the most part it's pretty much the same story, trying to make this form of escapism a scapegoat for everything that is wrong with the world, dredging the worst examples of Gamer-dom and providing no sense of perspective whatsoever.

What's great about this documentary is that it doesn't actually take a position, instead providing viewers with a glimpse into a world they might not understand while providing some much needed perspective in the form of a colorful cast of gamers, self proclaimed game addicts, industry experts and WoW spouses. Exploring how the virtual and the real interact with one another and how our society is moving into an electronic world, "Second Skin" manages to tell compelling personal stories, explore complex social issues, and even postulate on the future of the human experience.

From a technical perspective, this documentary is top notch. The filmmakers utilize in-game footage to help tell stories, and help further the viewer's immersion into the world of Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games. A quirky soundtrack adds some nice atmosphere to the film, while visual aids are creative and make otherwise dull exposition amusing.

I'd highly recommend this doc to gamers and non-gamers alike, as both a celebration of gaming and an enlightening introduction into the growing world of online gaming.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Amazing (even if you think you're not interested in virtual worlds) Aug. 6 2009
By Jeremy Kotin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
This is an incredible documentary that gets you into the heart of virtual worlds and the real world people that inhabit them. It's a fascinating look at how technology can keep us apart and bring us together and allows us to become the people we dream we can be. As someone that had no prior interest in these virtual worlds, I was amazed how this doc drew me in and kept me fascinated...
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A view with a skew: 90% WoW, 9% EverQuest and 1% Second Life Aug. 9 2009
By Tom Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
A big garlic pizza (gamer cuisine, you know) and I watched the documentary "Second Skin" last night. It's a fascinating and well-made documentary film for sure! I'd recommend that any of my fellow computer gaming fans see it. Or for anyone wanting a point of view on the emerging phenomenon of communicating, playing or working with others in virtual worlds.

The actual film is farther skewed in a couple areas than what you would believe from the advertising or reviews. Basically the film is about 90% obsessed World of WarCraft players, 9% EverQuest II players, and 1% on Second Life. The Second Life part is a shame, because the movie features several comment segments with an economist who studies MMO economics, and of course Second Life is, among other things, a very capitalist society.

The film mainly provides intimate views of gamers living their lives FOR World of WarCraft and who spend much of their waking free time mentally IN the game. It takes a look at the sacrifices and addictions created to play WarCraft and EverQuest, along with the rewards of friendships and relationships built from the shared experiences of the game. It is all very authentic, as most of us here know gamers like this. But it mostly skews towards the negative, and the movie hits the biggest downbeat with the story of a mom recounting the experience of a gamer son's suicide.

In a rather obvious attempt to balance this out, a very short and interesting segment on wheelchair-bound players finding new freedoms in online gaming is featured, showing one of them using Second Life. This notion alone would make an interesting documentary all to itself, and I'd hope this could be the focus of a sequel documentary.

There's also a fascinating segment on in-game gold-farming in China that's a nice extension on the film's talk of the economics of gaming. But the film misses the opportunity to explore the corporate side of the folks making the games and their thoughts on how what they make so appeals to their customers and how they may take advantage of that. And of course they also miss the great opportunity to explore the user-created business involved in a very in-world economy for a game like Second Life (economies evolved outside the game play of WarCraft or EverQuest, but outright capitalism has been a part of Second Life "game" since the beginning.)

Through the bad and the somewhat good though, the film is a must-see train wreck of lives. Or perhaps it's a glimpse of a part of 20th century life and psychology colliding with a new extension of the human brain and interaction in the 21st.

Despite the mostly negative skew and missed opportunities, I enjoyed the film over all and would recommend it. It's extremely well shot and edited with some nice chart presentations to explain some of the numbers and statistics involved in these games.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Is There a "Dark" Side to Video Games? Jan. 4 2011
By stoic - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Saturday night we put the kids to bed. We needed a break from the day, so we decided to look for a "light" documentary and my wife came across "Second Skin." Neither of us is a gamer, but learning about the attraction of gaming to others seemed interesting.

Second Skin focuses on the most-dedicated members of the gaming community. For the gamers in the film, gaming is a way to escape from their ordinary, humdrum lives. The filmmakers imply that the identities that these gamers create can be more important to them than are their "real" identities. Second Skin also suggests that - at some point - it may be "the norm" for people to behave in this manner.

The film covers many stories. One thread concerns four men who live in the same house in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Each man is obsessed with online gaming - Second Skin shows the men lining up before dawn to get the newest release of their favorite video game. Tension arises when two of the men establish serious relationships with women and one of the women becomes pregnant with twins.

Another story is about two gamers who have met online - Kevin Keel from Texas and Heather Cowan from Florida. Both have had failed relationships with gamers before, but each is convinced that the relationship will last. Through this storyline, Second Skin again focuses on the "identity" issue. Specifically, the film asks whether Kevin and Heather - who are a perfect match in the gaming world - live together as a happy couple in the "real" world?

The final major thread follows Dan, a young man from Philadelphia who has lost his business due to his "addiction" to online gaming. The filmmakers follow Dan to treatment. As a result of this segment, the viewer questions whether gaming can - in fact - be an addiction.

Hardcore gamers may not like this film as it focuses on the negative consequences associated with gaming. But I was entertained throughout and I recommend Second Skin.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Must-see! Aug. 9 2009
By Randee Kestenbaum - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Saw this film a few years ago at Austin's SXSW -- it's a fascinating, humanist look into the world of online shared video games. Not too techy and not too geeky, it's for everyone -- whether you play these games or not.


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