Second Skin (2008)

Turn off your computer game and go outside and play! (That is, after watching your sheltered life reflected right back at you in Second Skin…)
Our Rating

Genre(s): Documentary

Director: Juan Carlos Piñeiro Escoriaza

Year: 2008

MPAA Rating: NR

Country: USA

Unless you have been living in a box under a bridge for the last 10 years or so you have probably heard of the game “Everquest” or as some call it “Evercrack” (at least I have heard it referred to that way). Everquest, World of Warcraft (or WoW), or Second Life are just a few examples of these online virtual worlds that can suck people in and lose touch with reality.

The documentary explores the lives the typical addicted gamers who has either destroyed their life or maybe changed it as they grew out of the game and realized that they have wasted years of their life on this dangerous addiction. Second Skin takes a balanced view of the good and bad of the online world. The names of the people in the movie are forgettable since characters tend to blend together—pale, pudgy, unshaven… I tended to remember them by their jewelry, the guy with the pierced lip spike thing stick in my mind. They later become more identifiable as they become fathers, mothers, and have to return to real life.

Several couples are interviewed who met online. One was a brave prince in shining armor while his mate was an elf princess (I’m sure I got that wrong). They were brave confident people in the virtual world and jealousy even showed up when the prince was seen flirting with female hobbits and trolls. Elf princess finally made her move at that point and said, “We must meet in real life.” Awkwardly they meet, but it does have a happy ending as they end up living together—but with the usual conflicts and troubles as people in the real world have.

The sequel to Everquest comes out. It’s a chance for the gamers to leave the house, stock up on junk food, a cooler of Pepsi, folding chairs and camp in front of the game store awaiting the release of the next game. Quickly they rush home install the game and play for several days straight while one guy shamefully stops playing to go to work. The goal was to be the first past level 60 and be “King of the World!” (or whatever the equivalent is).

Death, lost jobs, failing grades, abandoned families, weight gained, and 12-step recovery programs are all described in the documentary in a way that would make you cringe. With that, I see the sun is out, I’m going outside to play now!


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