The Dungeon Masters (2008/NR)
Directed by: Keven McAlester
Running time: 87 min
I watched a movie last night called The Dungeon Masters about three self-titled “Game Masters” leading teams in Dungeons and Dragons dice based role playing games. You seen it? Probably not, it was a small documentary from a few years back but it’s on Netflix should you choose to watch it, and you should, but it might give you a bit of a fright.
A fright you say? Well yes, a fright indeed because the film was supposed to be about Dungeons and Dragons and instead ended up focusing on the obsession of the gamers themselves and for a while it was like looking into a mirror, or certainly a mirror to the past.
I’m not really into comics or movies or collectables or whatever but I love gaming. I used to really love gaming, I was an avid player of Star Craft, Elite, Command and Conquer and other PC titles that basically ate up my life until PC games became too advanced for my PC and I moved into console gaming, to which I also wasted years of my life playing to a ridiculous degree.
Now I don’t game so much, that said I’ve clocked up days playing Call of Duty and Battlefield and over 400 hours playing Dark Souls so I’m hardly “aff it” to quote the local vernacular, but what makes you an addict? Are you one? I mean you’re reading this on a website dedicated to all things nerd so I’m guessing you have at least a partial obsession with something, no? Just me then.
When does it go too far? The film last night interviewed people who had, in my opinion, become totally taken over by their chosen hobby; in their case it was Dungeons and Dragons but there are plenty of other hobbies out there that tip people over the edge. I know people who game to the point where it’s, frankly, unhealthy, people who have taken annual leave and sat in the dark playing World of Warcraft (a game I’m never going near) for days on end, only moving when they needed to eat or go to the toilet or curl up into a ball and sleep: that can’t be healthy, Role playing games certainly seem to be the ones that really suck people in and I’m guessing the ones who really step over the line from gamer or collector to needing a good talking to are looking for the “out” that role playing allows them.
The documentary last night did focus on three people who admitted they had poor childhoods, bullying and violence both at school and at home were a common theme and disappearing into gaming or comics helped to ease that pain which I suppose is fair enough but not when it totally takes over your life and consumes in a way that then stops you from forming normal, proper relationships with those around you.
I think there is a line and you have to be careful to make sure you don’t cross over it and end up spending ninety percent of your waking life online playing games or talking about games, video games or otherwise, that’s when a hobby becomes an addiction but watching that documentary last night and seeing how some people live their lives it’s worse than any drug I’ve ever come across.
Then of course there is Facebook, I don’t have any problem with FB, I think it’s a decent social media tool and allows me to keep in touch with my friends who are far enough away that I cannot meet them in real life but too many people crave friends, crave FB time, crave ‘likes’ like they are a life affirming statement that means anything, I know people who spend their lives on FB, one person actually told me, in all seriousness, that they didn’t read the papers or watch the news, they got all their news and views and opinions from Facebook, and if that’s not an obsession then I don’t know what is.
Or what about that collectable you needed to have? You know; the limited edition one that cost you a week’s wages, the one that caused a massive row, was it worth it? Did you need to have it? Probably, plus it keeps ebay and Chinese toy makers in work and it’s not hurting anyone is it? It’s what savings are for, it’s what I keep telling myself anyway and I’m sure you all do too.