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Second Skin: MMO Gamers are people too - Destructoid

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Oh hai! I'm Reuel Santiago 20 years of age (turning 21 this July) and I live in the Philippines.

Currently, I'm studying at MIT (that's Mapua Institute of technology), the premier engineering school in the country. After 4 agonizing years, I'm finally at the homestretch, with only 11 unit remaining.

I don't own any current-gen consoles. It sucks, but MMO's and the occassional overnight binges of DotA are enough to sate my gaming hunger.

I love RPG's though. It all started with FFVIII (I have long since matured, and don't look back at VIII with the same fond memories I have of IX). As you can tell, I have a fondness for JRPG's and clicky games (Diablo II before my older PC broke down on me).

I might also get weaboo tendencies and declare my love for Japan on random instances, but that probably stems from my love of girls in tiny skirts and uniforms... I'm also into anime and manga, but not by much at the moment. I'm too busy balancing school, games and other stuff.

So there, I might edit this come July 12th, and remove parts of the first paragraph. GLHF!!!

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[over on The Escapist, a video (a full movie at that) is posted for the movie: Second Skin. It chronicles the lives of a few MMO-obsessives, and shows them dealing with sudden changes in their lives. You can watch it here if you're American or here, if you're not.]*

If there was a group that took the most flak from people who don't play games, it would be the MMO gamers. Being a gamer in a society where games are deemed as "for kids" is bad enough, but being an MMO gamer will bring you a whole 'nother level of suck. The typical stereotype would be that you are glued infront of the computer monitor, day in and day out, playing your drug of choice, only pausing for the odd call of nature or meal. And while this stereotype is true for certain people, what we forget is that, like us, they are also gamers.

Try as we might, deconstructing the genre to find just what is it about it that lures people in, we can't seem to find a definitive answer.

This is where Second Skin comes in. It helps paint a better picture of MMO gamers and their world. The film is a documentary about a few people who played MMO's. There are people whose online love-affair crosses over to the real world. There are people who formed groups with other MMO gamers, and their level of camaraderie is greater than what they could have formed in the real world. It also chronicles the journey of a hopelessly addicted WoW player. There are a lot more, and I'd probably waste a lot of time trying to list them all. Face it, if there was a shortcut to obtaining that gear you've wanted, you'd most likely take it.

Other than the people, it also gives insight on MMO's as a social phenomenon. The viewer is served different statistics on certain things within the MMO community (surprise, surprise, one in three females are actually in an online relationship). It also tackled the 'sensitive' issue of gold farmers for WoW in China. If there was one thing in the movie that illuminates the reason why people opt for RMT (Real Money Trading), it's stated quite definitively here. A designer for Dark Age of Camelot summarizes that virtual items have no intrinsic value. When you trade for items using real-world dollars, what you pay for is the time necessary for one to obtain such an item. This puts a new meaning to the phrase "MMO's are a time investment".

I highly recommend this documentary. MMO gamers will be easily able to relate, as most of the subjects tackled hit close to home and other gamers and non-gamers alike will gain valuable insight to this phenomenon.

* the video will only be legally available for streaming until the 13th, so you have until then to watch it without thinking of the moral conundrums that is streaming movies off the net.



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