You know, normally when people recommend stuff to me, I don’t actually watch/play what I’m told to. I’m a busy guy, often I don’t have the time to watch/play what I want, so what are the odds that I’d find the time for stuff that I have no personal interest in? WELL, unless it’s a recommendation from a guy like LittleNorwegians, cause for one, he’s my best friend, he deserves it, and secondly… the stuff he recommends always proofs to be interesting, and this was certainly the case as well: The Gamers trilogy, created by Dead Gentlemen Productions. Three films which all center around a group of geeks playing role-playing games (shenanigans ensue). Technically I don’t see this being described as a trilogy, but … whatever, that’s how I see it, and that’s how I’ll judge it! I’ll have to go through each of the three movies quickly, probably not giving any proper info on the story of the movie, and likely only managing to make it understandable to people who watched the movies themselves… CAUSE I’M BUSY!!!!
The Gamers (2002)
A movie made on a 1000$ dollar budget, and it shows! The effects are cheap, and even the acting isn’t that great, but … the latter might be intentional at times, and I guess the clunky effects do make it funnier! Oh, yeah, forgot to mention: it’s a comedy. The movie is about a group of friends playing a role-playing game together, and we keep flip-flopping between following their in-game characters and them at the game-table. NOW, I myself never played such a game with anyone, but from watching such movies as “Dragonstrike”, and talking with a few friends, I feel pretty sure that this is an accurate representation of how some game sessions can go.
It is pretty funny to watch the GameMaster try to tell an interesting story, but then have the players be dicks, and argue whenever something should be legal or not, make bad dice throws, come up with bizarre ideas.
I don’t feel the need to say more. It’s a short movie (under 50 minutes), a silly comedy that for the most part works, even if it’s not the most amazing thing I ever saw. Admittedly the characters themselves were not that memorable, but then again they don’t even have names (unless IMDB is as forgetful as I am). This first movie is all right the way I see it. A small project that ended up as something really decent.
The Gamers: Dorkness Rising (2008)
Six years later, we return …. or rather…. we don’t, as the movie doesn’t feature the same characters as the first movie! … well, one character returns I guess. Although some of the actors from the first movie return, playing different characters… WHATEVER!
- Lodge – The game master, who puts a lot of focus on the story
- Joanna – A newbie player, and a girl, who gets a lot of disrespect from the other players
- Cass – A jerk who often argues with Lodge about the rules
- Gary – A creep who decided to play a female sorceress….. but keeps forgetting that he’s female.
- Leo – The gameshop owner who plays as a womanizing bard.
These 5 set out on an adventure and things unfold. It’s still a comedy that mocks many game conventions, and the attitude of the players. However this time things seem more ambitious. The movie isn’t just one game session. There’s a few scenes where we see the players just doing their daily things, and there is a noticeable difference between the approaches that the players take. Eh, okay, in the first movie that was the case too, but there it seemed to only serve as a setup for jokes, while here its clearly there for an actual story. Yes, this movie, while being a comedy, has a story. A story with heart even. I don’t want to over-sell it, but when the movie was ending, I didn’t feel like I just saw a farce. I witnessed an adventure. An incredibly silly one, but an unforgettable none the less, and certainly satisfying!
Both movies left me laughing about D&D, but this went a step further and had me feeling like I need to try it out myself someday……… NEXT!
The Gamers: Hands of Fate (2013)
Once more, many years later we return to our…… wait, no, not once more! We didn’t get back to the characters from the first movie, emm, but they are the ones from the second… NEVERMIND! Turns out that playing role-playing games gets harder and harder for our protagonists, and the game shop is now filled with a bunch of people playing card games. Cass, the jerk from the first movie, gets annoyed, but before you know it, he falls in love with Natalie, the one girl that plays the “Nine Empires” card game, so he immediately tries to learn the rules of the game, so that he can… score….
Ok, so immediately I’m baffled by what is going on. The movie ditches Roleplaying games for trading card games??? ….. yeah, it does, and that’s odd, but in a way that’s also to my benefit, as I’ve actually played trading card games myself! ….. well, emmm not like with an actual person or anything, but …. virtually…. and on the PSP….. that counts too, right?
WHATEVER!!! So we follow Cass’es journey. The main thing in the story is the big conflict! Tons of gamers that play “Nine Empires” start to use starvation decks that rely on zombies, and……. card game terminology. It’s funny to me, because it feels like an all too common problem of some set of cards being overpowered, but the movie presents it as this big threat to the game as a whole! Cass gets to understand why this is so bad, and more importantly: how to actually play the game, so that he can win the big tournament!
But that’s not all. We have issues like…. Natalie being bothered by a bunch of ultra sexist bastards (and Cass seeing her as his prize isn’t helping), or this weird mascot guy who bothers people, or scenes from the game world that reflect the games played by Cass!
There really is a lot of stuff happening at once, and while I get the sexism deal being important, the game-world stuff just confused me. It seemed like a joke at first, but then became a second narrative playing in the background. Even if it was kind of interesting, it still left me scratching my head! And that mascot dude, I could do without.
Additionally there is a huge difference in tone. While the 2nd movie had a strong focus on comedy, this one seems to mostly try to tell a story, with jokes here and there, but definitely not being the primary draw of the movie. Many had a problem with this, and as such this movie received lesser scores from people.
I feel like I should prefer the 2nd movie over this. It’s funnier, simpler and more straight-forward. It doesn’t have weird side-stories or anything like that…………. and yet, for some reason I can’t help but like the third movie the most. I’M SORRY, but that’s how I feel. It’s a REALLY flawed movie with many problems, but I admire the ambitions of the authors, and as much as many things didn’t work so well, I can’t deny that other elements ended up looking amazing in the end.
I am very impressed by what the crew and cast managed to deliver. Starting with a simple comedic project, they became more ambitious and delivered two very interesting stories.
In the end I feel like each movie was superior over the previous. NOW, I am aware that the “Gamers” film series doesn’t end there, and that there is something like a web-series, but …. I am busy right now. Maybe it’s good, but I’ve had enough for now. Maybe someday I’ll give it a look.
As for the movies: If anybody wants to have some laugh, and has at least a bit of interest in Roleplaying games, then you should definitely watch the first 2 movies. The last one is a harder sell, but if your interests are not limited to comedies, then maybe you’ll like it too.
HAHAHAHAHAHA! Now you’re working together!!!!
<I had to make that reference>