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Second Skin
Second Skin
Actors: Kevin Keel, Heather Cowan, Andy Belford, Jeff Wilson, Chris Mitchell
Director: Juan Carlos Pineiro Escoriaza
Genres: Documentary
NR     2009     1hr 34min

Second Skin takes an intimate, fascinating look at computer gamers whose lives have been transformed by the emerging, hugely popular genre of computer games like World of Warcraft, Second Life, and Everquest, which allow m...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Kevin Keel, Heather Cowan, Andy Belford, Jeff Wilson, Chris Mitchell
Director: Juan Carlos Pineiro Escoriaza
Genres: Documentary
Sub-Genres: Science & Technology
Studio: Liberation Ent
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 08/25/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 34min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

A view with a skew: 90% WoW, 9% EverQuest and 1% Second Life
Tom Mitchell | Dayton, OH USA | 08/10/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"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."
Randee Dawn Cohen | Jackson Heights, NY | 08/09/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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."
Simply amazing
Rayana E. Lane | New York, NY | 08/09/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A must see for any gamer out there. If you are a fan of MMORPGs or documentaries you should also give it a chance."