May 142009

Anyone who’s ever spent time around gamers – those folks who love their tabletop games, knows that there are certain archetypes involved.  Not only in the characters that are played in the game, but in the characters that tend to show up with loaded dice bags and stacks of books.  The player wearing experience goggles, the rules Nazi, the one trying to seduce barmaids and elven princess, the guy who only ever plays a fighter.   I’ve met them all – hell I’ve been some of them at certain points in my gaming career.

The folks at Dead Gentlmen Productions, who are responsible for both The Gamers and it’s sequel The Gamers: Dorkness Rising get this.  They are obviously people who grew up with fantasy, science fiction and gaming as staples in their lives.  They’re also a funny and talented group who managed to create a feature length film about role playing games that’s watchable by anyone.  But those in the know about 2am sessions with stacked Mountain Dew cans and Crown Royal dice bags will really enjoy this film.

dorksyowzaThis is not a big budget film and you should not go into it expecting big budget sets and effects.  One of the best aspects of this movie though is that this really does not matter.  The Dead Gentlemen managed to wring everything they could out of their available sets and effects and more importantly their script and actors.  What they’ve ended up with is a film that’s dead on with timing, a tight script and a feature that had me laughing a lot more than most big budget, full theater releases.  That’s saying a lot I think as this movie tackles not just comedy, but fantasy, games in general and the personal lives of the geeks who play them.

The movie focuses on a group of gamers, Cass, Gary and Leo who are working their way through an adventure planned out by their GM Lodge.  Lodge is also trying to craft his first module for publication based on this adventure.  They’re less than stellar experience leads to complete party death and frustration on everyone’s part.  Cass, the rules oriented, ‘failure is not an option’ type player demands another chance to run through the adventure.  The players realize that three of them many not be enough and in an effort to bump their party up to five, recruit Cass’ ex-girlfriend Joanna.  Because of their reputation as a group, they’re unable to recruit a fifth player.

Joanna is treated as the token newbie girl player whom none of the other gamers take seriously at first.  Cass even attempts to get her to play a fighter he generated.  Joanna however has other ideas.  Having spent the previous day with the Players Handbook, she’s rolled up a fighter on her own.  A fighter who’s highest attribute is Intelligence.

dorkscoverTo add to the party’s woes, Lodge has made up for their inability to find a fifth player by inserting Sir Osric, a named NPC into the party.  Sir Osric is a Palladin – a goody two shoes to balance the party’s tendency  to “run around looting, killing and impregnating” the entire gaming world.  The movie tackles all sorts of references to gaming as an art and hobby.

There was real potential here for this to come across as awkward, tense and unfunny.  Fortunately those involved knew what to expect and rather than stepping in it they gracefully danced around the awkwardness – even embraced it when necessary.  They didn’t pull any punches when it comes to gaming and the movie is far better for it.  My wife, who is not a hardcore role player, watched this film with a bit of trepidation.  She spent a good portion of the movie laughing out loud however and we are still discussing it.

While The Gamers: Dorkness Rising came out last year, I didn’t stumble on it until a chance Netflix recommendation shipped.  I watched it for the first time last week and as soon as the film ended I was on Amazon purchasing a copy for myself.  I can honestly say it’s one of the better movies I’ve seen in the past year and certainly the best in dealing with the culture, or lack thereof of in the world of  gaming.


I applaud The Dead Gentlemen for making a great movie, one that I now own and will watch often.  I would recommend this movie to any gamer – even one only slightly involved in role playing games – without reservation.

[tags]movies, fantasy, role playing games[/tags]

About Ben

I'm a geek. A nerd, a dweeb, whatever. Yes I owned garb, yes I still own medieval weaponry. And yeah, I could kick your butt in Mechwarrior the CCG. I love video games, role playing games, tactical board games and all forms of speculative fiction. I will never berate someone for wanting to be a Jedi and take everything Gary Gygax ever wrote as gospel. Well, all of this but that last bit.

  16 Responses to “The Gamers: Dorkness Rising is a near perfect examination of gaming culture. It’s funny as hell too.”

  1. OK, now I am extremely disappointed – I can’t find this anywhere in Region 2 format. Wonder if they have any plans to release it over here? Some form of download would be better than nothing.

  2. […] on new posts.Powered by WP Greet BoxNot too long ago we featured a review of the dead-on movie The Gamers: Dorkness Rising.  I love this movie and I think if you’ve ever gamed seriously during any period of your […]

  3. […] by WP Greet BoxOver the past month I’ve had a chance to look at a number of forthcoming (and one released) independent films with SciFi, fantasy or horror themes to them.  I’m not entirely […]

  4. […] More » Hello there! If you are new here, you might want to subscribe to our RSS feed for instant notifications on new posts.Powered by WP Greet BoxIf you’re going to be at SpoCon this weekend, be sure to stop by the Charity auction on Sunday to own a piece of geek/dork/movie/luster history!  Our favorite actress Jen Page has donated the red gloves worn by her character Luster in the movie Gamers: Dorkness Rising. […]

  5. Personally, I’m playing computer games do not like, but the son likes, and even very.

  6. This movie was clearly dorky as can be, but I loved every second of it. I’m not much into table top games, but this makes me want to play. :P

  7. […] always reminded of the line from Gamers: Dorkness Rising.  “Story trumps […]

  8. […] always reminded of the line from Gamers: Dorkness Rising.  “Story trumps […]

  9. […] may remember Jen from Gamers:Dorkness Rising and should be looking forward to seeing her in Project London among other […]

  10. […] long last the folks behind Gamers: Dorkness Rising have come forth with their new series!  JourneyQuest! What is this […]

  11. […] by the makers of “The Gamers: Dorkness Rising” Written and Directed by Matt Vancil Produced by Elizabeth […]

  12. […] like TC to be committed to covering smaller films just as much as the large budget releases.  See here for an example of what I […]

  13. […] covered JourneyQuest and Jen Page before? And that these are the same folks who brought us Gamers: Dorkness Rising? Jen stuck a sword through her midriff just for […]

  14. […] get everything right about the hobby, the folks who play it and the real magic that can happen. Read my review here on TitC.  Struggling writer Lodge (Nathan Rice) isn’t asking for much: he wants his gaming group to […]

  15. […] I haven’t enjoyed a quirky nerd flick this much since first seeing The Gamers: Dorkness Rising … […]

  16. […] get everything right about the hobby, the folks who play it and the real magic that can happen. Read my review here on TitC.  Struggling writer Lodge (Nathan Rice) isn’t asking for much: he wants his gaming group to […]

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