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Wanna Be Part of an MMO Documentary?

The folks at Pure West Docs are making a very cool documentary on MMOs. They're trying to get at some of the more interesting issues in this space, rather than the narrow focus on addiction we see all the time in mainstream media. For example, their roster of guides in the documentary includes, among others, a woman who runs a BDSM service in Second Life and a man who borrowed money from his dad to start a gold farm in China. They've also interviewed several well-known academics in this area, such as Ted Castronova, Julian Dibbell, and myself.

What they're looking for now are players who have had particular kinds of experiences in MMOs and wouldn't mind being interviewed for a documentary. Here's the kinds of players they are interested in interviewing:

- a couple that met in an MMO and are currently together in RL.
- a virtual world refugee: someone who was in an MMO that was shut down who can talk about how they and the community reacted.
- someone in a long-standing guild that has branches in different games, or has migrated through several games.
- a physically-handicapped person who plays MMOs and finds it to have a positive influence on their life.
- someone who feels that the virtual world offers a better life for them (financially or otherwise).
- an activist: someone who has organized or led a protest in a virtual world.
- someone who lives in the New York City area and has an interesting MMO story or experience

They are located in the New York City area so they would prefer players who are geographically close to them, but they are open to traveling to other parts of the US. I think they're working on a really interesting project that emphasizes the new frontiers that these online games are providing. So if you've got a story and you don't mind being interviewed, please drop them a note. You can reach them at victorATpurewestmediaDOTcom

Posted on August 30, 2006 | Comments (25) | TrackBack (0)


Comments

Sounds liek an incredibly interesting idea, but only to a point. There are so many ideas that could discussed in this documentary. One of my all-time favourite events would have to be "the Assassination of Lord Britannia" in the original betas of Ultimate Online. Seriously, Wiki it.

Posted by: Westy on August 13, 2006 2:44 AM

While I understand the NYO-centricity of the project, it surprises me that they are doing a documentary about a world wide medium but not finding a way of interviewing people from outside the US.

Posted by: Dragon on August 15, 2006 9:13 AM

They're actually working on this project out of their own pockets because of their own interests. While they are all part of the same "for profit" company, this particular project is self-funded. I'm sure they've considered interviews out of the country, but doing those interviews would be a huge time and financial strain for them.

And I think it's important to be supportive of them (and documenters like them) who are willing to take on broader and more interesting issues in online gaming given the sheer amount of negative media attention on video/online games.

Posted by: Nick Yee on August 15, 2006 6:36 PM

I am one of the producers on the documentary. We are looking for people around NYC for now. When we get fully funded, hopefully september or october we are going global. We have subjects in Holland, England, and China already. This weekend I am going to an MMO competition in LA sponsored by the korean government. Ultimately we hope to go to Korea for the finals of the competition. You are right, this is an international subject, and we hope to go around the world with it.

Posted by: Peter Brauer on August 17, 2006 9:10 AM

I'd like to see someone focus on the beneficial uses of the game in teaching kids manners, generosity, kindness and some of those important academic basics like using proper English and keyboarding. We've used EQ and WoW as tools to enhance our son's social knowledge, as well as his academic achievements -- both as an incentive and as an actual teaching tool. He couldn't play until he could keyboard, he has to be socially polite, and use good grammar to play. Of course, earning money and budgeting for that new game has been part of his education too. Ebay was a wonderful revelation for him at 10 years old.

Needless to say, there is a lot of parental monitoring required and our son plays with us much of the time. Interstingly enough, he gets more guild invites than anyone else in the family. I'm always told it's because he is so polite and kind to others. Most of his characters are in guilds we(Dad & I) belong to so we get constant feedback and have a wide range of folks "monitoring" our son while he's online too.

EQ and WoW have been great tools as well as games for our son and I'm sure there are other success stories out there. It would be nice to hear about them, rather than just the negatives.

Posted by: Brionninn on September 1, 2006 6:03 PM

Very interesting. All i want to say is that MMO's are the start of a MATRIX like system. In a Future where machines will make all the work for us we will become totaly engaged in a virtual world. Maybe i'm just paranoic but this is how i see the future.

Posted by: Mikutzul on September 4, 2006 7:17 AM

Brionninn, if you check this post again, I would love to interview you for the documentary. Yours is a POV I would like much more present in our movie, and the idea of manners and MMOs as a teaching tool for children is fascinating.

Thanks,
Victor

victor@purewestmedia.com

Posted by: Victor on September 5, 2006 8:44 AM

The documentary appears to be focused on how the game affects the player's life in good ways. Should be very interesting to non-gamers, and an affirmation for gamers. And who doesn't like affirmation?

As a gamer that has moved from obssessive play, a less than stellar marriage and a job I hated to a great job, excellent marriage, and 10 hrs/week in WoW, I don't feel a real need to see that movie. I've been through enough therapy. I'd be much more interested in seeing a documentary on the evolution of the MMO and it's parallels with society.

The Lord Britannia assassination is a great topic, but doesn't really fall into their subject area. It was analogous to the departure from Eden, in which the players took control of the game away from the developer for a brief moment. I'd be interested in seeing that, plus things like:
- SWG and the "who moved my cheese" issue
- Banned words from profanity filters
- The 13 yr old leading 40 man raids effectively
- The virtual plague in WoW
- The kid that put his guild leadership on his college application
- Asperger's syndrome and MMOs.

Posted by: Chris on September 8, 2006 7:33 AM

Wonder if SWG counts. SWG is a breeding ground of hatred. lawl.

Posted by: Stevo on September 11, 2006 8:56 PM

I am in New York and wouldn't mind being interviewed. I am a GL for a Guild on the Tribunal Server for Everquest. We've only had the guild in EQ, so I don't know if that would help you. But my father, who is an EQ recluse lives with me, and I have someone in my guild that is handicapped that may talk to you also.

Posted by: Julie on September 12, 2006 1:12 PM

I would be interested in seeing you explore gender and age issues in MMO's.
-Can you really guess the age or gender of anyone in an MMO?
-Why do so many male players use a female character? (This is so prevalent in WoW, that until I got on Vent, even my guildies only half-heartedly believed that I was really female.)
-I think it's really interesting how one tends to paint a picture of other players' age in one's head based on their chat. I have frequently had my assumptions turned on their ear - a guildie whom I had thought was another teenager turned out to be a middle-aged man with a wife and 3 grown daughters, another one who I thought was in her 30's turned out to be 13, and so on...
--Also, the paucity of female players in general. I'm one of the only active female players in a guild with over 100 members. I did know more women gamers in single-player RPG's I'd been involved with in the past, like Baldur's Gate, but I have not encountered them in WoW so far. Also, I have never met a woman IRL who is a core gamer like myself. I would like to have an IRL friend like that, just as all the predominantly teenage guys I play with lament that they would like a girlfriend like me.
--I am dishonest about my age in WoW, because I sense it would freak out my guidies, and I do not want to be viewed as a mother figure. I am in my forties, and played D&D slightly in high school, then single player RPG's later in life. They think I"m in my 30's and they still think that's really old! Also, most of the other older players in my guild have figured each other out and talked about it in tells, but do not talk about it in general guild chat.
--The age issue, among some other unrelated problems, has lead me to consider leaving my guild many times for a guild with older members. Sometimes it's hard to listen to the constant teenage boasting (look at the epic I just got...I just topped the board again in the BG, and other such indirect comparisons of genitalia), the Chuck Norris type jokes, and calling everything they don't like "gay". Although I have to admit I get sort of a guilty pleasure out of teenage humor. But beyond that, I forgot how rigid and dogmatic teenagers can be - it seems that I am constantly challenging them to think outside the box and not to do things a certain way, just because that's what everyone else says you should do. It is disturbing to me that WoW seems to teach conformity in this way. I have also watched perfectly nice teenaged players hit lvl 60 in WoW and suddenly become bossy know-it-all's. It gets me down and makes me remember why I was glad to leave high school!
I am in the NYC area too.

Posted by: Laura on September 15, 2006 8:47 AM

I agree with Laura--I would be very interested to see more about age and gender breakdowns in MMOs. Aside from the fact that I now work in the video game industry (a recent and very unplanned development), I consider myself about the farthest thing from a sterotypical gamer (24-year-old female professional)-- and yet a great deal of my free time is spent in WoW. And with a horde character, at that (although my husband is to "blame" for that). I keep fairly quiet about my hobby when I talk with my female friends, as most of them think of video games as those annoying things their boyfriends/husbands do ... but I have found a handful of girls who are WoW-addicted too. And even a few, like me, who seem to be quite far from the sterotypical gamer. Are there more of "us" out there than I initially thought? And what other unlikely demographic groups are quietly playing MMOs?

Posted by: Rebekah on September 15, 2006 3:16 PM

Hi, I run an gaming cafe in Southampton England.. we are full with MMO players for more than 12 hours a day usually.. this would be a great place to find some interesting stories.. one that came to light recently was a customer who was stealing from his mothers purse to fund his WoW habit! Unfortunately we had to cancel his membership. Please contact me if you're interested.. thank you

Posted by: D Mascall on September 25, 2006 2:05 PM

Hi, I run an gaming cafe in Southampton England.. we are full with MMO players for more than 12 hours a day usually.. this would be a great place to find some interesting stories.. one that came to light recently was a customer who was stealing from his mothers purse to fund his WoW habit! Unfortunately we had to cancel his membership. Please contact me if you're interested.. thank you

Posted by: Dan Mascall on September 25, 2006 2:06 PM

wow!cool...they should have runescape in this documentary.its full of different people and different clans/player assoiciations.

Posted by: ted on October 7, 2006 9:35 AM

Since you guys seem to put emphasis on being near NY, I assume the interviews, and the documentary, are to be in person and not anonymous? That's kind of a shame, because I would have loved to talk about my situation anonymously.

I'm female, but would be better described as transgendered and in the closet. I've used the net and MMORPGS as a sort of catharsis, to present myself as male confortably and not have to worry about negative reactions or social stigma. But since I do prefer staying in the shadows so to speak, I don't think I could actually, in person, state what I've told to other people through the written medium.

Posted by: Bokai on October 7, 2006 7:07 PM

I would like to see some mention of the Age/gender/race factors in MMO's and in gaming, in general. I am a black female that has been gaming for 10+ years. By every definition of the stereotype of gamers I am the complete opposite. Its wierd being on vent/TS and hearing derogatory comments about women and race from certain types of players (not all of course) and wondering if they have a clue. I have felt at times as if I have stepped back into the dark ages when listening to this type of talk. Shows us how far we have NOT come as a society.

Posted by: WomanGamer on October 10, 2006 1:19 PM

I live in new York state, but not the city of New York. I play an Online game called KalOnline and majority of my members in my guild are from England. Alot of people in the game are German as well.

I'm female and I'm 17 years old. I can see how sterotypes can for about online gaming and women. In the game I play their are only 3 character classes, mage (woman) archer (woman) knight (male)

Many of the real life males play the female classes, but some of the females even play knights as well. Its reversed more so with males being females rather than females being males. I'm an archer.

Its often people mistake me for being a male player, or talk as if I'm male refering me to "he" and I correct them and tell them I'm female in real life. It surprises a few.

Posted by: Angel on October 11, 2006 7:10 AM

RE Dragon: I often find that Americans who don't live in coastal states are less aware of other countries. Some even believe Europe is a country (it isn't - yet). If you're looking for amusement, ask them where New Zealand is.

Also, for a long time I used to roll toons in CoH that were, how shall we say, 'well endowed'. I won half a dozen costume contests and managed to get my blaster into teams 20% quicker.

Posted by: Steo on October 14, 2006 4:11 PM

Laura,

If you read this thread so many weeks later, we have a very similar gaming history, and I live in the NYC area, too. I'd love to compare games and stories. I haven't found many female MMOG players "of a certain age" nearby. It would be a treat. Send me a note if you are interested. Thanks.
joia@null.net

Posted by: Joia on October 16, 2006 5:01 PM

I would help a lot if you are interested in a latinamerican player with experience in MMO games.

I assure to you that by these sides (Chile) there are many players, and i have already made some analyses about this thematic.

I have know you website for a long time and you articles enchanted to me, really one can occur an analytical perspective with respect to the MMO. (specially macro-economy)

Posted by: OZKR on October 18, 2006 6:56 PM

Hola Hello, ive been playing ConquerOnline for the past 2 years, and ive met really good people and have a Charismatic personality, my char is female, and I male. I have built the reputation for the char and is what attracts others to me, but none knows im a male. Im retired and my sister plays the char now. Im latino and live in new mexico.

Posted by: Eduardo on October 23, 2006 5:21 PM

Hey Nick -

Been a while. Not sure how I missed this piece. Although I (thank God) left my MMORPG days behind a couple years back, I still find your research fascinating.

I'd be particularly interested in seeing YOU address this: "a virtual world refugee: someone who was in an MMO that was shut down who can talk about how they and the community reacted."

Posted by: Jake Knight on October 25, 2006 8:52 PM

We actually use WoW play time as a motivational tool for our kids, age 8 and 3 (yes, our 3 year old plays WoW, supervised. He likes riding dinosaurs and randomly challenging people to duels). It's been really interesting watching them develop frustration tolerance, sportsmanship/fair play, cognitive skills, and hand-eye coordination with an online game.

Posted by: Bart Vickers on October 24, 2007 2:23 PM

This does look promising. I'll keep cmoing back for more.

Posted by: Bobbo on January 3, 2012 5:19 AM
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