Thursday, January 22, 2009

Monster Camp

Last night I watched a TV show called Monster Camp. It is about a fantasy Live Action Role Play group near Seattle. Very interesting. Basically, used a weekend meeting of these keen 'live FANTASY role play gamers to document what they do and who they are that do this strange thing. Well made as a reality mode film, with lots of little subplots between the characters on the way. Not to mention the intrinsic interest of seeing the sea elves, vampires, lizardmen, goblins and all sorts of assorted heros and heroines which these people turn themselves into for the weekend.

Basically, for seven years, some keen fanatics have run similar weekend gatherings for groups of gamers in the woods in a nearby national park. College age and above, there are about 50 odd folk that turn up for the show. Perhaps a dozen are involved in the running of it all ('plot keeper', logistics, on the 'plot team', costumery, admin, etc), about twenty play Non Player Characters at the orders of the plot master, the rest are Player Characters.

I won't describe their weekend or how they do what they do except to say that it looks tiring, fatiguing and fun.

I nearly switched off several times, some of the subtexts to the documentary were striking close to home I suppose. Other times, my heart went out to certain of the characters, or I found myself nodding in understanding at the various existential problems (!) which they were revealing to the camera (ie. the crossover between Real Life and In Game, personal growth through gaming, the bonds one forges with other players, the importance of the social, the stress of playing against people with different ethics, etc etc etc).

I don't think that I'd go and do the Live Action Role Play gaming myself, but I can understand why those who do, do so.

The film was certainly a good show when taken as a whole. If you are into any type of role play gaming, see it if you can.

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