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  ‘Darkon’: The Movie  
Posted 2006-04-29 by Tony Walsh
Last night I attended the Canadian premiere of Darkon, a documentary that explores the live-action role playing game of the same name. The film bridged the game world of Darkon and the real lives of the game's players, shifting back and forth between fiction and reality. I was particularly struck by the respect the filmmakers had for their subjects, and by the willingness of the participants to expose their hobby to a mainstream audience.

Covering Darkon from a positive angle (apparently no negative commentators could be found), the filmmakers spotlighted the productive aspects of live-action gaming, such as the development of social skills and improvement of self-image. As a former live-action gamer (LARPer) myself, I've seen certain players blossom from meek to self-assured by being able to push their personal limits in a supportive environment. There's a reason psychologists and social workers use role-playing techniques in therapy--it really works.

To top the evening off, a number of the Darkon players joined the filmmakers on stage for a great Q&A session. The audience seemed to really enjoy the film, and were intrigued by the game elements--the Darkonians were asked more questions than the filmmakers. I had a chance to chat with some of the players after the theatre cleared out, and they were all very friendly. I'm still amazed they all made the trek up to Toronto for the event.

I think there's a connection between between the warm reception of these LARPers and the rise of video game worlds. More adults are spending more time playing make-believe--it's hard to mock LARPers when you're playing an Orc Shaman in World of Warcraft.
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Comment posted by Jos 'Hyakugei' Yule
April 29, 2006 @ 10:11 pm
Just a quick note of agreement. I was fortunate enought to also be at the screening, and would suggest that everyone check this film out.
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