Gamers is a cult, hit, online video spoofing the tropes and clichés of tabletop RPGs, in fact the best way to put it would be by calling it this generations Dead Alewives Watchtowers own gaming session. I was going to do a review of it for the site but I couldn’t come up with much more than that to be fair. Let’s see if I can do any better for the sequel, or as you be may more concerned can they do any better in ……………………………………….
Okay so the basic set up for the original was showing a gaming session from both sides with the actors playing dual roles as both ‘The Gamers’ and their characters. Now this was mostly just a series of set-ups for jokes about turn times, bad rolls and Raimi vision. So what do they bring to this sequel, well a plot mostly.
The plot, such as it is, is pretty removed from the first movie so don’t worry too much if you haven’t seen it. Mark has given up on the ‘demons and dice game’ since the events of the first movie, meaning that his friend Lodge now has to find somebody else to round out his gaming group when they manage to wipe yet again.
You see Lodge fancies himself a writer and a story teller, obsessed with motivation and character, meaning that it is all the worse that he is stuck with a bunch of munchkins only after gold and xp. Those being Cass the min-maxing blow hard, Gary the chaotic neutral guy just after some cheap laughs and Leo the butt of the jokes. So with Mark apparently trying to deal with the P.T.S.D brought on by his old groups run in with “The Shadow” the only one Lodge can find to fill the roll is Cass’ ex Jo.
Jo hasn’t played D&D before but no worries because the group is a series of old hands at this, in fact they’ve already run this very campaign twice. They haven’t won yet, but they’ve run it twice.
Not that they are content to make the same mistakes they’ve done in the past, no they’re looking to make all new ones. To start with Leo has had enough of always getting beat up as the groups meat shield so he’s decided to buff up a bit and become a bard. Yeah a tight wearing, lute playing bard. How anyone could think this was a suitable bad-ass heroic fantasy lead I don’t know. Gary meanwhile shall be playing a chick, because uh why not and of course there’s Cass who has decided to play an elven monk just to try and wind up the DM. Always a good move at the start of a well known player killing campaign.
But it turns out Jo is on Lodge’s side and wants to actually ‘play’ this story even if it isn’t very good. Which means we get a fighter with more points in diplomacy than in hitting stuff. Don’t worry though because they also get a baby sitter assigned to the group. For those who don’t “game” a baby-sitter is when the GM (the person running the game) creates a high level character to escort the heroes on their quest, to make sure they behave, stick to the path and do all the cool stuff the GM has come up with. But you would know that if you ever clicked the links I embed in these things.
So the group set off and like the last movie the film now begins to switch back and forth between the real world and the “game world” with the actors pulling duel roles. This is especially noticeable for “Luster” who gets two for when ever Gary remembers he’s playing a chick. This joke manages to work and doesn’t wear thin, especially when they are literally tagging out by the end.
Speaking of not wearing out, the plot as I said is what sets this movie apart from the last one; well that and about half an hour run time. So what kind of plot do we get. Well there is a tug of war between his “gamer” party and Lodge’s story telling nature and thankfully they manage not to come down too hard against the “gamers”. Now don’t get me wrong I can come down hard on the story/ character side sometimes myself but it’s nice that the movie isn’t too one sided and remembers that this is overall a game and its up to the player what they want to play. Now it isn’t entirely balanced and sure Cass is the “bad guy” in all this but hey.
Now Jo kind of straddles the line between the group and the GM but more often than not comes down on his side meaning that it only comes of as a case of DM’s girlfriend. Oh sure it’s supposed to be a case of showing the “gamers” a different way to play but instead we get people who have been playing this for years, people who indulge in over the top training scenes, out played by someone who picked up the rule book yesterday.
Especially when it’s played as her just trying to role play than actually “game”. Yet nobody realises how awesome the character is until Jo manages to wipe out an entire goblin party almost single handed. See the thing is with somebody like Cass knocking around you have to expect that if there was a way to role crits every other turn and take like six goes in a row he would have figured it out by now. Where as the last one was just a group of friends making fun of the hobby they enjoy; this one has to try and build up drama and tension. Now sure the movie would struggle to run without it, sure it had new gags to tell about roleplaying but they aren’t enough to carry it anymore. Thus we get a rather predictable plot elevated with a touch of heart and enthusiasm for the genre with a last minute twist that feels more like them trying to get a feature length run time and lead to a more satisfying ending than the fourth wall break from the first one.
Is it perfect? No. But it is waffle!
Dorkness Rising is currently available from GOG for £6.50 or your regional equivalent.