The Gamers (film)
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|Directed by||Matt Vancil|
|Produced by||John Frank Rosenblum|
|Written by||Matt Vancil|
Phil M. Price
|Distributed by||Dead Gentlemen Productions|
|Running time||48 mins|
The Gamers is a 2002 very-low-budget cult film written and directed by Matt Vancil and produced by independent movie company Dead Gentlemen Productions. It is an affectionate spoof of role-playing games, and often shown at gaming conventions. A sequel entitled The Gamers: Dorkness Rising was set to be released in 2006, but was delayed due to problems finding a distributor; it was eventually released on DVD in August 2008 at conventions and online.
A second sequel The Gamers: Hands of Fate was funded via Kickstarter and its extended cut is as of GenCon 2013 revealed in segments via YouTube
The movie flips between following a group of gamers in a dorm immersed in a role-playing game, and their characters (played by the same actors) as they journey through a world of fantasy and wonder to defeat a being known as "The Shadow" and rescue a princess. The latter is theoretically a heroic quest, but while the game master attempts to foster in a narrative, the players tend to be more interested in their characters' tolerance for ale, trying to apply the sneak attack damage multiplier to siege weaponry, et cetera.
The movie both makes fun of gamer stereotypes and plays the discrepancy between an optimal RPG plot and the events of an actual RPG session for maximum absurdity. Characters attempting something dangerous freeze as dice clatter in the distance. The party thief picks the pocket of a bystander, then steals that bystander's pants—not because he wants the pants in any way, but solely to see if his skill statistics allow it. When an unlucky dice roll causes the death of one character, the other players' characters mourn him for a moment, and then immediately start squabbling over the items he was carrying. Characters spring to action, then keel over as their players forget and are reminded that the characters are asleep, players argue and make snack runs, and their game is frequently interrupted by a girl from the same dorm who demands they keep quiet so that she can study.
The Shadow is eventually defeated, after a long quest, and the characters find themselves in a strange tunnel. On the other side of the door, they hear voices—the voices of their players, who are narrating the action in the hallway outside. Bursting into the room (as dictated by the players), the characters slaughter the gamers, then begin picking over the room for treasure. Discovering that their entire adventure has been documented by the 'strange sorcerers' they've just slain, they discover their character sheets (which inadvertently insults the group's warrior, because his Intelligence statistic is only 4). In the midst of these revelations, the 'Princess' (the girl who needs to study and is constantly interrupted by the gamers' noise) bursts in and reads them the riot act, thinking their outfits to be mere costumes; after she leaves, the adventurers seem quite stunned that their beloved Princess has such a foul mouth and temper.