The Gamers: Hands of Fate
To date, there have been 3 Gamers movies. The first (The Gamers) was… not all that great. It had moments of hilarity and some notable quotables, especially to those of us of a tabletop roleplaying bent, (“You have a trustworthy face!”) but ultimately it was exactly what you’d expect from a group of college schlubs with a shaky cam.
The second, The Gamers: Dorkness Rising, was much better. In addition to better production values, it had a great script and people who actually tried to act instead of just jacking around. But still, post-college schlubs who learned what “steady cam” meant.
The third had an actual budget. This came from a wonderful innovation called Kickstarter, so ultimately, it came from the fans of the intellectual property. I’m going to give plot synopsis of both the 2nd and the 3rd movies as the plotline between the two are contiguous, but I promise not to spoil anything.
In Dorkness Rising, gamemaster Kevin Lodge is struggling to write a module for Dungeons and Dragons and is using his gaming group as playtesters. His group is made up of Leo, a hobby store owner and min-maxer; Gary, a graduate student who pushes the envelope of “Chaotic Neutral”; and Cass, a rakish douchebag who power games through damn near anything. They decide it is time to add fresh blood when Lodge TPKs (total party kills) the group for the third time. Cass introduces his ex-girlfriend Joanna into the group, and the movie unfolds as this group of munchins, min-maxers, and power gamers have to deal with a totally different style of roleplaying.
In Hands of Fate, it is several years later and the gamers have all growed up, and as is wont to happen life keeps getting in the way of their play. After a year of missing games, Cass bumps into his perfect match: A beautiful young gamer girl whose mouth is fouler than his. Trouble is, she only plays a CCG (collectable card game) called the Romance of the Nine Empires, which is beneath Cass’ high gaming standards. But, in an effort to get into her Pinkie Pie panties, he decides to learn and win the game, but in doing this learns a valuable lesson along the way.
Still with me?
One thing that I failed to mention in the above synopses is that any actual “in game” play is related through the “real-life” people jumping into their characters. It’s a good deal of fun.
Production values aside, Dorkness Rising portrays some of the most accurate geeks I have seen in the media, and Hands of Fate keeps in all of that, and expounds upon it. Sure there is some measure of stereotyping, but nowhere NEAR what goes on in say, and episode of “Big Bang Theory”.
The plot is fairly straightforward and somewhat predictable, but it is presented in such an entertaining way that it doesn’t matter all that much. There is a great deal of focus spent on Cass as it is his character journey that the movie is intent upon, but there are plenty of amusing side-bits revolving around the other members of the gaming group as well, including a bit with a Tele-Tubbie knockoff… but I digress.
I do not recommend this movie for anyone that hasn’t at least seen Dorkness Rising but, if you’ve seen the second movie and not the first, you can still watch Hands of Fate without missing any important character development. There is a bit at the end of the movie that has a through to the first flick, but its oblique enough that you won’t be missing anything if you haven’t seen the first one.
One way or t’other, if you’ve seen and enjoyed Dorkness Rising, watch this movie. (It’s streaming online for free from now until 8/31/13 here.) It is highly entertaining and your time will not be wasted.
If you’ve not seen Dorkness Rising and enjoy tabletop RPGs, then watch it! It’s an amusing slice of life flick that does not disappoint.
If you have no interest in tabletop RPGs, don’t waste your time and save your criticism for your Facebook page. The Internet has enough armchair critics hiding behind the anonymity of a computer screen for several lifetimes, and your negativity is damaging my calm.
Respect to my nerdy brethren!