Monster Camp Cullen Hoback

Monster Camp Cullen Hoback
The subject of RPG players gaming in costume and in character is an easy target for a condescending smartass. But to his credit, Cullen Hoback has cut the snark, choosing instead to gently regard the people who retreat once a month to live in a fantasy world. "Larping” is live action role-playing and there are a devoted group of people in an organization called Nero that created rules for playing in the field, as opposed to at your kitchen table. The Seattle, WA chapter attracts a wide array of people, from stable folks looking for an intense outlet to outsiders who would usually be stereotyped as fan-ish losers. But though one subject repeated his senior year of high school more times than generally considered standard, and another confesses to a dangerous addiction to World of Warcraft, Hoback doesn’t judge. Instead, he stands back and watches the dynamics of the gamers: the tricky relationship between real-world identity and player characters, the kind of all-in person it takes to succeed at the game and the selfless volunteers who suffer all manner of indignities in order to make sure the show goes on. We get more of a précis than a full-on analysis, and I wanted desperately to pick the brains of any one of the interviewees to know their personal history. But it’s a good, non-dismissive introduction to the phenomenon that notes the difference of the participants without damning them for stepping out of line. Extras include a decent enough filmmaker’s commentary, the slightly underwhelming short used to raise money, a groan-making short dramatic film about two videogamers who find the system of the future and deleted scenes. (Koch)