Another Perfect World
More 4 (a TV channel in the UK) aired a documentary last night about MMORPGs and virtual worlds entitled Another Perfect World. I had no idea it was on but fortunately a friend of mine sent me a text message just after it started and I got to see most of it. Usually these sorts of documentaries can either be very patronising and dull or full of tales of woe about how World of Warcraft ruined someones life. Surprisingly though the documentary was very interesting and informative.
It focused more on the virtual world side of MMORPGs rather than the pure game side and I think it was all the better for it. As enjoyable as the ‘gaming’ element of MMOs is, the truly groundbreaking stuff is occurring in the social and technological sides of it and the documentary mainly explored the way these virtual worlds are affecting and influencing the real world.
It was all fascinating stuff and I saw some interesting opinions and learnt some new facts about games like Second Life, Lineage and Eve. The documentary focused on them the most as they seemed to have the greatest impact into the real world mainly due to the societies they try to create. A lot of the documentary was exploring the rights and freedoms of users in games and where the blend between reality starts and stops. There was also a really great interview with Raph Koster, leader designer on Ultima Online, creative director on Star Wars: Galaxies and currently the founder and president of Metaplace.
Something that was really interesting to me was the stuff about South Korea. I always knew they were big into gaming but never to the extent that the documentary reveals. Apparently they have three television channels (?! maybe I heard that wrong) devoted to gaming shows and they having video game schools for training teenagers to become professional gamers. Starcraft still seems to be hugely popular there (I bet Blizzard are just drooling over releasing SC2 there) and they’re also dedicated to Lineage 1 & 2. Apparently they even have their own cyber police called the Cyber Terror Response Center (they cover all sorts of online issues – like viruses and hacking – not just online games as the documentary infers).
You can watch Another Perfect World online using 4OD but I’m not sure if it’s restricted to the UK only. Hopefully not. I’d highly recommend checking it out. Be careful though – it will really make you want to play Eve Online I’m downloading it now…