There have been many documentaries, professional and fan-made alike, tackling the subject of gaming addiction. Juan Carlos Pineiro Escoriaza’s SECOND SKIN focusses on the massively multi-player side of things, with WORLD OF WARCRAFT, EVERQUEST and SECOND LIFE taking precedence. Although the documentary was released during THE BURNING CRUSADE era of WoW there is, for many, still a pressing concern.
LOVE CHILD, however, focusses on online gaming addiction in South Korea and has premiered at the prestigious Sundance festival. There have always been exaggeration and misinformation surrounding MMOs, and while some often tragic stories have been proven, many were simply invention. LOVE CHILD centres on a couple whose three month old daughter died of malnutrition while they were preoccupied with the now obsolete online game ARACNE SAGA (formally PRIUS ONLINE).
Although cynics would have rebuked the couples reduced sentence (due to their addiction) as skirting the subject, there is a wider issue at large, and while lesser films have attempted to tackle the whole problem, LOVE CHILD explores one part, namely the affordable internet infrastructure in South Korea. "Korea has had high speed Internet for much longer than we have in the States," director Valerie Veatch stated to Indiewire. "They have a very sophisticated gaming industry and culture. This story was completely different these news stories."
For many South Korea is a land of extremes, often at odds with their own experiences of gaming culture. Though it may be difficult to imagine a stadium in the states or the UK where fans watch gamers battle it out on STARCRAFT, the wider issue mustn’t be ignored. In a society where gaming is becoming increasingly profitable and prevalent this issue is going to have to be tackled properly sooner rather than later.
Veatch dealt with the infamous ‘leave Britney alone’ uploader Chris Crocker in her previous film ME @ THE ZOO. She’s part of a group of contemporary commentators, offering what isn’t being seen elsewhere. Now she’s shed some light on the issue in South Korea, she may attempt something a little closer to home.
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