It is clear from the beginning of “IRL,” that this short documentary film will take audiences into the darker corners of online gaming. As a sweeping score beings to play, a black screen slowly reveals a quote from David Ryan that reads, “You do anything long enough to escape the habit of living until the escape becomes that habit.” Video game addiction has been explored through film in the past, but never like it is portrayed in “IRL.” Instead of pointing a camera at dozens of hopeless victims, all searching for pity, the films creator, Anthony Rosner points the camera at himself.
“IRL” is a documentary film clocking in at just above seven minutes, which uncovers the crueler side of video game addiction. Over the course of the film, Rosner describes that over time, his game of choice, World of Warcraft, consumed every aspect of his life. With six years of his life dedicated to this game and no tangible relationships to speak of, Rosner documents his eventual departure from the game he once held so dear.
Reception On YouTube
After being released in January, “IRL” has accumulated close to 400,000 views on YouTube and gained a large amount of views on sites like Reddit and Digg. “I felt that was the right audience because the audience is more likely to be interested in this sort of film,” Rosner said explaning why he felt the film has such a strong reception on YouTube. In addition to a strong response on YouTube, “IRL” has also been featured on Kotaku, Game Informer and WoW Insider.
With “IRL” gaining more views worldwide, Rosner went on to explain that the reaction to the film has been, genuinely, what he was hoping for, “Majority responses have been people telling me their own stories about their own problems with Warcraft and how it’s affected them. On top of that people are reacting to my film saying how it has inspired them to do the same, and how they felt touched by the video.”
“IRL” and Social Media
Rosner contributes much of the films success to the sharing channels that social media open for young filmmakers, “I think the fact that people can share the videos directly or tweet them directly, they can interact with people straight away. Especially the ways news articles have incorporated that whole sharing into a lot of their websites it means that a lot of people can actually really engage with the content.”
You can check out “IRL” on YouTube here and visit the official Facebook page for the film here. Let us know what you think of “IRL” below or tweet us at @NewRockstars. You can also tweet me at @MatthewManarino to tell me all about how great the Mists of Pandaria beta is, that way I can live vicariously through you. Curse you adulthood.