Escapist Video Movie Review Report > Über Goober
Starring: E. Gary Gygax, John
Kovalic, Michael Stackpole, Peter Adkison
Rated: Not rated - Contains
some subject matter that is not appropriate for children.
IMDB listing: Über Goober
Find it at: the Über
Goober is a documentary on gaming that covers both internal
gaming culture and the external attitudes towards gaming and gamers. It
is filmed in an interview style, with no narration, and covers
miniature gaming, tabletop roleplaying, and two flavors of live-action
roleplaying (dramatic and boffer fighting).
Goober covers a lot of ground, from details about the games
themselves, to stereotypes and general opinions of gaming from people
outside of the hobby, to cultural references to gamers (including clips
from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The X-Files, Saturday Night
Live, the made-for-TV movie Mazes &
Monsters, and The Simpsons).
STORY - Since Über Goober is a
documentary, there is no real plot to follow, but it is still organized
well and doesn't seem to wander much. The film is divided into three
different sections - Miniatures, Roleplaying, and LARP. There is a
little bit of "bleed through" here and there, such as when Stackpole
starts talking about the origins of role-playing urban myths during the
miniatures segment, when that seems like it should be in the
Goober earns four dice for keeping things orderly and interesting.
CHARACTERS - Über
Goober boasts interviews with some pretty big names in
gaming - Gary Gygax, John Kovalic, Peter Adkison, and even outspoken
gaming advocate Mike Stackpole, plus a large selection of average,
everyday gamers (including a police officer and a lawyer) at a
convention and in their natural habitats. A few of the interviews are
anonymous - their faces are hidden in silhouette, since they do not
wish to be 'outed' as gamers.
chapters of the film are interspersed with on-the-street interviews
where people are asked what they think of Dungeons & Dragons
players. Most have contempt or general displeasure for anyone who is a gamer. In one interview, a group
of men who are asked if they would date a selection of women with
different hobbies choose the D&D player over the others because
they feel she will be "freaky."
the counter-gaming arguments, the film brings in interviews with Bob
Larson, William Schnoebelen, and others who express their concerns that
gaming is dangerous and evil. There are even a couple interviews with
practicing pagans, who testify that the magic used in D&D and
other role-playing games is nothing like the rituals that they practice.
this wide selection of interviewees from many different angles, Über
Goober earns five dice.
LAUGHS & GASPS - There
are lots of opportunities to laugh, either with
or at (and sometimes both) the people interviewed in Über Goober.
biggest laugh, for me, came during the telephone interview with Bill
Schnoebelen, and his account of how he and his wife have been attacked
by opponents who astrally projected themselves into his home. (You can
read some more of his outrageous claims here).
There were also some good chuckles to be had at evangelist Bob Larson's
story of exorcising a D&D character out
of a woman (Fun fact: Larson apparently does his exorcisms before a
live studio audience!).
The biggest gasp would have to be the interview
with former gamer Larry Wessels from Christian Answers,
in which he explains the evils and spiritual dangers of gaming by
giving examples of his own perverted playing style, all of it delivered
in his gawky, chuckling manner:
"Over time, it starts to
take effect in the sense that you become obsessed with always needing
more. Uh, okay, we had a, we had a... we raped the princess over here
in this palace, but uh, that's not good enough, a month later let's
spice it up, now they're going to capture a caravan on a highway, and
there's fifty virgin women. And, uh, instead of just one woman over
here, let's move it up to fifty. And then let's start talking about all
the stuff we can do to each one of 'em, and then what we're going to do
to them afterwards..."
was easily the most disturbing part of the film. Four dice for letting
us laugh at ourselves, and showing just how scary the opposition can
REFERENCES & REALITY - Über
Goober easily scores five dice here, for giving solid
examples of what happens during a game, showing first-hand experiences
with gaming and game conventions, explaining the origins of the myths
about gaming, and giving anti-gamers an opportunity to look foolish all
on their own. Best of all, the
film dispels the "loner myth," one of the most persistent (and
illogical) myths about gamers. There are very many scenes of 'loner'
gamers having a great time together and enjoying each other's company
at home, at a convention, and on the LARP battlefield. It's an example
you could easily show someone the next time they try to tell you that
gamers are loners.
BONUS DICE - Über
Goober earns one bonus die right out of the gate for
including Schnobelen's comments about astral projection attacks. It's
obvious that it had nothing to do with the subject at hand, but was
included to make a point about how ridiculous his claims can get. This
sort of critical scrutiny should happen much more often than it does
when people make claims like these.
special features on the DVD include a trailer, the complete Gygax
interview and a short tour of Lake Geneva (guided by Gygax himself)
titled "D&D Beginnings", more of the
street interviews, and a great short about the crew and their
experiences making the film. The Gygax bits are interesting (but a
little dry), the street interviews are painful to watch and listen to,
and the crew short was fun. I'll toss in three bonus dice for the
extras, bringing the total to four dice.
DICE BAG - Über Goober has earned
a bag of 22 dice. It's an enjoyable film that covers many aspects of
hobby games and the people who play them.
like a lying, devouring people..."
This review is pure, 100% opinion, and could be
completely wrong. Agree? Disagree? Just want to add your two coppers?
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