During the recent summer break whilst enjoying some much needed downtime I came across a webseries that really opened my eyes to the potential of the internet as a resource for serious comedy...okay a teensy oxymoron there but I soldier on. For many of you I suspect that your first thought is "where have you been?!" but it was news to me and so I am led to think there may be others who are living in darkness and can be brought into the light.
There are many webseries out there and many worthy of mention but the one that has really grabbed me is The Guild. Created and written by Felicia Day the mother of all geek icons, it tells the story of a group of gamers who play together in an MMORPG that bears a striking and deliberate resemblance to the much loved World of Warcraft.
Focusing on their interactions in real life as well as some in-game moments it brings to life the stereotypical socially awkward gaming archetypes with, as they say, hilarious results. For me the laughs are to be found in the exaggerated yet eerily accurate portrayals of the socially inept at play and the variety of neuroses on display is as comprehensive as it is laugh out loud funny. From creepy yet lovable stalker 'Zaboo' played by the brilliant Sandeep Parikh to the deadpan insanity of 'Vork' brought to side splitting life by the inspired Jeff Lewis not to mention all the others that make up this extraordinary cast of comic geniuses.
And yet as a gamer I also see some of myself in the characters. The part of me that recognises the far less threatening opportunities for relationship and challenge in a virtual world rather than facing an ever more difficult real one. Is that part of the appeal of this series for me? A chance to laugh at the absurdities of my gaming life in a way that feels affectionate for all its irreverence? Yes, I think it is a part of it but I really don't want to get too far away from just how good this series is in its own right. Though it has appealed to me from the start it is now in its 3rd season and the writing and production values have sharpened up exponentially as the series has progressed and the characters have been developed in a way that is believable in the context while still surprising and delighting in equal measure.
I have great hopes for this series and look forward to seeing how Miss Day futher develops the characters and the storyline. Have a look at the series yourself whether you're a gamer or not, start at the beginning and get on through. Each episode averages out at around 5 minutes so it shouldn't take long to catch up. I challenge you not to love the characters as I have come to and maybe even to see gamers and gaming in a new light.
"They're human after all, who knew?" - We did.