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Second Skin

Ratings: 5.33/10 from 12 users.

Second SkinSecond Skin takes an intimate, disturbing look at three sets of computer gamers whose lives have been transformed by the emerging genre of computer games called Massively Multiplayer Online games (MMOs).

World of Warcraft, Second Life, and Everquest allow millions of users to simultaneously interact in virtual spaces.

Second Skin introduces us to couples who have fallen in love without ever meeting, disabled players whose lives have been given new purpose, those struggling with addiction, Chinese gold-farming sweatshop workers, wealthy entrepreneurs and legendary guild leaders–all living within a world that doesn’t quite exist.

Second Skin focuses on a couple who met in a virtual world, an addict whose life was ruined by MMOs, and a group of MMO gamers who spend most of their lives inside virtual worlds.

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55 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Mistymoo


  2. Mistymoo

    This is rather sad l hope they all get help eventually it seems such a waste of life

  3. Sieben Stern

    I was amused by the woman with the picture of jesus over the bed behind her - talking about how the point of the game is to suck you in so the game company can make money... isn't it the same with religion? XD

  4. EOS

    @ don
    I live with a friend with serious IAD issues. I'm surrounded by IADs and while they're not wow players (thank ) NONE OF THEM, I repeat, ***NONE OF THEM*** has any social skills. I'm talking 100+people (I work in IT) In my opinion these people sold their lives to a load of bits and pixels. Tragic.

  5. B

    @ Dan
    LOL k Dan relax... iam jus sayin, now a days people to even know how to say hello to eachother. I think moderation is the key. But people who sit and play and make it there life, have a problem... dont you think?? Like i said reality is out there ... not in there....

  6. Don

    Seriously? Ppl who play wow don't have social skills? Because ppl who play wow never leave the house and never get the chance to interact with ppl, right?lol if that's what you believe that you must really have the mind of a child; only believing what he or she is told

  7. Don

    I play games and I been playing wow for about 5yrs now, but guess what? There's nothing wrong with that! Why? Because it doesn't dictate my life. I hate it when ignorant people post their ignorant comments pretending they know what they are talking about. Playing video games is no different from playing football or in this case, sitting down in front of your pc and watching an hour long doc. Please! We all enjoy different things we do for fun, so don't judge. Now, the people in this film are SICK, that should be the topic of discussion... Not GAMERS. But rather how do we treat ppl with a game ADDICTION. - well that's my input

  8. QueenBee

    @chaliegh: Just curious how someone racked up an extra $300 in electric bills playing on the computer.

    Mine is on 24/7 but doesn't add significantly to my overall electricity usage. Leaving a space heater on all day, however...ouch!

    1. shane scallan

      chaliegh: Just curious how someone racked up an extra $300 in electric bills playing on the computer.

      Mine is on 24/7 but doesn't add significantly to my overall electricity usage. Leaving a space heater on all day, however...ouch!"

      what a dumbass... plug the computer out and then judge how significantly impacted your electricity bill is.

    2. Top Scientist

      The dumbass is you, dumbass, if you think it takes anywhere near $300 to run a computer. Seriously, do the gene pool a big favor and blow the dog sh1t that passes for your brains out now.

      The actual amount is more like $10/month. If you had a super hot video card and actually played 24/7 you might get close to $40/month (about the cost of 500 watts for a month, depending on where you live).

  9. Oli

    I spent about 4 years in WoW and I absolutely loved it. But towards the end it started to get boring. The last year of those 4 years I only kept playing because of the social aspect. Mainly because RL friends that live in distant places since we all moved to separate parts of the world. I also made new friends in WoW of course. WoW is the best game ever made without a doubt. Of coarse there are a few who get addicted, but that goes for everything people indulge in.

  10. aaangie

    This was interesting, i loved the wedding! it has put me off joining an online game so thats good!

  11. chaleigh

    Well, in my personal opinion towards dealing with gamers,
    (my husband and my friends included), I don't play myself, cause I want to be in touch with the earth and have a spiritual connection with nature. And not be a part of the money-robbing-brain-sucking-soul-stealing,corporate ass-wipes of our dumb down society. Who make a fortune of this shit.
    However, I don't have anything against gamers. Hell, I married one. But I do have a problem when people start ignoring their responsibilities in real life. A friend of ours actually racked up our electric bill to $300 playing MMORPG.
    That's when I start to hate those games. When I have to pay for their play time.

  12. redteddy

    As for the mother all I have to say is what was said in South Park's 'Make Love not Warcraft'..."how do you kill that which has no life?". Gives much room for pause.

  13. B

    k seriously is this what it has come down tooo??? wow people need to learn social skillz and know that reality is out there not in there.... kinda feel sorry for people like that. Must have had a hard time making friends ect. I blame the parents ..... but as an adult come on the world is too beautiful and learn to be more ummmmm..... have self estem.

  14. Taiji

    As with many documenteries they try to pigeon-hole your opinion into believing what they believe. At the same time I'm not saying that these cases don't exist, but these are extreme cases and not the majority. Some people like myself play an MMO and still maintain productive lives. It won't do any good to generalize millions of people, by saying anyone who plays video games is a loser or child or any other insulting name, just because "YOU" don't share the same passion! Lets not forget the people mentioned here are ADDICTS and need help, and yes, that is sad.

  15. UniversalCypher


    i can appreciate what you're getting at, but i think the general stereotype you describe is way off. despite how true it might be, it is your own assumption based on ignorance, because your statement certainly only includes a small percentage of "gamers". i'd argue this point with you, but judging by the statement you've made, i highly doubt i could tolerate a reply from you..

    people who live in glass houses do well not to cast stones..


  16. Ramus

    "Stuffing buns into her gob" ROFL. that made my day ty. Btw my dps is not imba :( tard bm spec tier 10 gear bb

  17. Desdemone

    "I'd just piss in the bottle, not even getting up... then this one time I kinda just forgot which bottle was the pepsi and which was the....damn."

  18. m1tche11

    they obviously need to make a world of warcraft version for wi fit...

  19. NaughtyGnosiophile

    Lol, touche, Vlatko. (^_^)

  20. NaughtyGnosiophile

    Okay, now this is really weird, the second part of my comment that comment 32 is referring to got deleted. Yes, God really wants me to quit spamming. This is sooo f*up. Whatever, I give up.

    Not to rag on this site, I looooove this site, thank you Vlatko!

    1. Vlatko


      There is no God. It's me who wants you to stop spamming.

  21. NaughtyGnosiophile

    Okay, it think it dies if there is a domain name in it. I changed TheoryOfGnomage(a real dot)com to TheoryOfGnomage(dot)com and it worked. Maybe God is telling me not to spam.

    But it would be nice if the comment system told me what was wrong instead of just giving me a blank page and having me post all sorts of comments in different combinations to check what is wrong. I hate posting garbage comments (har har, I'm setting myself up, aren't I?)

    There, I did some QA for you Vlatko. =)

  22. NaughtyGnosiophile

    Thanks for the link! Haven't watched it yet, but I'm excited. Maybe Vlatko can add it?

    I also found the story of the mother who lost her son kind of fishy and I suspect there's more to the story. She seems a bit "off", overbearing and religiously zealous. (My girlfriend noticed the religious stuff in the background and the amazing similarity in thought and attitude with her own religious mother.) Religious people tend to see things in black and white, and as another commenter said, lump everything together and not see the "cross sections". I do feel for her though. Her pain is real, and I believe she has a truly kind heart.

    As for escapism and "being someone else", we do that in the real world, without video games. We put on makeup, and dress differently for different purposes. We act differently in front of friends, lovers, in-laws and when we're alone. Are we pretending to be somebody else in those situations? Or are they just different facets of ourselves? I tend to think of it in the latter terms. Analogously, I think online personas, while they can be escapism, can also be a vehicle for expression of a side of us we can't express anywhere else, just like music or any other art form (and like the mute guy in the doc). Perhaps the difference is that in escapism, you deny the other aspects of yourself, whereas a healthy approach is to integrate and accept all parts of ourselves. We have moments when we're super outgoing, and others when we're shy and reserved, but they are all still a part of the Self.

  23. Doc

    Surprisingly good documentary

  24. Leeroy Jenkins

    I hate to say it but if i had that lady for a mom, id probably end up killing myself too. It sounds like her son had some deep personal problems, and rather than taking them seriously she blamed everything on games. Even after the kids therapist told her that games were not the problem, she fired him and decided to live in her own "fantasy world" where all problems are game-related. (scapegoat)

    It doesn't help that her program is based on AA - which only tries to replace the drug of alcohol with the drug of religion. If she is as over-bearing and judgmental as she indeed came off, then she was probably one of the factors contributing to her sons illness.

    Maby he had a chemical imbalance in his brain the made him clinically depressed? Or Maby she was one of those psycho-moms that tries to micro-manage every aspect of their children's lives to the point where her 20-year old child doesn't know how to take care of himself in reality because he's been sheltered from it his whole life? Or maby he was one of those closet gay kids who grew up in an anti-gay family?

    There are lots of possible reasons for someone commiting suicide, but video-games? c'mon. -How do you lose your job to a video game anyway? Accidentally show up late to best-buy in your mage costume? "Hey mom i lost my job to those GD border-jumpers Mario & Luigi again."

    Blaming videogames for your or anyone else's personal shortcomings is a straight copout. Period.

  25. Dodgy

    As an mmo gamer I've seen them all. There are specific types that play certain games. The people that play the free games are the same ones that would buy junk from an infomercial because they really believe it's free. After awhile they learn that the cash shop is the way to advance and they end up paying anyway. Them I consider the sucker. Then there are those that are all about control. They buy the subscription game because it's a value for the time they expect to invest. Many of them are high achievers that can mainatain a second life (pun not intended) while maintaining their real lives. They are commonly guild leaders, those posting on the forums analyzing things or offering sagely advice. They are the thinkers. Every leader needs followers tho and for sub games there are plenty that like not being in control but join because their friends play that game. It's the majority of world of warcraft players, bandwagon hoppers. It's no surprise that wow players commonly have facebook and myspace accounts - they are going to follow anything that they are told is a trend. They are the largest group of gamers oddly enough. At the bottom of the heap are the escapists. They do play the games because they like the way the character looks, they model a character after what they would like to be. Those are the ones with personal problems. They will follow the prettiest games because that's what they want from the game - fantasy while the other gamers thrive on the achievement of being #1 or having great crafting skills for ex. In other words, gamers are just like society. All types.

  26. Cat Masters

    @Yavanna, This particular sub-culture is self-selecting, and it largely consists of people who prefer escapism to reality. They're dissatisfied with their actual lives, and so they create a virtual one in which they are strong, attractive, and powerful. In contrast to that, their everyday lives seem less and less compelling. Given that, I wouldn't outright dismiss the notion that a disproportionate number of gamers suffer depression compared to the general population.

  27. Tipsy

    The mother who lost her son bothered me. She seemed to have lumped all gamers into a neat tidy pile of "needy and ungrateful". Some of the things she said seemed really ignorant - particularly when she said that she couldn't work with people who "choose to remain sick", and that they would "drag you down with them". That seems like completely the opposite mindset you would need to help people, even if I did agree with her methods OR reasons for doing it.

    @Yavanna: Thanks for linking to that other video - it was interesting to see gaming from a more scientific point of view. I wish it had gone into more depth!

  28. UOgamer

    oldsalt, you sound like muslim extrimist, your comment to edgy. Have you ever been a player yourself?

    I remember, when i was 14-18, i nearly was kicked out from school, i really didnt care about it. I would spend gaming 14 hours a day, i would sleep for other hours. I would do such crazy thing's like waking up on 5 in the morning, just for 10 minutes because you get bonus, and then go back to sleep again. I remember spending all summer at home, i was pale as cocaine. Well, but when i remember all this stuff, my smile is from ear to ear. And i met some friends there, that's true. I feel sad, because i lost the contact's with them.
    I dont even know, why i stopped playing games.
    But nowdays, i have another problem, alcoholism. I keep spending more money then i earn, hope i will get over it, like with games. ;)

    And by the way... i am model, so not only fat people are hardcore gamers, dont stereotype. ;)

  29. Emilio

    very good doc
    i play regnum oonline,which is great
    gaming is like everything in life,you must have selfcontrol
    Vlatko,this is a excellent site,congrats
    greetings from Argentina

  30. Yavanna

    So Vlatko when you gonna start a dating section on forums then?

  31. KT

    Whoopi your idea is amazing :)
    But it would end up having more comments underneath than the comments used to make it I'm afraid.

  32. Graham

    What the hell it's not just this website every single copy of this doc I try and watch is out of sync

  33. Graham

    Hrm the sound is off for me

  34. Yavanna

    What server Kater?

  35. katerpult

    should try wow and meth - theres no need for sleep.
    lol, joke. am playing myself, but never had a problem with stopping or real life suffering cause of gaming but on the other hand i am also not a social ****** or ugly.

  36. mm24

    Is the sound out of sync?

  37. Yavanna

    Oldsalt - You're prolly just bitter cos you've got low DPS!

  38. Triad

    HaHA! Manchildren, Very funny

  39. oldsalt

    MMORPGs are sisyphean treadmills that reel in suckers with false signal sets and illusory progress (overweight losers, who ought to be socially punished for wasting hours on meaningless games, are socially rewarded in the fantasy by the internal game mechanics) and spits them out as disconnected man-children who care more about a crude, pixellated fantasy than reality. I wonder what all these chubby chair potato schlubs are gonna do when the grids go down.

  40. Triad

    Very sad I think.
    They should get rid of all those games,
    And just leave Top Doc!
    Kidz need to know what natures all about

  41. Yavanna

    Make love not Warcraft!

  42. Yavanna

    "Mummmmm - More hot-pockets!!!!!!"

  43. Vlatko

    What is your point @whoopi goldberg. Any suggestions?

  44. Yavanna


    It was a bit of a below the belt blow. I suppose the point I was trying to get across was this woman seemed quite pathetic, probably a poor mother and if she been a better parent perhaps her son would have been less of a leacher man-child. The fact that she went out straight away and found another such guy to care for indicates that she (as these type of people often do) seeks to remain a victim.

    I just thought that the subject of suicide on the doc was over-played (pun intended.) Gamers are just a sub division of any of society's groups and each has their suicide quota. Is suicide more prevalent amongst gamers? Probably yes. Typical hard core gamers such as we see is the doc tend to be social misfits, loners and escapists.

  45. Bodd

    GOB!!!! LOL, I instantly forgot everything about this doc when i saw your comment. Yavanna you are a legend!

  46. cg

    i had hoped to see more direct references to secondlife, but overall it was a good doc.

  47. whoopi goldberg

    they should make a documentary about top documentary films flirtation on comments..

  48. Paul

    A lady loses her son to suicide and you focus on her stuffing buns into her gob. LOL. Got to admit: didn't see that one coming...

    There are no bad points in this film. Gob.. lol. Still can't believe you went there, man. Sheesh.

  49. Yavanna

    Well she SAID she put everything into saving him (the second gamer) but from all evidence she was putting everything into stuffing buns into her gob. Perhaps if she had been a decent parent in the first place huh? How did you manage to pick the 0.5% bad point from a film that was very educational?

    A good doc. Funny and sad in places. a world inside a world some (*cough*) of us might have experienced. In particular the relationships between gamers was intriguing.

  50. Paul

    Well, if that woman that lost her son isn't the saddest thing in the world. It's obvious that she's still struggling to come to terms with her loss, as I'm sure I would, too.
    Then comes along another 'gamer' and she puts everything into saving him, a stranger. That poor, poor woman. My heart goes out to her. I just can't even imagine what it's like.

  51. Yavanna

    OMG finally a doc I can Pwnz0r you all at!