Saturday, October 11, 2008

Gamebox 1.0

Genre - Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Year Released - 2005
Running Time - 83 minutes
Directed by David & Scott Hillenbrand (both of whom also directed National Lampoon's Dorm Daze 1 & 2)
Written by Patrick Casey & Worm Miller (both of whom also wrote National Lampoon's Dorm Daze 1 & 2)
Cast Includes:
Nate Richert
Danielle Fischel (National Lampoon's Dorm Daze 1 & 2)
Patrick Kilpatrick (The Toxic Avenger and Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins)
Patrick Cavanaugh (National Lampoon's Dorm Daze 1 & 2)

Rating: 3 Skulls

Plot Summary:

Miserable after the shooting death of his girlfriend, video game tester Charlie immerses himself in his work. When a new 3-D game arrives in the mail, he becomes caught up in its bizarre fantasy world - literally. Trapped inside the game, Charlie's only way out is to win a brutal fight-to-the-death battle.


I saw a trailer for this movie, a while back, and it reminded me a little bit of the 1994 movie Brainscan (starring Edward Furlong)

The movie starts out with a boy convulsing in his sleep, with back and forth flashes from him sleeping/convulsing, to fleeing from someone in a video game world. When the villain catches up to him, he kills the boy, and we see the boy die in his sleep.
So, now we know, if you die in the game - you die in reality.

The movie then jumps a week ahead, to where we meet a video game tester named Charlie. Turns out, he tests video games (for glitches, etc) 40 hours a week, and then goes home, only to play more video games.
[When we first see Charlie, he is playing a video game, and in the background is a news clip talking about video games being the perfect platform to take over the world - via mind control. This reminded me of a book I read, a few years ago, called Gamemaster, written by Franklin E. Wales that had a similar premise. I definitely recommend that book to anyone out there!]

Charlie seems a likeable enough guy - everyone seems to know him and get along with him. We eventually learn that Charlie's girlfriend was killed in a shooting accident, and this is why Charlie immerses himself in the realm of video games.

When a package arrives in the mail, Charlie opens it to discover a new video game system.
There is a black circular shaped console with a silver button that says Start, a three-pronged headset, and a small wand-type device.
When Charlie places the headset upon his head, a disembodied voice immediately welcomes him and starts telling him about the game and its rules. It explains that the small wand-type device is a camera with which to take pictures of friends, or whoever, to be downloaded and used in the game as characters.. It tells him to choose someone he genuinely hates to be portrayed as the villain in the game.
The game then tells Charlie that there are three levels/worlds, in which to choose from - they are:
Zombie Land
Crime Spree
Alien Planet
Charlie chooses to start out in Crime Spree, where he is some mob-type character whose mission it is to obtain something in a briefcase.
Along the way, Charlie learns that the headset is no longer needed, as this is no ordinary game - in fact, he is trapped within the game, and the only way out is to survive or die. The game helps Charlie out, at first, explaining that anything acquired (weapons, etc.) within the game, can simply be called to hand by naming the item he wants/needs, it explains about Health Icons, and his Lives. Charlie then learns that as he progresses farther into the game, he will eventually encounter the other levels/worlds.

I do not know who Nate Richert is, but I thought he was great as Charlie. He portrayed that "gamer logic" perfectly. Even when he was in serious danger, he would still comment something like, wasn't that kill shot cool :-)
As for the game world - the effects, I thought, were pretty cool (see the trailer below)

If you enjoy playing video games and just keep the mentality that this could be the future of the gaming world [virtual reality type games] then I think that you will enjoy this movie.
Hey, I'm still waiting for the Holodeck to be created! :-)


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