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10 Outstanding Documentaries About Subcultures

9. Darkon

Darkon2 Luke Meyer and Andrew Neel's film Darkon (2006) looks at a popular LARP (Live Action Role-Playing Game) community in Baltimore, Maryland whose game is centered in the mythical place of Darkon. In the world of Darkon, players create characters, participate in mock battles, and strategize about the conquest of territories. What works quite well is the directors' choice to tell much of the story through the in-game conflicts of Skip Lipman ("Bannor") and Kenyon Wells ("Keldar"). Interspersed with the many battle scenes are interviews with Lipman, Wells, and other major players. These interviews are especially important in the film as they highlight (much like Nygard's Trekkies films) the seriousness of the game and its players€”ultimately highlighting that there is much more at stake to the game than the characters and their battles. We might call such games forms of "deep play" as they appear ridiculous on the surface but have much greater stakes beneath.
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Scott A. Lukas has taught anthropology and sociology Lake Tahoe Community College for sixteen years and in 2013 was Visiting Professor of American Studies at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany. He has been recognized with the McGraw-Hill Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching of Anthropology by the American Anthropological Association (2005), the California Hayward Award for Excellence in Education (2003), and a Sierra Arts Foundation Artist Grant Program Award in Literary–Professional (2009). In 2006, he was a nominee to the California Community College Board of Governors. He is the author/editor of The Immersive Worlds Handbook (2012), Theme Park (2008), The Themed Space: Locating Culture, Nature, and Self (2007), Fear, Cultural Anxiety, and Transformation: Horror, Science Fiction, and Fantasy Films Remade, (co-edited with John Marmysz, 2009), Recent Developments in Criminological Theory (co-edited with Stuart Henry, 2009), and Strategies in Teaching Anthropology (2010). His book Theme Park was recently translated into Arabic. He appeared in the documentary The Nature of Existence and has provided interviews for To the Best of Our Knowledge, The Huffington Post UK, The Daily Beast, The Washington Post, and Caravan (India).