LTG copy


Along comes a documentary dedicated to gamers. Probably sparks thoughts of SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD, right?  Bright colours …dynamic graphics…truly, how could a community consumed by such energetic pursuits possibly be captured any other way.

And yet, scene after scene of this film dedicated to joystick jockeys is nothing but static and subdued imagery. What’s stranger is that it’s all completely suited to the people we meet. Almost makes you wonder how a passion so dynamic could appeal to those that are so withdrawn.

LIVING THROUGH GAMING zeroes in on the world of professional video games. Some of the biggest tournaments the world over bring players together to duke it out playing Street Fighter – a title that’s had several tweaks over the years but has largely gone unchanged in strategy. There are thousands of games new and old to choose from, but for these men and women, Street Fighter is the only game that matters – the only one they use to demonstrate their skill.

The doc introduces us to stars on the scene like Daigo – a former champion that has slipped from the mountaintop, but always seems poised to climb back up. There’s Momichi, a stoic player that sees the challenge frame-by-frame and seems consumed with being the best, often to the detriment of his relationship with his girlfriend, ChocoBlanka.

The list goes on and on: Challengers, champions, has-been’s, and never-were’s. Some simply live to game; a select few actually make a living through gaming.

Win or lose, these people have the admiration of an entire community – but it never seems to be enough. So if they aren’t enjoying what they’re doing, why do it?

All of those hours of practice, all of that dedication, all of that sacrifice? Usually, this sort of price is willingly paid since it doesn’t actually seem like a price at all. And yet, watching Daigo and Momichi practice and play, one wonders if they are ever taking true enjoyment from their gaming. It’s hard to believe that anyone can become the best at something they don’t enjoy.

And yet…

More than once, these gamers mention family. We learn their thoughts on missed opportunities, points of prides, and desire to do better. And yet, at every turn, family seems to be taking a back seat. One wonders if some of these young men can see anything if it isn’t inside the ballast of their monitor.

What’s clear from this movie is that gaming isn’t child’s play. It requires a great deal of concentration, strategy, dexterity, and skill. It can actually lead to tremendous opportunities for fame and a living wage, but those opportunities cannot come to those without ambition. Indeed, some of the people we meet in this film have indeed made lives for themselves through gaming. Now, one hopes that they can start living the lives gaming has afforded them.


LIVING THE GAME plays at Hot Docs 2017 on Thursday, May 4th, 8:45pm at The Scotiabank Theatre. It then plays The Scotiabank once more at The Scotiabank Theatre, on Sunday May 7th – 6:15pm.