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Archive for Friday, February 7, 2014

Locally produced Web series take funny look at gaming culture

February 7, 2014

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Observe the gamer, sitting in its large, overstuffed office chair. As the only light in the dim room filters from the computer screen, its fingers deftly skim across the keyboard, frantically pressing the keys.

Wait, this sounds like David Attenborough, but isn't about ecosystems or gorillas. Actually, you're probably watching The Gaming Wildlife Foundation, a parody YouTube channel produced by a group of Kansas University film and media studies graduates about gaming culture through the lens of a nature documentary.

"The Web series is essentially about making fun of, but fully embracing, the people behind the gaming cultures," Ian Weaver, the creative head of the team who does much of the writing and acting, said.

And last week, the year-and-a-half-old series got a moment in the digital spotlight. A video in their series "If companies were 100% honest with us..." featuring Electronic Arts made the front page of Reddit. It got more than 300,000 views.

YouTube

Gaming Wildlife's 'If Electronic Arts were 100% honest with us...'

"It's a minor viral success," Weaver said.

The video pokes fun at EA's track record of releasing games that don't work very well, focusing on raking in the cash instead of producing good games.

"[Ian] got so fed up with the company," Daniel Suffield, producer and director of photography, said. So fed up that the team wrote and shot the video in one day. "It's more like him just raging out to the world and world said, 'Yep, I agree with you!'"

Weaver and his team hope to take The Gaming Wildlife Foundation from a side project they dreamed up during their final semesters at KU into their full-time jobs. Right now, each team member holds down a day job and YouTube isn't bringing home the bacon yet (their first paycheck, totaling $50, came in about a month ago).

But they have high hopes for making a statement in the gaming world.

"There's a lot of hilarity in how we pick and choose our recreation time," Shoshana Rose, head writer, said. "We divide ourselves into multiple pieces and I really like examining all those bits... I think we do that really well."

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