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By Eric Campos | March 16, 2006

In the soccer fields of Baltimore, there wages a war between rival countries in the domain of Darkon. This is a time of high adventure. This is also a time of dedicated role playing gamers beating the spaghettios out of each other with foam covered weapons.

Darkon is a live action role playing game that gathers some couple thousand active members in Baltimore, Maryland, often in a soccer field, for simulated, unchoreographed medieval battles. Dressed in homemade armor and costumes and brandishing foam padded weapons often made of PVC pipe or wood, gamers join one of the warring countries in anticipation for a mid-afternoon smackdown. And while these fights are simulated, it’s still a full contact game, so the weak of heart and brittle of bone should…well…watch their a*s.

But it’s not all just skull cracking fun. Gamers taking part in the world of Darkon find themselves developing relationships with other players, buying special powers to use in future battles, making treaties, learning bizarre languages and partying around bonfires. Gamers become completely folded into this world and if they had it their way, they would never leave…in fact, from the looks of it, some never do.

“Darkon” takes a look at several of these players who use the game to gain some power in their lives where they are otherwise under the thumb of an oppressive reality. Right away you identify this movie as a “Trekkies,” laugh at the obsessed nerds, type of doc. But as we get to know these gamers more and we hear them present their cases for this gaming obsession, we realize that, while existing in the world of Darkon, they’re some of the happiest people on Earth. They’re a really smart, charming bunch (okay, some of these dudes are a little spooky), constantly using their imaginations and creating and that’s quite a bit more than you can say for many other people out there leading dull existences with no creative outlet. So in the end, you’re not laughing at these guys because they’re a bunch of weirdos, you’re laughing in celebration of their unbridled passion.

But, rather than focus entirely on the lives of these gamers and the backstory of the game and its rules, the filmmakers of “Darkon” have decided to drop their audience right into the middle of the battlefield. Viewers are immersed in this world with sweeping camera work, featuring helicopter shots of the battlefield, and an epic fantasy score. It’s obvious that the film has been made by people with a strong love for the game and they do everything in their power to make their audience understand what it’s like to live in Darkon. They succeed.

You can’t go wrong with “Darkon.” It’s an epic fantasy adventure with loads of laughs, starring a bunch of people who, believe it or not, you wish you were.

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