IRL – In Real Life is a short documentary by Anthony Rosner about himself. A World of Warcraft veteran, his film details the dizzying virtual heights his character Sevrin ascended to during his active years in the game, and the real life fallout that came along with it.
From love found and lost via online gaming, to a social life outside of WoW severely stunted by his own success at the game, Rosner illustrates his tale with footage from the game, instant messages and pictures of himself from when he wasn’t online. It’s entertaining for the most part, though the pacing can be a bit slow and the sound isn’t the best; it does sound like someone talking over their gaming mic, however, so it is appropriately raw in that way.
The end of the short suggests a type of Alcoholics Anonymous-style recovery from World of Warcraft, and I think this short plays in perfectly there, because in many ways it seems like it was just Rosner’s time to speak, and this is his, “Hello, my name is Anthony Rosner, and I was addicted to World of Warcraft…” opening. While he sounds a bit cross with himself over the years and money spent on World of Warcraft, his story is not all that different from people the world over, regardless of what addiction fills their daily routine; you can’t change the past, but you can make different choices in the future.
It’s not surprising that his move away from the game coincides with his first year at university, which usually tends to force the social issue. To quote Chef from South Park, “There’s a time and a place for everything, and it’s called ‘college,'” and for as many that branch away from the online gaming world when a new social life awaits, there’s probably just as many that become new gaming addicts. In that sense, this short is more than just a confession about World of Warcraft addiction, it’s also a document of a great transition in Rosner’s life.
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