Last week I took the opportunity to watch A Tale of Internet Spaceships on Youtube, a documentary about Eve Online. It was funded on the Indiegogo crowdfunding platform for a small sum raising a total of$3018 of its $6000 funding goal. The film is shot entirely at CCP’s annual Fanfest event in 2013 where developers and fans alike celebrated the games tenth anniversary, It’s an interesting documentary to someone who has played Eve Online, and I think it makes a reasonable attempt at being of being enjoyable to those who don’t understand the intricacies of the game. In fact it does make the best description of Eve in a few sentences that I have ever heard. When you’re into that game there is nothing you fear more than a complete outsider asking you just what the hell this weird thing is.
Perhaps for reasons of budget, the film is just under an hour long, and it is maybe for that reason that the filmmakers Elin Thedin and Peter Mårtensson decided to focus on one small part of Eve’s history, the Jita Riots. This is also the event that is sometimes known to outsiders as ‘Monoclegate’. However as this film demonstrates, this was always about much more than $70 monocles. It was about disappointment with the Incarna walking in stations technology, a general sense of discontent about the lack of iteration on currently broken systems in favour of flashy new ones, the broader direction of the game, and outrage about micro transactions.
These events are described by various CCP developers and prominent players such as Sindel Pellion, The Mittani, and Roc Wieler, as well as various members of the player elected Council of Stellar Management, the player elected representative body with stakeholder status at CCP, both past and present. Whilst these players are well known to the informed player base, little concession is made by the film to explaining who they are in the grand scheme of the game or its fan base.
There are so many interesting stories to tell about Eve Online that I understand the documentary makers desire to narrow the focus to a single event, and they’ve done a pretty good job in my opinion. The sound quality was a little iffy at the beginning with a lot of background conference noise, but other than that they seem to have made good use of their budget. I’m even fairly confident that sufficiently interested complete outsider to MMO games would find it worth watching.
This sort of documentary is a rare thing in the MMO world, give it a try and see what you think, especially if you’re a “I like reading about it, but I don’t want to play it” kind of person.