by Ariel Carmona Jr
It was 9:25 PST and I was in a community chatroom at watchtheguild.com eagerly waiting for the first episode of the new season of Felicia Day’s intoxicating web series about a group of eccentric online gamers. Some had already watched the ep. on Xbox Live or MSN’s Zune, but the majority eagerly anticipated the return of the show which had yet to be posted on the official website or on Microsoft’s Bing website.
Things have changed since last season, now the episodes are rolling out on a split schedule with paying members enjoying the 2 day advanced view. Such is the price for corporate sponsors, but for the fans, it was a exercise in torturous anticipation.
“We’re a bunch of internet nerds anxious for their season 5 fix,” remarked a community member jokingly. Only he was right, Day’s web series had turned us all into impatient ninnies, and why not? The show is a little gem of a series and the very first to consistently employ the gaming community in a smart, well written manner.
Was the wait worth it?
I would say yes. The Guild rolls on with the same irreverence and wit with which it debuted with back in 2007, and despite the minor cult web following, the characters continue to be intriguing (in their own weird way) and the dialogue is still fun, though not as rife with gaming parlance as previous installments.
Day continues to mine gold from the vast pool of gaming references (excuse the mixed metaphors) and her own personal experience with gaming communities, humming the familiar theme to Tetris at the end of her customary opening soliloquy, further cementing her place as the internet’s reigning gamer chick queen (She’s due to star in Dragon Age Redemption based on Bioware’s immensely popular RPG series later this year.)
There are a number of gags which elicit a few chuckles, (none of which I will spoil here) but perhaps the greatest reward for fans choosing to return to Codex and friends’ cyberspace milieu is the interaction between a cast of familiar players, Tink the self absorbed materialistic gold digger, Vork the misanthropic father figure, Clara the irresponsible parent, Zaboo, who almost defies categorization, and Blades, now reveling in his 15 minutes through Cheesybeards pirate guy fame.
Codex’s romantic interest with Zaboo, hinted at in the season 4 finale also begins here.
The characters live in their own little worlds while continuing to venture into their virtual realities and in so doing continue to take us along, so we can revel in the escapism of temporarily stepping away from ours.
Product placement maybe more prevalent now, such as the Guild’s connection with “The World of Munchkin” series of games, but despite all the changes, characterization continues to be the Guild’s formula for success.