TL;DR – A series that charts the course of a relationship from the online to the IRL
Love, Guns & Level Ups Review –
We live in a big weird connected world. I have good friends that I have never met in the real or only one time. I also have nemeses that I have never met in the real … you know who you are. This oddity, thanks to the internet, is a concept that I have seen a couple of attempts to explore. Still, it is usually from people who don’t understand the medium of video games and the relationships that can form because of them. Today we get to look at a series that
So to set the scene, we open in on a chat log as two friends hop online to play Go-Go Soldier, a popular Battle Royale game. Amongst all the carnage of power-ups, dance bonuses, and just general chaos, two players Elliot or Mad_Martigan (Eduard Geyl) and Bree or GG_Gun (Lisa Fanto) eye the same bonus, a bow with a dynamite arrow. They get beaten to the bow by another player, but through some quiet communication, they choose to help take down the goon before a falling stick of dynamite separates them. They are pulled apart, but there is an instant connection which leads to some clear gun flirting a little later. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
From the start, you can tell this is a show written by people who understand video games. We open in a pitch-perfect recreation of a battle royale in the style of Fortnite with all its weirdness. The chat logs between everyone feel real because I can probably find very similar conversations on my discord. Heck even guarding one of your teammates because they have had to go AKF for a moment. All of these moments thoroughly grounded me in the game and the show. It also helps that I’ve been to a Supanova back in the before times and you can tell they got that entirely on point because I think they filmed at one.
As too was the recreations of all the different video game genres we see throughout the series. Form cowboy saloons, to fighting off zombie hordes, heck even an excellent top-down RPG. Of course, none of these are the actual games in the genre, but they get the tone completely right, and I will always respect someone declaring ‘MUMMIES!’ at the top of their voice. How they create games in this world is also interesting. They use a combination of this overly cartoony-style animation on top of real-world action and stunts. Now while they are working on a small budget so not all of the effects land (which you could say like those pillars were just in-game glitches). Overall the effect and juxtaposition of the two styles create a visually engaging presentation.
With the story, I am going to talk about more of the set up here and then dive deeper into spoilers in the next paragraph. For this series to work, you have to believe that connection between Elliot and Bree immediately. Which is a good thing then that the actors nail it, and you can’t help but get sucked into their charming world. Watching them flirt shoot their way through a level was a delightful touch and an excellent way to move the story forward when you only have six ten-ish minute episodes to go through the whole narrative. I also liked the banter between them and their friends Sean (Walter Buckley) and Steph (Shabana Azeez) in which some advice that may have been important was ignored.
Now, even though we mentioned spoilers were coming, I think it is best to let you know that we will be discussing the ending and so there will be major [SPOILERS] ahead. While everything was cute from the start, there are some clear warning signs that they are rushing into this relationship too quickly, and that is a perilous predicament. This soon starts to unravel because they are not open about their lives and their insecurities. Before long, we have reached a tipping point when one of the characters crosses an unacceptable line. I am glad that the series did not undercut how much of a betrayal this was and had the other party act appropriately to that breach of trust. The issues here are issues that people in this industry have to deal with daily, so I am glad they have been flagged. I don’t think either of these two characters dealt with the issue in a healthy manner, but once that line is crossed you should do what they did and get out. All of this means that I don’t think this series is going to end where they expect it will end, but it does end in a place that works for the story.
In the end, do we recommend Love, Guns & Level Ups? Yes, yes we do. It is an interesting story that is rooted in the culture it is representing. It does go to uncomfortable places but it is good to explore those areas of the online world. And hey, it is just nice to see Adelaide playing Adelaide for a change.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Love, Guns & Level Ups
Directed by – Nicholas Cleary & Andrew Shanks
Written by – Daniel Vink, Nicholas Cleary & Andrew Shanks
Created by – Fury Fingers
Production/Distribution Companies – Screen Australia, South Australian Film Corporation & Fury Fingers
Starring – Eduard Geyl, Lisa Fanto, Walter Buckley & Shabana Azeez with Elliot Howard, Hjálmar Marteinsson, JusZ Cosplay, Leigh Hyland,
Episodes Covered – Love at First Fight, Double Dating, Non-Conventional Meet Up, Dead Serious, Tactical Espionage Reaction & Revive Me