This gamer true crime show featuring Discord sleuths is certainly a way to spend 2 hours

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This gamer true crime show featuring Discord sleuths is certainly a way to spend 2 hours

Perfect World: A Deadly Game is a true crime documentary about a group of gamers that helped catch a murderer via an MMO and Discord in 2019. The two-part show on Peacock Premium isn’t bursting with cliche—there’s no conflation of videogame violence with real life violence or anyone explaining what videogames even are—but there’s not much else going on either.

The mini series focuses on a group of friends that played on a private server based on the Chinese MMO Perfect World. Like a lot of niche gaming communities now, they all used Discord as a place to chat every day outside the game. One of the members, who uses the handle “Menhaz”, was a frequent troll that nobody took that seriously until he posted multiple photos of dead bodies and claimed they were his family members. The show tells the pretty haunting story of a group of gamers quickly realizing that one of their friends was a mass murderer and their race to try to identify him.

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Like a lot of true crime documentaries, Perfect World: A Deadly Game is a pretty straightforward two hours. It’s all talking heads telling the story, interspersed with various shots of Discord messages, MMO characters, motherboards, and cityscapes. There’s nothing here that makes a compelling argument for this to be a documentary rather than an article or a podcast. It isn’t particularly interested in unpacking the failures of the criminal justice system when it came to the initial attempt at reporting the crime, nor is it interested in a wider statement about the ways mental health often intersects with people who center their lives around harassing others. It’s simply about a group of people who witnessed something horrible and used online tools like reverse image searches and IP addresses to locate a murderer.

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