Perfect World: Deadly Game is a true crime documentary about a group of gamers who help catch a killer through MMOs and Discord in 2019. Peacock Premium’s two-episode show isn’t clichéd — video game violence isn’t conflated with real-life violence or anyone explaining video games or even what — but there isn’t much else going on either.
The mini-series focuses on a group of friends playing on a private server based on the Chinese MMO Perfect World. Like many niche gaming communities these days, they use Discord as a place to chat outside of gaming every day. One of the members who used the handle “Menhaz” was a recurring troll that no one took seriously until he posted multiple photos of dead bodies and claimed they were his family.the show tells you unforgettable story A group of gamers quickly realize that one of their friends is a mass murderer, and they race to try to identify him.
Like many true crime documentaries, Perfect World: Deadly Game is a pretty straightforward two hours. It’s all talking heads telling the story, interspersed with shots of discordant messages, MMO characters, motherboards, and cityscapes. There’s nothing here to convincingly argue that this is a documentary rather than an article or podcast. It’s not particularly interested in exposing the criminal justice system’s failures in initial attempts to report crimes, nor in broader statements about how mental health often intersects with harassment-focused others. It’s just about a group of people witnessing something terrible and using online tools like reverse image searches and IP addresses to locate the killer.
It doesn’t see part of the game as a novelty, it sees it as the background of the kind of online expertise they have to take to try to identify the killer. On the one hand, Menhaz logged back into the game after killing his second victim, and the group was eager to try and obtain his IP address in order to call the local police. The show adds a literal ticking clock to the events in an attempt to heighten the drama (and several dramatic voices), but the story itself is engaging enough. That’s trying to gamify the very real and very disturbing killings that take place.Otherwise, the subject will get the level of respect you expect worrying type TV.
There’s nothing to scream “gamer” here, and it’s probably for the best. If you’re like me and chat with most of your online friends via Discord, the description of social dynamics at work is pretty accurate. It’s really hard to believe that someone posting a photo of a body on a public server is actually a murderer, not someone flipping through 4chan all day trying to cheer people up. Just think about it and screw it up — it’s about as deep as Perfect World: Deadly Game wants you to go.