Video Games : The Movie



Director Jeremy Snead takes us on an 8 bit journey with this documentary about the history of video game culture in America. The first half of the film starts off on a high note with a descriptive albeit brief timeline lesson on the past and present of video game history. It’s in that aspect that the film would’ve gotten a passing grade from me. The film is 100 minutes long, so there is plenty of time to be descriptive through every decade of video game culture. Instead, the second half of the film turns into a commercial with Snead being the biggest salesperson. The documentary has the kind of feel where it’s Us Vs Them in terms of the lovers and haters of this multimedia. During this time, it feels more like a special on the Game Network and not so much a movie/documentary. There is a lot of focus on the future of gaming, and there is nothing wrong with that. But for me personally, i gave the film a chance because i wanted an in depth learning experience on the gaming systems that i grew up with. The timeline focus of the film is also done very sloppy because instead of going chronologically they go back and forth creating a chopped up revision of history. The whole thing just feels unfocused and repetitive by the time the final scenes hit. I would rather know more about the creation of some of these games and less about the growing popularity of gamers by dismissing the sterotypes of them being nerds. If i were to recommend this to one type of crowd it would be for new gamers who picked up their controls in a dedicated fashion over the last five years. Anyone else, this information won’t be anything new or informative to them. This documentary will only give those fans the motivation for them to invest more of their hard earned dollars into a profession that hasn’t even reached 1/4 of it’s technological potential. The touching up of the 8 bit Nintendo games on this feature makes them look better than ever before. It almost doesn’t feel like the same games we used to play with the restoration to the pixelated genre. The narration by actor Sean Astin is done very well with a lot of pie graphs to match his statistics in the opening ten minutes. Astin’s job becomes kind of pointless as the film goes on because the documentary is taken over more by interviews with people who work in the gaming industry slinging mud to the opposite side. There are also appearances in interviews by Zach Braff, Wil Wheaton, and Chris Hardwick speaking on their favorite video game memories. Overall, Video Games The Movie is a lot like my experience with games. The nostalgia factor is nice, but i couldn’t care less about the future of the new technology. The games that will live on forever are the ones that stepped out on a time when the game world almost died after the Video game crash of 1983. This documentary gets a failing grade from me because it has trouble figuring out it’s true identity. I will not leave you the reader going home without a recommendation though. If you can find it, The Discovery Channel released a special a couple years ago called Rise of the Videogame that is leaps and bounds better than this one. Check that out to get a great history on video games that isn’t a war between the companies.

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