Movie Reviews

Published on July 14th, 2014 | by gareth


Video Games: The Movie

Taking a trip down memory lane in the nostalgia filled “Video Games: The Movie”, viewers get a look at the past, present, and possible future of video games which has grow into a multi billion dollar business from a very humble start.

The film began as a Kickstarter project under Writer/Director Jeremy Snead and it features Sean Astin as narrator. The film opens with a look at the revenue generated by the industry and points out how currently 44% of all gamers are female and that the average gamer profiles out to be 30 years of age with 12-16 years of gaming experience.

Looking at the early days of Space Wars and Pong, the founding of Atari, and the rise of the arcade as a social and pop culture haven, the film does a great job of informing while making me fondly remember how much fun it was to go into an arcade with a few dollars to burn, and how much we all look forward to the arrival of new games and talking about our favorites with friends.

Al Alcorn has a big part of the film as he talks about the introduction of the Atari entertainment system in to the homes which helped changed the landscape of games forever.

A look at some of the laughably primitive machines by today’s standards followed as well as the great E.T. debacle which destroyed much of the goodwill that had been built up by consumers and had put the console industry in peril.

Wil Wheaton, Chris Hardwick, Randy Pitchford and scores of industry and Pop Culture professionals appear and we learn how the early Nintendo system had to win over retailers to get to market and in doing so, set the stage for where we are now.

The film is more than a history of gaming and a nostalgic look back; it also is a look forward as many of the early pioneers talk about how the technical abilities of the modern computers and systems allow developers to make the games that they had always envisioned. The real question is what is to come next. A device that works with the Oculus that allows users to run and move in game by walking was shown as many believe that virtual reality is the next step in gaming.

While the film glossed over some things that I wish they would have gone into greater detail with like the demise of the arcades and the struggles some developers have had to stay in the game, the film does look at the industry overall and shows a very enthusiastic vision of the future.

It was funny that it used footage from San Diego Comic Con often to show gamers, as while games are part of the convention, E3, PAX, and Gamescom are a much better representation of gaming conventions. However since the focus was on fandom and how the Internet has allowed people to share their passions, what was once nerdy is now cool and has been accepted by the mainstream.

I found the film to be a very enjoyable view especially since it seemed aim to inform and entertain rather than hammer home an agenda. The issue of violence in games is briefly touched upon and I wish it had been given more time as what I saw was very informative.

I would love to see a follow up in the future as this topic I believe would make a great series for television or a regular film series as there are countless stories from the past and present that can and should be told.

About the Author

Syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. His work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site and publication “Skewed and Reviewed”.He has three books of film, game reviews and interviews published and is a well-received and in demand speaker on the convention circuit. Gareth has appeared in movies and is a regular guest on a top-rated Seattle morning show.He has also appeared briefly in films such as “Prefountaine”, “Postal”. “Far Cry”. and others. Gareth is also an in-demand speaker at several conventions and has conducted popular panels for over two decades.

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