Several months ago on Kickstarter, I backed Video Games: The Movie, a documentary by Jeremy Snead + MediaJuice Studios that traced the history of console games, arcade games (briefly), and PC games, and explored questions about games as art, interactive storytelling, violence in media, game communities, and the future of design and development in the field.
This all happened as John and I were immersed in finishing Dungeons & Dreamers: A Story of How Computer Games Created a Global Community (Second Edition), and so I gravitated to the work of others who were following the same narrative trails.
I bring this up because the movie hits theaters and video on-demand channels on Tuesday, July 15, and the digital pre-orders shipped in the late morning.
I’d intended on watching the film after my wife got home from work, but I made the mistake of watching the first few minutes. Immediately I was hooked. In fact, I’m writing this as the final credits are rolling on the screen.
Unlike our book, this film makes fewer distinctions about the differences between game platforms (console, arcade, and PC) and focuses on how each contributed to the long, slow growth of “game culture.” While there isn’t a great deal of new ground covered in the film, it’s a fun and breezy story about how console and computer games have turned into a global phenomenon and culture.
I expect there will be more reviews like Variety‘s, which argues that the film doesn’t address in a meaningful way social issues such as violence in games. It’s a common complaint about these types of projects, despite the fact that the issue has long been settled by scientists and codified by the Supreme Court. It’s an antiquated trope presented as intellectualism. (You can read the section of our book that address the science and legal history of violence in games, and you’ll see why this type of critique has little merit.)
If you want to read that story, it’s in our book (and it’s awesome). You can also just take my word that the film deals with the issue of violence just fine, and it does so within the context of a fun, easy-to-understand, enjoyable narrative.
Instead, I’d invite you to sit back and enjoy a story that weaves together the loose histories of console, arcade, and computer games. You won’t be disappointed.
From executive producer Zach Braff comes an epic feature length documentary chronicling the meteoric rise of video games from nerd niche to multi-billion dollar industry. Featuring in-depth interviews with the godfathers who started it all, the icons of game design, and the geek gurus who are leading us into the future, VIDEO GAMES: THE MOVIE is a celebration of gaming from Atari to Xbox, and an eye-opening look at what lies ahead.
Available to own the day it hits theaters in the United States and Canada, versions of the film will also be available in many other countries around the world.