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Review: 'Video Games: The Movie' should appeal to both fans, critics of gaming

Nolan Bushnell is among a lineup of experts appearing in Video Games: The Movie, releasing tomorrow
Nolan Bushnell is among a lineup of experts appearing in Video Games: The Movie, releasing tomorrow

Video Games: The Movie


It has been over four decades since the public first got their hands on the electronic form of entertainment known as video games. It was some time before that when the concept first appeared on the super computers that took up entire rooms at major universities. It is just now that the history of it all has been successfully captured and told within a film.

Like many video game documentaries have done in recent years, Video Games: The Movie from director Jeremy Snead is the result of a successful Kickstarter campaign, raising over $100,000 in funds. However, unlike many of the other video game documentaries out there and on the way, Video Games manages to successfully cover the entire span of the now-mainstream form of entertainment.

While the film does contain a seemingly endless line of talking heads, the people doing the talking read like a literal whos-who of video game history and media. Industry pioneers such as Nolan Bushnell and Al Alcorn (Atari), David Crane (Pitfall!) and Warren Davis (Q*bert) appear alongside modern-day industry icons such as Cliff Bleszinski, Randy Pitchford and Reggie Fils-Aime, video game and pop culture celebrities such as Alison Haislip and Chris Hardwick and celebrities such as Wil Wheaton.

Video Games: The Movie kicks off with a fun and detailed look into the demographics of the video game industry. While this type of consumer information is easily found online, the mainstream media never seems to look at it and notice that video gaming has become a multi-billion dollar entertainment industry that appeals to more adults than children and almost as many women and it does men. This is a major establishing point that should quickly make the film appeal to not only fans of video gaming but to those who remain skeptical or unaware of what the industry has become.

The viewer is then taken on a well done visual journey through video game history, starting with some of the earliest roots of it all and moving through to modern-day consoles such as the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 at a nice pace. The film then jumps back in time to cover some key points through the history of it all and a well balanced look into the future direction of the video game industry.

The production values in place for these graphical representations are very high and well done, a major plus for what is starting to become a crowded field of video game documentary films. The experts cited within the film also touch on some very important key points of interest to both video game fans and insiders. Especially well done and touching are the moments where the on-screen experts speak about their earliest video game encounters and what they hope to see for the future of video game culture and technology.

Video Games: The Movie manages what few other looks at the video game industry have managed to do by creating a final cut that should appeal to a universal audience. Longtime fans of video gaming will enjoy how the film chronicles it's story while those only familiar with the more recent generations of gaming will be able to connect with it all just the same. In addition, those not familiar with the true nature of the video game industry will be able to keep up, including mainstream media critics and pundits who often spout incorrect information on newscasts and television talk shows. In fact, Video Games: The Movie could be what finally silences the mainstream media's long tired narratives on what video gaming truly is, if they take the time to watch it. It truly captures the true spirit of what video games truly are, where they have been and where they are going.

The film releases both online and in a limited theatrical run on July 15. More on the film can be seen on its official website at