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Graeme

Videogame Documentary recommendations

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We have a documentary film thread, but I thought it might be nice to have one dedicated to recommend and discuss docs that are dedicated to Videogames. This could be feature films like King of Kong, TV Specials, Youtube videos and creators, or special series that are created like those done by Player 2 Productions for Penny Arcade and Double Fine.

 

And with that, I'm going to start with a couple you may not even be able to watch.... you're welcome.

 

The Artists: The Pioneers Behind The Pixels

 

This is 10 part series produced by CBC in Canada. Episode topics include, the start of EA, Atari, id and Doom, Chris Crawford - The Founder of GDC and a bit of an eccentric, Infocom - Zork and text adventures, Lucasarts, Dani Bunten and multiplayer games, Sid Meier and Civilization, Bioware, and the future of games.

 

They treat the subject matter with the utmost of respect, and it is a well done series. They feel very very much like Area 5's documentaries (Co-Op, Outerlands, I am Street Fighter). My only complaint is that each episode is only around 10 minutes long, so they aren't real deep dives.

 

The one thing that really struck me, and I knew this before, was how EA and Activision were both founded with the idea about giving the creators credit. About making them the focal point, instead of the company. Now both are these gigantic behemoths with hundreds of people making their games, and you're lucky if a Studio gets much credit, let alone the people. I know things have changed, and these ideas rarely seem to work for long (Hello Ionstorm), but it would be nice if there was still a drop of the idealism left.

 

In Canada, you can stream it from CBC here:

https://watch.cbc.ca/season/the-artists/season-1/6ec08750-b8fd-4841-9d62-5d05760af9be

 

In the US, you can stream it on Topic here:

https://www.topic.com/the-artists

 

If you're outside of the US and Canada.... a VPN seems to work on Topic.

 

For some reason Topic has a different order of episodes than what CBC and the official site have. It doesn't really matter though.

 

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Outerlands

 

As mentioned above, this is a documentary from Area 5 that was successfully kickstarted back in 2014. The first batch of episodes came out late last year for backers. Initially I was a bit disapointed with the length, but apparently there is more coming, who knows when though. The current episodes are only available for backers, but will come out for everyone at some point... although I'm sure someone has leaked them somewhere.

 

What has been released are 3 parts to the "episode" called  "Saving Games" which includes a part on game archivists Frank Cifaldi and Mike Mika, another on The Strong museum, and a couple who own an classic games arcade. The second "episode" is "The Pioneers" and includes a part on Ralph Baer (with interviews completed right before he passed away), Al Alcorn from Atari, and the developers of the original Space War.

 

Worth checking out.... if you can. I'll try and let you all know when it's out for non-backers.

 

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If you can't watch those, here's one on YouTube.

 

Tetris - From Russia with Love

 

A BBC documentary from 2004, that I think is quite well done, on the history of Tetris. The history of Tetris is amazing. I think it could honestly make for a good dramatic movie.

 

 

 

 

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This was included on the Special Edition release in Japan and its well worth a viewing.

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This thread is probably as good as any to post shorter YouTube videos, because i’d never heard the crazy story of 3DO Doom:

 

 

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The Gaming Historian, Norm Caruso, has a new video about the history of Punch Out!!

 

Really liked this one. Mike Tyson’s Punch Out is one of my favourite games of all time so it’s nice to know a bit more about it and where it came from. The other games in the series never quite resonated with me though for whatever reason. Although, I never really played the Wii game. I should rectify that. 

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GVMERS channel does some great “Rise and Fall” documentaries on game franchises. Their Silent Hill doc is a good place to start if you haven’t watched them before...

 

 

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It sucks Valve didn't even answer noclip's calls... Damn. 

 

Documentary is good for what it is - the influence of Half-life etc... but without the actual creators involved in Half-life it seemed to lack that something his other documentaries have.

 

 

 

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That’s too bad. I had assumed Valve was involved (even after watching the first couple minutes where he says they didn’t call him back I figured something might have happened while they were making it). 

 

Are there any any interviews with people involved that aren’t with Valve anymore? Or is it just about its influence?

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