For Your Pleasure is an ongoing series about video game culture on the net. This week’s iteration, part three, concerns itself with the dramatic legacy of the industry, and the documentaries which choose to chronicle it.
The past 40 years of the industry’s history have left a considerable amount of information to be digested. From the lives of lowly designers to heritages of your favorite franchises, a lot of things about the industry could be intersting to discover and learn. While literature exists on these subjects, I’d like to bring your attention to several documentary series which account for the impact of games, individuals, and ideas.
Now, some of these videos may not necessarily “document” anything, but the independent programs and professionally produced series which appear below will doubtlessly leave you entertained and educated. Let the learning begin!
Whenever we near the release date for an upcoming sequel in a franchise, GameTrailers usually takes the opportunity to recount the tale of the developer and the IP. This erratically-scheduled series was the inspiration for this edition of For Your Pleasure. Excellently produced, well narrated, and chock full of fascinating details, Retrospectives provides a sterling example of how to tell a story.
All Your History Are Belong To Us
One of many series which takes inspiration from the standard set by GameTrailers, All Your History charts the progress of development studios as opposed to franchises. BioWare, Bungie, and Valve all fall under the analytical eye of this Machinima series. While the production values are somewhat subpar, it’s the history that matters, and in the case of All Your History, the facts are captivating, cogent, and revealing.
PBS’s Digital_Nation dissects colloquial life in the “age of nonstop connection.” The documentary explores the ways in which technology has radically altered our goals, visions, and habits. The topics inspected during the feature vary from the tragic to the inspiring: a U.S. soldier’s virtual therapy session, a pro-gamer’s training regiment, or the romantic connection of two lovestruck strangers. If you have trouble convincing your parents how important the Internet has and will become, show them Digital_Nation and watch as their jaws drop.
While it can exaggerate the current capacity of video games, this progress report from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation does its best to take the pulse of the industry and explain its findings in a not-so-boring way. While it’s accessible and easy to watch, Gamer Revolution tends to provide a very shallow portrayal of gaming culture — it almost seems like it was made for people who have never played video games. If you’re intent on seeing this documentary, be sure to leave your attitude at the door because it features several embarrassingly silly misconceptions.
Rise of the Video Game
Unlike the previous documentary, Rock, Paper, Shotgun praised Rise of the Video Game as it “interviews all the right people, knows to show clips of all the right games, and makes the assumption that you’ve already a basic knowledge of the subject”. The Discovery Channel created this five-part series based on a treatment provided by games journalist Geoff Keighley. It is one of the most identifiable features on the topic. If you have a chance to see it, I can’t recommend this documentary highly enough.