Good documentaries on video games

Got thinking about this after the recent Netflix mini-series High Score. I‘ve watched the first episode and it’s pretty good.

One of the best documentaries I've seen was Tetris: From Russia with Love. A 2004 BBC TV documentary on the complicated story behind the publishing rights to Tetris. There's apparently a Hollywood production of this story in the works, but it would be hard to top this:

A silly obscure answer that the IC crowd might appreciate is Tim Rogers' Get Bonus The Movie, the e3 2010 cinema verite experience.

oooh, I wanna watch that Tetris Documentary!

but the one I have seen is Ecstasy of Order, which I love!!

I really want to watch this though... Not For Resale.

I keep forgetting so maybe I'll watch this weekend.

If you allow this thread to expand to all sorts of electronic games, Tilt is an excellent 2008 documentary about pinball.

Hold Back to Block does a lot of excellent work on fighting game documentaries!

It‘s far from the typical sort of games IC talks about, but since antique text adventures are a nostalgic favourite of mine, I’ll suggest Get Lamp. Like its subject matter, it feels just a tiny bit stodgy, as it should.

@Moon#4905 Do you know what that track during the opening credits is? It's so good

Diggin‘ in the Carts! From Redbull Academy, it’s a mini docuseries that goes over music in games, with a focus on Japanese composers. Great short series, no obnoxious Netflix narrator voice. Very chill and fun, good FM music, and it's free!

Also Branching Paths, which goes over independent game dev scene in Japan.

Which is another very chill documentary. If I recall correctly, both are also very visually pleasant.

I remember Arcade Attack being good, Avatara too. Seconding Get Lamp and Ecstasy of Order.

Also Harun Farocki's _Parallel_ series is really good.

I thought that The Lost Arcade was a pretty cool doc on the Chinatown Fare arcade in New York, even if it was mostly fluffy and didn‘t really do much after the film’s mid-point. I just thought it was a sweet love letter.

Former GameSpot dude Danny O'Dwyer has a channel called Noclip that makes good ones:

If you're looking for shorter ones there's the aptly named _Gaming Historian_:

...or the videos Jeremy Parish from _Retronauts_ puts out on a weekly basis:

Saw this one mentioned on the old


Gamer Br is a Brazilian documentary about the gamer scene around here. The video gives voice to gamers, producers, lan house owners, journalists, psychologists, anthropologists, politicians, government representatives and game enthusiasts about issues such as pro-gaming (professional gaming), market, ‘addiction’, piracy, policies of policies of incentive, censorship and the so discussed ‘violence’ in games.

Thankfully it is and always has been freely available on the Internet Archive since 2005:

@Southeastpaw#5056 “Sabaku” by Zazen Boys

i have watched Get Bonus an embarrassing number of times. esp around 2010 when i was just getting back into games via action button/select button and tigsource, etc but was still stuck in the midwest and had never been to any industry events like E3 so was definitely something i could project onto para-socially or whatever. i have a real strong sense of nostalgia for it that is kinda hard to put into words, maybe because of the very specific moment of my life it was that i watched it a bunch. Get Bonus is one of the most 2010 things in existence though... it's a definite time capsule, for better or for worse. but at least it has a sense of personality that all those talking head docs really lack.

as far as full-length documentaries go... i've seen several and most are generally not very good at all. the exception to that for me is the Double Fine Adventure series, which benefits from being far more in depth. and the movie "Not For Resale" about videogame stores and "Branching Paths" about the Japanese indie scene were both at least decent. oh, and of course King of Kong is a great movie still.

Here's a nice short one on the Game Preservation Society. (Make sure to click the CC to get English subtitles if you need em)

Inside Lens – Game Preservation, the Quest

oh hey, there they are in takai shokai, where I went to find those SNK games!

@Moon#4905 Oh wow, this is powerfully nostalgic, especially since I‘ve bumped into a lot of these people now. Didn’t expect to see Bob of Bob's Game there, and it was funny to see Shane. Completely forgot the lineup of games that came out then, and the launch of the 3DS feels so much further away now.

oh yah, tangentially related but I have these lol


Forgot to mention strafefox‘s videos. Here’s a recent one for Street Fighter II

NoClip is great, I’ve also seen like a 10 hour smash bro’s documentary back in the day.

Watching this right now. It's a like a panel launch post-mortem of this 90's VR company I wrote a huge thread about a bit ago

The discussion is very dry but still very fascinating. When I'm done digesting it I'll probably leave my thoughts in that other thread.