Am not an avid video gamer. I never ‘advanced’ past the first Playstation. I do play video games, but they are the same five games I have been playing since 1996 or thereabouts. Some favorites I can’t play anymore because they are too old to run on modern computers.
That’s enough of an intro to prove am not destined to love just about any docu series dealing with the history of video gaming.
But, you guessed it. This isn’t just any docu series about video gaming.
I couldn’t stop watching it.
All the interviews are fascinating. A part of it walked me through a period of my childhood.
A family friend introduced me and my best friend at the time to a Pong machine, then Atari and then a Sega 8 bit and a Nintendo 8 bit in rapid succession. I bought a Super Nintendo from a work colleague of my father. It was a real bargain. Most of the games I bought I got at flea markets.
Am not sure why I got rid of all that stuff. I think I sold it all to buy a Playstation. After eight years or so I gave that one away to one of the most ungrateful people on this earth, my cousin Niels.
It was compelling to hear details about trends I was vaguely aware of as a child.
I knew Sega and Nintendo were rivals, but I had no idea Sega had such a terrific strategy to become a strong competitor.
I also had no idea a game I used to play was named after a lawyer who had succesfully defended Nintendo in court. Kirby.
Some of the docu parts also reminded me of a time when MTV was still a thing.
Nostalgia was part of the thrill, but mostly I liked it for the depth of the interviews.
The docu does not set out to do this, but you come away with the realisation that video games are an art form to be taken seriously.
Along the way you also learn a good deal about advertizing and a bit about programming.
Also really cool is that a lot of major and very lucrative breakthroughs in this industry were accomplished by college dropouts. It was not an industry where only a college degree could get you a shot.
Video games levelled the playing field in more ways.
There is an interview with a transsexual who said that when she felt trapped in the wrong anatomy video games were the only activity that could make her forget that. She could play as a woman.
An Afro-American says something similar when it comes to racial prejudice.
Video games erase arbitrary differences between the players.
The docu series also gives you a taste of that exciting vibe of being a pioneer, of getting together with like minded people and trying something new and impactful.
An experience that far too few people ever have.
Let this docu encourage us all to experiment and explore.
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