Mixed or average reviews - based on 12 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 5 Ratings

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  • Summary: Video Games: The Movie chronicles the meteoric rise of video games from nerd niche to multi-billion dollar industry. Featuring in-depth interviews with the godfathers who started it all, the icons of game design, and the geek gurus who are leading us into the future, Video Games: The Movie is a celebration of gaming from Atari to Xbox, and an eye-opening look at what lies ahead. Expand
  • Director: Jeremy Snead
  • Genre(s): Action, Sci-Fi, History, Animation, Documentary
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Runtime: 105 min
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Jul 17, 2014
    The modern stuff is undeniably fawning. But given the eye-popping visuals, you understand the enthusiasm. Especially if you left your heart, and thousands of dollars in quarters, in an arcade.
  2. Reviewed by: Rob Manuel
    Jul 16, 2014
    You’ll get little more than a refresher course in the art of gaming from this documentary.
  3. Reviewed by: Brian Tallerico
    Jul 18, 2014
    A missed opportunity; a documentary that plays too much like fan service, ignoring actual insight or even detailed history of its chosen subject in favor of unapologetic adoration.
  4. Reviewed by: Nick Schager
    Jul 15, 2014
    More problematic than its lack of a compellingly laid-out time line is the film's habit of hopping between points of interest, so that every one of its chosen treated with a few catchy sound bites.
  5. Reviewed by: Robert Abele
    Jul 17, 2014
    It's a lovefest in which critics' voices and debate are simply absent, and the only talking space is wonder, nostalgia and excitement for the future.
  6. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Jul 18, 2014
    Amid it all, Snead does a nice job of laying out the history of video games. If nothing else, there's a lot of information here. But there's also a lot of information on the Wikipedia entry for "video games." All in all, I'd rather be playing "Madden 15."
  7. Reviewed by: Jeannette Catsoulis
    Jul 17, 2014
    Unfocused and repetitive, this feature-length commercial by Jeremy Snead uses a muddled timeline and bargain basement graphics to produce a horn-tooting, “Aren’t games awesome?” tone.

See all 12 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 3
  2. Negative: 1 out of 3
  1. Aug 13, 2014
    Muito bom o documentário! Vale a pena! Este filme realmente mostra a trajetória dos video games! Mais uma coisa é certa, vai ser difícil achar um documentário da Discovery ou Nat Geo ou até mesmo da History Channel querer criar um documentário desse tipo (pelo menos, novo)! Expand
  2. Jul 21, 2014
    More of a money making venture than a genuine documentary. Questionable speakers, padding out with montages, and weird views (facebook is a game?) don't help this effort in documentary making. Expand
  3. Aug 17, 2014
    As a documentarist and a gamer, I felt the need to review this release in detail. Despite not being a backer of either of its fundraisers, it interested me greatly in the buildup to its release, while ultimately falling short of my lowest expectations for a documentary piece.

    Let's start off with a key problem, which is also the documentary's main gimmick: a well-built and beautifully rendered timeline that chronicles the evolution of gaming. Now, the fact that it is well-built does not in any way mean it was implemented well. The narrative constantly moves back and forth in time, but often what is being shown onscreen does not seem to relate with what is being narrated. Even worse, there is so much shifting going on that what is supposed to be a fun visual crutch ends up making it hard to keep focus on what the director is trying to convey at a given point.

    The documentary was divided into 3 not so neat sections, but it never really gets around to justifying why that was necessary. In fact, this greatly harms the overall flow of the piece. The sections do not have enough individuality to them, and their subjects often bleed so much into each other that you are really left wondering if it wouldn't have been better to simply follow a linear narrative and get the job done in a cleaner manner.

    On that same vein, themes are started seemingly at random, and as suddenly as they pop up, they fade away. There is a constant juggle of topics, some of which barely relate to the history of gaming. For example, at one point the timeline goes all the way back to ancient humankind, and a segment about primordial campfires is displayed, only to be forgotten for an extended period of time and then closed off without any grace in mere seconds later on. Why? This is just one example of many that I could cite.

    The director has declared that, quote, "about 45-hours of footage" was shot, and claims there is enough material to produce other similar films. But really, 45 hours is so little footage for a project of this scope. The interviewees that were brought on board are amazing, and I can barely believe that names such as Hideo Kojima are featured, but to what end? The film is heavily padded with video game commercials, game footage that is not related to anything in particular (or even with each other), and montages. Oh, the montages.

    There are several of them spread throughout the film, and they accomplish so very little. These montages are not much different from the many music videos that you can find on Youtube, only those are fan work, and this is a costly (over 100 thousand dollars form Kickstarter alone) documentary piece. If the director feels there was such a surplus of unused footage, he certainly could have used his time better than with montages that occupy a tenth of the film! There is no greater sin a documentary can commit than wasting the viewer's time. Every second counts in trying to enrich your piece. But not here. Au contraire, it stalls for time, which is downright unacceptable.

    Music is an issue as well. The spectator is treated to a non-stop roll of dramatic piano music and epic orchestra swells that makes the product feel cheap rather than electrifying. To begin with, the music barely matches the film. Sure, those songs could have been used in the sappy segments, of which there are many, but it just goes on and contaminates everything else. Almost all attempts at using video game music make little sense as well, such as when a Donkey Kong Country song plays when a completely different era is being exposed (refer to the timeline problems already mentioned above).

    But what seems really strange is the constant veneration for the current generation of gaming, depicting it as the medium's uncontested pinnacle. Particularly egregious is the often repeated claim that games with rich storylines and empathy are a very recent accomplishment. It is also implied that this is a result essentially of the evolution of graphics, which is absurd. That is a bold and completely unsubstantiated claim. Also, SEGA is systematically ignored, in a way that I'm sure raises eyebrows from its fans.

    I watched the documentary together with my wife, who has been a gamer only for the 8 years that we have been together. You could say she is a prime target for a documentary such as this one. She was deeply engrossed in the vastly superior Indie Game: The Movie, but here she was just left bored and finished watching only to keep me company. So really, if it's not a good film for somebody with 8 years of experience or for somebody with 20, then who is the target audience here? I don't know.

    I cannot recommend this documentary to anybody. I feel that there is definitely some effort put behind it, but it simply never comes together into a cohesive piece. I cannot highlight a strong point or give it any more praise than saying that there were impressive interviewees, but even so, they are so badly used, it's not worth it.



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