Somewhat hollow. Taking a look at a variety of video game consoles, this is a crash history course on the medium that is video games. This was the first movie I watched when my computer went down; it was available on Netflix, it was released for 2014 so I can consider it for my annual year end list, and it was regarding a subject matter that I like. Coincidentally, this is actually the second video game documentary I watched this year, the first one being Free to Play. While that focused more on specific people in a Mountain Dew infused tournament, this is video games on a much broader scale, covering as much ground as possible in 90 minutes. While there are moments that are sure to make you smile when you see a clip from a video game that you forgot that you played over a decade ago, there’s really not that much to chew on, given that it is merely giving you an unfocused look at the industry as a whole.
Being that my computer was down for about a two and a half week period and I am just now getting around to catching up on my reviews weeks after the fact, this is a documentary that ended up depreciating a bit for me, as some time has passed to allow me to dwell upon it. I originally felt positively about it, but in retrospect, I realize how much of that was just a kneejerk reaction. You see so many clips where it invokes instant nostalgia; I mean, don’t we all harbor adoration for games like Star Fox, Tomb Raider and Donkey Kong? It gives you a sizable smile on your face, makes you lean over to your friend and say, “Oh MAN, I love that game!”
If you’ve ever been to Epcot at Walt Disney World, you’ve likely been on Ellen’s Energy Adventure. This movie is like that, but for video games. It’s really about the history of it all, with old school retro advertisements to boot. The thing about it is that it plays like a giant pat on the back for the video game industry, and it is thinly veiled. There’s really not much of a point other than to say, “Aren’t video games fun?” and because of those two things, it leads to a pretty masturbatory product. If you are REALLY big into video games, you will probably get something out of this, but if you are only moderately into the pastime, you’ll likely only get a marginal amount of enjoyment from this.
Video Games: The Movie (2014) **1/2
– Critic for Hire