How Video Games Changed the World

We find out what the upcoming documentary film <i>Video Games: The Movie</i> has to say about the history of our favourite pastime.

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The upcoming documentary Video Games: The Movie is not, its creator promises, just another film about the games industry. The small, crowd-funded project will attempt something much more ambitious: the question of what it means to be a gamer.

"There have been a lot of documentaries, half-hour TV specials and YouTube videos about the origins of the video game industry, or specific aspects of it, but there has been no definitive piece that represents the entire world of video games," says filmmaker Jeremy Snead, a man who has spent the better part of the last ten years preparing himself for the ambitious task of documenting the history of games from the 1960's until today.

 

"Video games touch everyone, everywhere. You can't escape their reach. They have shaped pop culture, economics and the lives of millions of people for over six decades."

Video Games: The Movie will aim to educate audiences about how video games are made, marketed and consumed by looking back at gaming history and culture through the eyes of game developers, publishers, and consumers. Snead's vision for the film is informed by his career overseeing the licensing of video games and toys for the popular Dragon Ball Z franchise at Funimation Entertainment. Working closely with Atari, Snead gradually familiarised himself with the inner workings of the gaming industry, travelling with the publisher to development campuses to learn how video games are marketed. After working on several advertising campaigns, Snead founded his own agency, Mediajuice Studios, where he spent years creating and producing video game trailers, TV spots and advertising campaigns for game publishers. It was this newfound interest in filmmaking that led Snead to a creative vision informed by his own experiences in the gaming industry.

"I've always loved the stories of how the first video games were made and how the industry grew from a few guys in a garage to the global phenomenon it is today. If I find a way to tell both the history of video games as well as give people an insight into how the game industry and the people within it works, I will have something really special that people will be drawn to."

Video Games: The Movie will be co-produced by Rusel DeMaria, author of the 2002 book High Score! The Illustrated History of Electronic Games. Snead brought DeMaria onboard to help with the historical part of the documentary, which will rely heavily on montage to cover everything from Pong and Earthworm Jim right up to Halo 4 and the Street Fighter 25th Anniversary edition. The film will also aim to fight against mainstream attitudes about video games and video game culture.

"There are those who only know the most popular and clichéd buzz topics: sex, violence, people wasting years of their life playing one MMO, etc," Snead says. "Then there is the informed audience who know the truth of what video games bring to their audience: innovation, inspiration, growth and new experiences."

"While it's unfortunate that only controversial topics make it in the headlines, things are slowly changing. Just look at how the gaming audience has grown: anyone of any age can be fitted with the right console and game. The challenge as a video game marketer is finding new ways to communicate that message."

Three months into production on Video Games: The Movie, Snead is reaching out to the video game community to help him complete the film. The project's IndieGoGo campaign is asking for a little over $100,000 to help cover production costs ahead of the film's scheduled release date mid-2013. Most of this money will go towards travel, helping Snead and his camera crew move across the United States interviewing game publishers, developers, and industry veterans.

"Every true story is best told by the people who lived it. Video games have done much more than just entertain people: they've continuously pushed the boundaries of technology for the past 50 years. That is the story we want to tell."

To learn more about Video Games: The Movie or donate to the project's IndieGoGo campaign, click here.

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Discussion

0 comments
Metallic_Blade
Metallic_Blade

It'd be nice if they would mention the Descent series, Great 6DOF example.

redsiy
redsiy

Sounds good to me. It never hurts to see how important something you love to do is :)

borgpwns20
borgpwns20

this is one of those that i agree with yet contest. the movie supposed to be showing how games are art,(or that's at least the message i received) yet at the same time, some games are meant to be games. they're not art; they're just there to just have fun playing, at least in part, like deathmatch in CoD, or ctf in Tribes. the inverse is also true.  there are games that do try and be an art medium like limbo. i hope they cover this in the movie as well.

Rinslowe
Rinslowe

I I I, me me meme, is it?

vadagar1
vadagar1

of course PC is king and lord over all platforms :P

 

hehe

vadagar1
vadagar1

80% of my time is spent on video games so I would say they are more real to me than the real world, they are not games they are a life style like some one said

Prequell
Prequell

i hope they actually talk about really good games. like half life, mass effect, bioshock, max payne, fahrenhiet etc. those and some others are some of the most interesting experience a human can live in their life. i look video games as an experience of a whole different world. it can take you most interesting places imaginable. different than films, you experience it. and films doesnt really have that much of a "different world" concept. of course there are some, but in video games, this is the common thing.

Zloth2
Zloth2

Good to hear!  I've been playing video games since Pong (and even some pinball, which still fits in the 'playing a game on a machine' category) so this movie should be great fun for me.  It will be interesting to see how they handle PC games.  Consoles have their generation leaps but the PC just gradually climbs up and up, a little more every six months or so.  It's like every 20 minutes there going to have to say "Meanwhile, over in PC land...."

 

P.S.  I really hope the movie is stuffed full of easter eggs.  You should start the movie just to the west of a house right next to a mailbox.

moc5
moc5

gaming is no longer a game, but a lifestyle.

Abysses1
Abysses1

Most people won't agree with me,but I consider video games form of modern art. 

KRATOS_S_
KRATOS_S_

i think it's an important movie for each gamer .

ImBack558855
ImBack558855

Got my very own NES when i was 6 years old.. hasn't put down my joystick sense..lol

dr_jashugan
dr_jashugan

Looking forward to see this movie. :-)

Gamer_4_Fun
Gamer_4_Fun

I hope there are interviews with legends like Hideo, David Jaffe, etc!

RadecSupreme
RadecSupreme

This movie sounds like it has potential to be a great explanatory documentary of video games and how its changed society and our lifestyle for the previous and upcoming generations. This is a movie I've been waiting for. Many of us already know of its origins and about how the industry works, but we want to know and teach people about its impact to humanity. As a person who is a huge fan of video games and many of its genres but being more of a PC gamer (RTS fan like Dawn of war series and Command and Conquer) it has impacted my entirely life from the time I played N64 at my cousins and got my PS1 on my birthday, until now where we have the PS3 and xbox 360 along with the super computers with amazing NVIDIA and ATI graphics card and strong software to play Crysis and Starcraft 2. Video games have been a huge part of my life and will continue to do so until my days are over. I've been so impacted by them that I want my career to be involved in making them. Perhaps I am placing too much hope in this movie but if its any sign from seeing the creators so eager to make something special, then I will place my bet that it will be.

sirkibble2
sirkibble2

I like the idea of this. I really hope this is more documentary than trying to persuade others what video games are not. Save that for another movie.

 

The only thing I'm not sold on is that last quote:

 

"Every true story is best told by the people who lived it. Video games have done much more than just entertain people: they've continuously pushed the boundaries of technology for the past 50 years. That is the story we want to tell."

 

That's the story they want to tell? That's a small part of the story. How about how games bring people together too. That's the part people need to hear too.

Johny_47
Johny_47

I like the sound of this alot, video games have changed the World in so many ways good and bad, I like to think mostly good but the way most games and developers are going these days with digital only and 'free' to play rubbish they're gonna end up going the wrong way in my opinion.

 

When I get some money to spare I'd contribute to this, quite a cool idea, I just hope it's interesting and not some 'how games have advanced' history video because I already know how games have changed since the really retro days =P

handsomegamer
handsomegamer

Life itself is a video game with the difference it ends some time... :/ But ''the game is never over''! ;)

_Roo_
_Roo_

I still remember when my Dad brought home Pong.  He's in his 70's now and still gaming.  When I became a father video games were always a connection between my son and I that held even through the evil 'I hate everyone' teen years.  Now he's all grown up with his own son on the way and I look forward to the day my grandson can pwn me.  Gamers are a diverse group of all ages and personalities.  Good luck shining the light of truth about this fantastic medium. 

ssorrekrab
ssorrekrab

From the guy making apps in his bedroom to multnational developers.  The kid waving a Wii controller to the dedicated Esports professional.  The spectrum is vast and varied, we all fit into it somewhere and thus are all linked by this community.  Long may it continue!

hella_epic
hella_epic

ahh.......my N64 with Mario 64 on it,just some beautiful memories :')

starfox15
starfox15

This sounds good, just don't limit it to one video game medium. Try to capture all the different avenues of video games and their evolution.

 

jomipira
jomipira

I had a broken down ZX Spectrum 16k . It went to get fixed... about 25 years ago... The guy at the store took pity of me and upgraded it to 48k free of charge! Oh what joy it was!!! From that day forward games were always a part of my life. Can't wait for this movie to come out!

camyers1310
camyers1310

I remember Christmas of 1996. I walked downstairs excited as hell to eat that candy in my stocking, loathing those new socks stuffed in there to waste space. I was up an hour earlier than the rest of the family, tip-toeing down the stairs, I snuck to the tree and my eyes were pulled to this large box with a note from Santa on it. Screw the note - it's obviously Mom's shitty handwriting. What is this funny looking grey box? And what the hell is that PS logo on the side? Twisted Metal 2.... hmmm what is this? A CD? Jurrasic Park!? Okay, it's not a movie.....(turns case around to read the back...)HOLY SHIT this is a game??? Wha....? I'm content with Mario and 8 buttons.... what IS THIS?Obviously I ran down to the basement to set this contraption up........ (Fast forward 12 years...)Needless to say my parents ruined me. I didn't even know what a PlayStation was, let alone they MADE 3 dimensional video games..... Thanks Mom and Dad for supplying me with my drug. 

Ultra_Taco
Ultra_Taco

 @Abysses1 Actually, I would say that more people would agree with you than disagree.

skipper1993
skipper1993

 @Abysses1 It all depends on what game, I agree that some games are a form of modern art, because a lot is expressed through some games and there is a lot of creativity out there. But games like COD for example could not be further away from an art from, games like that are simply sludge, corporate excretions, the next stepping stone to building a monopoly for some plankton perched the top of his tower constructed from diamond, microsoft points and peoples tears, nobody can call that an art form...

 

Dugular
Dugular

 @sirkibble2 I wouldn't worry too much about that last quote. He probably has 100 more things he wants his movie to be about, but things have to be shortened for interviews and quotes :)

Zloth2
Zloth2

 @ssorrekrab

 Yeah!  All for one and one for.... ooops, wait a second, you don't mean those Farmville people, too, do you??

;)

93ChevyNut
93ChevyNut

 @camyers1310 Thanks for taking me down my memory lane.  True gamers all have the story of their first console.  For me, it was my birthday and we were at my grandma's house.  My parents and grandparents were in the backyard, drinking coffee on the picnic table.  Next to Dad was a large black trashbag.  He said it was filled with leaves and sticks he had raked up earlier that morning and asked me if I could haul it to the curb for him.  The bag was partially open, and it did have leaves and sticks in it, but it also had the bright shiny box with NES written on it.  My folks had set up a 9" black and white TV in the basement and Dad hooked it up for me.  I was ready to tear into Super Mario Bros when my Mom said, "Let's go rent some games".  I didn't even know you could do that!  I ended up with Tiger Heli and between that and SMB I was glued to that thing all 5 days we were there.

 

That was about 25 years ago and I haven't slowed down since (except for my high school years where I thought I was 'too old' to play video games.  Thank God I grew out of that!).

Abysses1
Abysses1

 @skipper1993  Yeah,I agree. I would say that most games I consider art-like are RPGs. 

Zloth2
Zloth2

 @gstealer

 Yeah, but the movie "Deathrace 2000" gave us the scoring system. ;)

adam1808
adam1808

 @Dugular You go into the computer and there's a text adventure. A TEXT ADVENTURE. I hate unicorns.

Dugular
Dugular

 @adam1808 I disagree. 'Art' is too small of a word.Saints Row the Third is Genius.

skipper1993
skipper1993

 @Abysses1 Yeah man, lots of RPGs are great, purely because of the sheer amount of detail and love put into creating them. I think that indie games are a great example of direct artistic expression, games like Limbo and Machinarium, but there are far too many great games out there to list, of many different genres ;)