Interesting documentary films about video game graphics?
December 5, 2012 12:27 PM   Subscribe

What are the most interesting documentary films about the history of video games? I am especially interested in anything that discusses the history of game graphics.
posted by mortaddams to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Not sure how much history is here, but I've heard good things about this year's Indie Game: The Movie. There's also a lot to like in The King of Kong.
posted by suprenant at 1:07 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Not exactly what you're looking for, but related in a way - Mind Candy is a collection of faithful recordings of demos (graphics and sound show-cases, collectively called the demoscene). There are also commentaries and a mini-documentary feature. Many of the techniques discussed (and indeed the people doing it) fed into the games scene and it gives a good idea of what the hardware of the era was capable of when pushed to the limit.
posted by samworm at 1:20 PM on December 5, 2012

Discovery did a series a few years back--The Rise of the Video Game. It's not heavy on nuts and bolts of design and programming, but the people who made the games are interesting.
posted by Ideefixe at 1:53 PM on December 5, 2012

Indie Game only touches on the history in terms of what games the current crop of developers grew up playing. It doesn't get into how those old games were made.

There are some resources that you might like but aren't documentaries. The book "Racing the Beam" gets into the technical hurdles of the Atari 2600. Jordan Mechner did a book about making Prince of Persia.
posted by RobotHero at 3:34 PM on December 5, 2012

Book not documentary, but Steven Levy's _Hackers_ does a good job talking about the earliest days of homebrew computing and gaming, gaming on MIT mainframes, and even the early 80s PC Game explosion (taking Sierra On-Line as his case study).
posted by absalom at 5:00 AM on December 6, 2012

Not 100% related to video games but the BBS documentary has a whole chapter on ASCII art, a style that has influenced a lot of modern games.
posted by laptolain at 5:29 AM on December 6, 2012

Yeah, I just watched Indie Game last night and it is much more a story of three contemporary games and briefly touches on the history of digital game distribution. You do get to see some old game footage but it isn't really discussed.

King of Kong is an awesome story and I highly recommend it but it is even less about making games. It is more about a rivalry in the world of competitive classic video game playing.
posted by mmascolino at 6:38 AM on December 6, 2012

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