Despite some approaches and omissions, we must celebrate that High Score puts the history of the video game before so many eyes
“Dust Off Your Atari: Time to Delve into the Unexpected Stories Behind Your Favorite Video Games.” This advertising phrase does not belong to the documentary released by Netflix High Score, but to the small 2017 documentary series 8 Bit Legacy: The Curious History of Video Games, belonging to the Great Big Story content channel. In just six episodes of just over six minutes each, common topics such as the anecdote of the mustache and the name of Mario told by Miyamoto himself or the urban legend of Polybius are dealt with, but the focus is also on less common and picturesque issues like the search for Veronika Megler, the author of the conversational adventure about The Hobbit; the also late great champion of the first Street Figther II tournaments, Tomo Ohira, who beat the greats when he was only thirteen years old; or the return to the original filming location of the actors of the terrible Mad Dog McCree, a video game recorded in real image in 1990. The Hobbit chapter could find similarities with the one in High Score that deals with the first adventures created by Roberta Williams in Sierra, the of Street Figther II with the multiple references to video game competitions and that of Mad Dog McCree with which he talks extensively about Nigth Trap. And it is no coincidence, in that modest documentary series was France Costrel, the director of High Score. It is therefore to be assumed that 8 Bit Legacy is the inspiration on which the Netflix series is built, even more so considering that that modest production came to be nominated for an EMI.
And how is the reception of High Score being? At first it seems that the gaming community is in an obvious dichotomy. On the one hand, the superficiality of the treatment is criticized, the enormous absences and the exaggerated focus on the United States, on the other, the particular stories rescued for the occasion are celebrated, such as the creation of the first cartridge machine by the African American Jerry Lawson or power see John Kirby telling shortly before his death Nintendo’s trial for the rights of King Kong, as well as the superb production that leaves in diapers previous attempts to document the history of this medium (with few exceptions such as When video games changed the world , documentary by Charlie Broker, former video game critic turned acid surgeon of today’s society with the respected television series Black Mirror).
In particular, at first it seemed to me that High Score was the result of chopping the tip of an iceberg. Not only are you leaving everything that is hidden below the waterline, but you are only scratching what is on the surface. Those who have read Console Wars will not be grateful enough when they see Tom Kalinske explaining in…
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