Hot on the heels of E3, where the most cutting edge video games are given royal attention, old-school gamers received an unexpected treat with the trailer for Video Games: The Movie.
Produced by Zach Braff (Scrubs, Garden State) and directed by relative newcomer Jeremy Snead, the documentary Video Games: The Movie is about the rise of video games and their transition from 8-bit niche obsessions to mainstream cultural phenomenon.
The film got some hype in 2013 when Snead used Kickstarter to raise over $100,000 (Nearly twice the goal amount) to finish the editing process, citing expenses such as obtaining rights to music and archival footage. In this initial trailer, much of the B-roll features fans engaging in the video game culture through cosplay. Snippets of interviews with famous gamers and designers tease an expansive story.
Snead promises not only to tell the story of video games past, present, and future, but to dispel misconceptions about the gaming community. The new trailer suggests that he’s right on course. The interviewees make up an impressive knowledge base. Alan Alcorn, the creator of Pong and Palmer Luckey, the creator of the Oculus Rift are a couple of heavy hitters in the industry, albeit on opposite ends of the video game spectrum. Additionally general nerd culture enthusiasts such as Will Wheaton and Chris Hardwick make their own appearances. Perhaps most curiously, Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings) is narrating the film. It’s a strange choice.
The trailer shows nostalgic footage of arcade classics compared with their modern counterparts. In a clip from one interview, Alison Haislip explains, “The whole point of the game was literally shooting pixelated aliens that are falling out of the sky. Nowadays, not only do we know why those aliens are falling out of the sky, we know the names of their moms.” Video games have evolved from simple, linear entertainment devices to empires that are more akin to Choose Your Own Adventure Novels than a simple game of Pong.
As promised in the Kickstarter plea, the trailer is rife with archival footage. A careful eye will spot everything from Asteroids to sports games, old Nintendo footage and games so futuristic we can only hope they are actually being developed. Unfortunately the trailer doesn’t feature any of Sean Astin’s narration for the film, so you’ll have to add in your best melancholy “Mister Frodo” for the full experience.
Video Games: The Movie comes to theaters on July 18th, 2015, but it will be available July 15th on digital platforms like iTunes. What do you think? Are you excited for a trip down memory lane? Or is this exploiting your childhood? Let us know in the comments below or on GEEK’s Facebook page!
Images: Variance Films