I love watching interesting documentaries and I love playing games, and when you combine them you can get quite an entertaining couple of hours.
I have decided to list and give a decent plot for as many Game Documentaries as I can find/watch. Hopefully this will help out some people who are interested in watching these kind of documentaries.
- Tetris: From Russia with Love (2004) - One of the first documentaries I have watched. It is about Tetris (if you didn't get that from the title). It goes into great detail about just how this addicting game has become one of the most popular games in the world. Quite a lot of information is dropped on you and it is put together pretty well. Definitely worth checking out.
- National Geographic: Starcraft WCG (2005) - A documentary all about Starcraft. The movie ranges from the basic of Starcraft gameplay all the way to the lifestyles of the pro players. They visit the team houses, interview players and show some good coverage of games. It's a great documentary about Starcraft even if it is getting a little dated. They've made it so that even non-Starcraft fans could enjoy this.
- Rise of the Video Game (2007) - A very good 5 part series of the history of video games. Starts out from the very beginning with Tennis For Two and goes all the way up to modern games. It gives some good background on companies and designers alike. Go check it out if you want to know just how video games started out!
- Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade (2007) - Chasing Ghosts is probably one of my more favourited movies. It's about the rise and fall of arcades during the 80s and also focuses on some of the top arcade gamers who were dominating the scoreboards back then. It has a good cast of characters and a lot of interesting facts about that era of gaming. I recommend seeing this movie.
- Frag (2007) - This movie is about the life of Professional gamers most notably Fatal1ty. It covers how teams treat their players as well as the troubles gamers experience to get into the profession. This movie was okay for me, some of the facts seem to be a little dated, but if you are interested in Pro-gaming then this could be a good documentary just to see how things were. (Maybe still are)
- The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (2007) - If you liked Chasing Ghosts then you will probably like this one. Even if you didn't you should check this one out. It focuses in on the battle for the high score of Donkey Kong as well as some other high score players sharing their comments. It can keep you entertained quite easily with the "Good vs Evil" aspect of the movie. Go check this one out!
- Second Skin (2008) - This movie is the one that got me very interested in video game documentaries. It follows a few people whose lives, for the most part revolve around MMO games (World of Warcraft, Everquest 2). It is quite an interested view on how their lives and how dependent they are on their game of choice. I highly recommend this one as it is well put together and a very interesting story. It also contains a scene about a boy and Second Life that pretty much had me in tears. Check it out!
- Beyond the Game (2008) - Not a movie that stands out to me, but it's still going on the list. An independently made movie that focuses solely on professional gamers Grubby and Sky of the game Warcraft 3. It is a pretty dark look at their lives and how they get ready for their games at the World Cyber Games. It's slow moving and not really the most cheerful atmosphere. The only way I can recommend this game is if you are a fan of Grubby/Sky or are REALLY into the professional scene for Warcraft.
- Get Lamp (2010) - An interesting movie that is all about Text Adventure games. It covers the history of how this genre got started to what the future of this game holds. A decent movie that gives you quite a bit of information about the games. It's worth checking out if you want to learn something about the genre. Also can be fun to try and spot the Lamp in some of the shots.
- Gamers (2011) - The film focuses greatly on World of Warcraft, but don't take it that this movie is all about the game. The filmmaker explores what makes World of Warcraft and other MMOs such a popular genre. He interviews people with a wide range of opinions, from devoted fans to ex-gamers to people who think they are bad. Along the way you meet some quite interesting people. A good movie for both people new to the genre and people who are well established MMOers.
- Tilt: The Battle to Save Pinball (2008) - This movie goes fairly in-depth on the project called Pinball 2000 which Williams put together in an attempt to save pinball from fading away. It's a quick movie so don't expect much from of a history of pinball as it just briefly covers it. I'm not sure what else to say about it, as it is mostly about the Pinball 2000 and the decline of Williams.
- Once Upon Atari (2007) - A full-scale look at the life of working at Atari. I quite enjoyed watching this as there are some really good anecdotes from the employees. For example how all the employees would smoke weed in their office throughout the day or how one of the employees climbed walls and hit his head on a sprinkler. It's a good watch just to see exactly what it was like working there, from the high points to the parts which made life hell. There are a lot of story telling in this documentary so be prepared for that!
Some more movies not on this list that will get added when I see them are (Or have time to put some information about):
- Thumb Candy (2000) - History of Computer Games.
- 8Bit (2006) - History of artists and video games.
- Into the Night with Jason Rohrer and Chris Crawford (2009) - Two video game industry guys having conversations about game design.
- Playing Columbine (2008) - History of the making of the controversial game Playing Columbine.
- Indie Game: The Movie (2011) - Documentary on Indie developers and how they go about making their games.
- Moral Kombat (2007) - A debate about whether violent games are good or bad.
- Bang The Machine (2002) - A film about the Street Fighter scene around the year of 2000.
- I Got Next (2009) - It is about the fighting game scene and also Street Fighter IV.
- King of Chinatown (2011) - A documentary about the famous Street Fighter player Justin Wong.
- Focus: A Documentary on Mike Ross (2011) - Follows the 4th place finisher at Evo 2010, Mike Ross.
- The Hax Life (2010) - An inside look on the Starcraft pro gaming team WEmade FOX .
- Charlie Brooker's Game Swipe (2009) - Has various reviews of video games as well insight into the game industry.
- Gamer Revolution (2007) - It explores how games are changing the world and life itself.
- Play Value (2008) - A bunch of gaming gurus and insiders give insight into the history of video games.
- Gold Farmers (2010) - Investigates the business of young Chinese men farming gold to sell to Americans.
- /afk (2011) - Explores the possible obsession of online games.
- Flashback: NES (2006) - Gamespot documentary about the Nintendo Entertainment System. Contains some of the Giantbomb guys.
- Video Game Invasion (2004) - Tony Hawk is the host of this documentary about the evolution of games.
- Playing To Win (2010) - A series of short videos ranging from the games to the creators to social issues.
- High Score (2010) - A group of fans keeping the arcade game play of high scores alive. Also follows a gamer trying to beat Missile Command high score.
- Blizzard Retrospective (2011) - To celebrate Blizzard's 20th Anniversary they made a 50min look at the entire history of Blizzard to current day.
- The Secret History of Volition (2011) - GameInformer put together a documentary on the studio that brought us Descent. Concept art and never before seen footageare just some of the stuff you will see.
- Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters (2012) - A documentary that follows the best Tetris players as they get ready for the Tetris World Championships.
- Us and the Game Industry (2012) - New documentary about Indie game developers which tracks their progress and ideas during their production.
- Icons (2002-2006) - A show run on G4 from 2002-2006 for 4 seasons which focused on a different topic in the gaming industry. It has been relaunched recently, but focuses on pop culture instead.
- Race To World First (2011) - Follows the World of Warcraft guild Blood Legion as it attempts to be the first guild to beat the newest boss encounter added.
- Special When Lit (2009) - A pinball documentary that looks back at the history of the genre and what made it so popular back in the day.
As an added bonus I have included some non-Video game movies, but still gamer documentaries. These are based around LARPing (Live Action Role Playing), DnD (Dungeons and Dragons), and Table top games.
- Uber Goober (2004) - This covers the whole range of gaming from LARP to table top games. Pretty interesting look at the different kinds of games.
- Drakmar: A Vassal's Journey (2006) - A LARPing documentary, but this one follows a single kid playing the game and him dealing with real life problems.
- Darkon (2006) - Focused around the players of the LARP community of Darkon. Quite entertaining seeing how these people live their lives.
- Monster Camp (2007) - Another LARPing documentary. There are quite a few funny scenes in this one. Follows a group of players during their time playing as well as living their normal lives.
- The Dungeon Masters (2008) - A pretty well made movie about dungeon masters and players of the game Dungeons and Dragons. Shows how they live their life outside of the game and how they make a living.
- Going Cardboard (2012) - Introduces viewers to the players and developers of board games, and shows you how it is making a comeback.
- Reformat the Planet (2008) - Delves into the music genre known as chiptune, which is music made by using video game hardware such as the NES and Game Boys.
Hopefully this little guide will help people in finding movies to watch. If you have any movie recommendations not on the list or just wish to share your opinion on some movies please feel free to do so.
I WILL be updating this page so be sure to bookmark/save this page, and check back. If you have any recommendations on how this could be better share that as well. :)