7 Documentaries About Classic Video Gaming- From Tetris Masters to The Perfect Game of Donkey Kong, Via The Fabled Atari ET Landfill Site


Being born in 1980, I was a kid at the tail end of the golden age of gaming. Santa brought my brother and I a NES console one year, and a Game Boy the next. While I never really spent much time playing games in arcades, I did play console versions of Donkey Kong and indeed Pacman. 

So I indulged in a bout of extreme nostalgia, watching documentaries about classic arcade gaming and the original Mega Games like Tetris.

1. Chasing Ghosts

This tells the tale of Twin Galaxies Arcade, who originated a scoreboard for players to submit their high scores of video games to. We also meet Billy Mitchell, the first person to complete a perfect game of Pacman. Watch it for free here. 



2. The King of Kong

Another documentary starring Billy Mitchell, but this time he has a slightly villainous role. It sees a regular family man try to play a perfect game of Donkey Kong, and beat Billy's record.

Watch it free on YouTube. 








3. Man vs Snake. 

You'll end up really rooting for the guy in this documentary as he tries to reach the high score on an arcade game called Nibbler. Again Twin Galaxies and Billy Mitchell make appearances. 

I saw this a while back on Netflix, but there's a free copy here.  






4. Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters

Arguably the world's most played game, Tetris is the star of this documentary. It explores the highest score, the legendary kill screen of level 30, and gathers the best players for a tournament of kings. 

Watch it free here







5. Get Lamp: A Text Adventure Documentary

Now this is really old school. I remember playing text adventure games on the BBC computers in primary school. This documentary explores the history of the games and their creators.  

Catch it here. 


6. Atari: Game Over

There is an urban legend about Atari and the worst game ever made. This documentary tells that story. Atari rushed production of an ET game, to coincide with Christmas. The game was too difficult, boring and absolutely no fun to play. This led to the demise of Atari and the rumour of a huge landfill somewhere in the States where they buried millions of copies of unsold ET games. The film makers try to find the site, while explaining just what went wrong for Atari. 

Watch on Netflix, or for free here


7. Nintendo Quest

Ending on a happier note, Nintendo Quest sees two best friends try to buy all 678 NES games within 30 days, with no online purchases. The documentary also delves into the history of Nintendo and is a must watch for nostalgic folks of my generation.

Watch for free on YouTube