Saturday, February 7, 2009

Two Excellent Video Game Documentaries

I watched the BBC 3 Program "Outrageous Fortunes" special on Nintendo (thanks GAF) It centers on Nintendo and is nothing short of brilliant. The documentary focuses on Miyamoto, Nintendo Chairman Hiroshi Yamauchi, and Nintendo of America executives, and deals with the epilepsy issue in video games as well as the FTC's investigations as to whether Nintendo pressured retailers to carry only Nintendo products. There are numerous Nintendo commercials within the documentary as well which provide for a nostalgic look back. The documentary is around 5 years old and doesn't cover the Wii, but it's a brilliant look at Nintendo and Yamauchi. It's worth a look if you can find it.

Also thanks to GAF, I watched a documentary on Tetris also by the BBC called "Tetris: From Russia with Love". This documentary is available on Google Video as well, just search Tetris documentary. I love Tetris and have played it since the beginning. Heck I bought a Gameboy just for Tetris and even have a version of it on my IPhone as we speak. Tetris to me remains the second greatest import from Russia (only behind Vodka). This is hands down one of the best documentaries I've ever seen due to it's depth and scope. The documentary practically covers everything. Alexey Pajitnov, the creator of Tetris, is featured prominently in the documentary and Tetris is shown from it's beginning stages. The documentary also describes the licensing of Tetris and the troubles and trials of doing so. It shows Kevin Maxwell in a very bad light as well as showing what a SOB Robert Stein was as well. The documentary also narrates the fight between Nintendo and Atari for home console rights. I cannot recommend this documentary enough. It's a shad under an hour long and well worth the watch. I never knew the struggles involved with Tetris, and it defintely makes me look at the game in a different light.

Just on a side note, both of these documentaries are BBC productions. I'd kill to be able to have something besides BBC America broadcast here in the states. The BBC does a great job with virtually everything they put out and do a much better job than any network in the United States bar none.

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