Gamer Koala

10 Must-Watch Video Game Documentaries

Nostalgia… Entrepreneurship… Villains… Competition… These ten documentaries are packed with must-watch moments. Interesting characters and facts, emotionally gripping stories, rich histories, underdog struggles, and more. Even if you aren’t a video game fan, you’ll find the human element gripping.

10. Video Game Invasion: History of a Global Obsession

Video Game Invasion: The History of a Global Obsession
Bean Town Productions

Hosted by Tony Hawk, and directed by David Carr and David Comtois, this 2004 documentary is noteworthy for providing an in-depth early history of gaming. It covers the decades of the ’70s, ’80s, and early ’90s. Although presented with a dry, educational video feel, its substance is what makes it worth the watch.

9. All Work All Play: The Pursuit of Esports Glory Live

All Work All Play
O’Malley Creadon Productions

With global Esports audiences projected to surpass 577.2 million in 2024, this 2015 film by Patrick Creadon is more pertinent than ever. The film takes a deep dive into this booming industry. We’re given a close-up of the heated competition and the pro gamers themselves on a personal level.

8. GameChangers: Dreams of BlizzCon

GameChangers: Dreams of BlizzCon
Wild West Picture Show Productions

Focused on Esports, this documentary takes us inside the annual gaming convention BlizzCon in 2014. As follows two professional gamers as they battle for the world title playing StarCraft 2. It also has the emotional feel of a sports movie, as we watch the champions fight their way to the top.

7. High Score

High Score
Great Big Story

This multipart miniseries offers a chronological history of 1980s and 1990s gaming. It’s narrated by the voice of Super Mario, Charles Martinet. There’s lots of retro footage and exclusive interviews diving into gaming’s nascent days and its cultural influences. For nerds, it’s packed with fascinating facts.

6. GoldenEra

Woodhouse Pictures

The 1997 video game GoldenEye pioneered atmospheric missions in first-person shooters. It’s considered one of the greatest video games ever made. This 2022 documentary by Drew Roller is a love letter to the game’s fans. It’s full of rare history, covering its developers, concept, its creation, and much more.

5. Minecraft: The Story of Mojang

Minecraft: The Story of Mojang
2 Player Productions

From its developmental release in 2009 to its full version in 2011, Minecraft became a cultural phenomenon. This documentary tells the story from its grassroots conception to its meteoric rise. It features interviews with Minecraft studio Mojang’s key designers and programmers. Fans and gaming historians alike will be drawn into this gripping story.

4. Indie Game: The Movie

Indie Game: The Movie
BlinkWorks Media

This 2012 film almost feels prescient in its look at indie gaming. This documentary by James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot pulls the viewer into the then-emerging indie scene. The film looks at up-and-coming young developers, including a few of the pioneers. It covers the creators of Braid, Super Meat Boy, and Fez.

3. Atari: Game Over

Atari: Game Over
Fuel Entertainment USA

This film is a must-see for Atari fans or anyone fascinated with gaming and its history. This 2014 film directed by Zak Penn covers Atari’s rise in the 70s and the video game crash of 1983. It also covers the infamous urban-legend-turned-true “Atari videogame burial” of E.T. and the 1982 port of Pac-Man.

2. Console Wars

Console Wars
Legendary Television

Many consider the 1990s to be the golden era of gaming, while others will hold fast to the 1980s. Based on Blake J. Harris’ book of the same name, Console Wars examines the clash of these eras. Specifically, it looks at the heated battles among 16-bit console makers Nintendo and Sega. The near-brawl between company heads at the ’93 Senate hearing on game violence adds irony.

Read More: My 1989 NES Library – A Casual Retrospective

1. The King of Kong: A Fistful Of Quarters

King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
Large Lab

Seth Gordon’s 2007 documentary has something for everyone. Even non-gamers will be pulled in by this emotional, underdog story, likable subjects, and fascinating gaming history. The game focuses on the early 1980s arcade-era games and some diehard enthusiasts and record holders. Two protagonists, in particular, battle it out for top-score glory.

Read More: The Most Popular Game Arcades From The ’70s To The ’90s