The gaming industry generates billions of dollars in sales every year. In fact, the gaming industry’s growth rate from 2005 to 2009 was actually more than 7 times the growth rate of the U.S. economy as a whole. And it shows no signs of slowing down.
Simply put, gaming has gone mainstream. No longer is it just nerds who enjoy playing games. Anyone can be a gamer—your best friend, your spouse…even your mom.
Not surprisingly, the gaming industry has proven to be a fascinating subject for filmmakers. A number of documentaries have been released in recent years about video games, gamers, and the history of the industry.
Here are 5 of our favorite documentaries about games and gamers.
1. The King of Kong
The King of Kong is a documentary that tells the story of a man trying to claim the world’s record for the highest Donkey Kong score. Steve Wiebe is a middle school teacher who is fighting to take down the record held by Billy Mitchell for 20 years. Sure, it’s a movie about video games on the surface, but the true story is about a lifelong underdog who is trying to finally overcome all odds and achieve greatness.
2. Second Skin
Could you spend 18 hours a day playing a video game? Would you be willing to pee into an empty soda bottle so that you don’t have to get up and interrupt your gaming? Second Skin is a story about people who are addicted to MMORPG games like World of Warcraft and Everquest. The documentary explores the highs and lows of online gaming, from couples meeting through the games to gamers losing everything because of their addiction.
Who among us wouldn’t want to make a living playing video games? Frag takes us into the world of pro-gaming. We meet teens who have dropped out of school and forsaken traditional careers to become well off by playing video games competitively. Needless to say, most parents don’t understand their kids’ unique career paths, so it makes for some compelling stories.
4. Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade
Like The King of Kong, Chasing Ghosts focuses on arcade games. It’s about the story of arcade gaming legends, like Billy Mitchell, and other characters who spent their days and nights hanging out in arcades with a fistful of quarters.
5. Beyond the Game
Beyond the Game tells the story of the world’s two best Warcraft 3 players, Sky and Grubby. The main characters in the documentary are competing to win the championship at the global finals of the 2007 World Cyber Games in Seattle, Washington. You get great insight into the lives of these hardcore gamers as well as the professional gaming scene.
What are some of your favorite video game documentaries? Any good ones we left off the list?