Saturday, January 17, 2015

World 1-1 - Movie Review

It's no secret that here at Netto's Game Room we are focused on video games. We play them, we discuss them, and they are a huge part of all of our lives. As strange as this may sound though, did you know there was a time when video games almost vanished from the world? No? Well, it's true. Just think, where we would be now if this had happened--if gaming never continued? None of us would have a reason to even be thinking about them, the gaming communities many of us have come to know and love would not exist, and all of those friends you've come to know because of gaming are people you most likely would have never met. Our world would be vastly different, and each of our lives would have been greatly altered. But you know? The "rebirth" of video games isn't what changed the world as some of you might think. Nintendo didn't just swoop in, make ROB, and start a new craze--they revived something that came from a much longer and deeper struggle. A struggle that started long before the world famous Pac-Man hit arcades, and even before the game we all know as "Pong" captured people's attention. This is a story that has been forgotten by many, and one that has never fully been told--that is, until now.

World 1-1 is a video game documentary that takes us back to the roots--the very beginning of the video game industry. Rather than speed running the early days of gaming to reach the more modern world of today, it takes the time to tell the complete story of everything that happened. It tells the story of the people who we truly owe this industry to. If it wasn't for these individuals and the challenges they overcame, that video game rebirth would have never even had a chance to happen, and even the computer industry in general would have been vastly different. You may not realize it, but the connection video games and computers shared greatly changed our world. The smart phones you rely on each day, the tablets you use, and even the PC you may be using to read this review--all of these electronics we now have today can be traced back to the roots of gaming, and that can be quite shocking (especially for those of you who may even look down on games). This topic in particular is just one of the many pieces of information World 1-1 covers, and it only gets better from there. Still, with that being said, let us make this very clear before we move on with this review. Keep in mind that World 1-1 is a full on documentary, and because of that it isn't something we can tell you to watch, or tell you to avoid. When it comes down to it, it all depends on your personal interests, and rather or not if you like documentaries. Of course this also means that, due to it's nature, it is also a film that can be enjoyed by many; not just those who are interested in the world of gaming.

Documentaries are a great source of information. They allow those who know nothing about the topic at hand to learn something new, and they also allow those who already have a great deal of knowledge on the subject to learn new information. World 1-1 does both perfectly, and because of that it can easily be enjoyed by both types of viewers. If you're someone who knows nothing about the industry (or possibly even dislikes video games), this is a film that will not only educate you, but possibly give you a new found respect for the market and those involved as well. This film gets very personal, and really connects the viewers with the people--so much that it becomes hard not to like these guys, and commend them for what they have accomplished. It really is something more documentaries should take the time to do (if possible of course), and it makes this one much more enjoyable. As for those of you who may already know about this era, again, World 1-1 gets very personal, and because of that it covers a lot of things you couldn't possibly know--unless you were there yourself. Hearing the personal stories behind each of these major events in gaming, and each of these major game releases is easily one of the best aspects of the film, and where a lot of new knowledge will come from. For example, listening to the story of how Donkey Kong was ported from the arcades, and the reasons behind it only being two levels long, really makes you see the game and it's shortcomings in new light. Then there's also the story about the working conditions at Atari, which will most likely put a smile on your face. It is the inside stories such as these that really pull you in, and show off the very same events you may already know about in a different way. Of course there's a lot more interesting stories covered in World 1-1, but we wouldn't want to spoil them for you--you'll just have to watch it for yourself and see.

So, now you may be wondering. How much does it really cover? Is this like them other video game documentaries where they quickly jump from subject to subject just to fit everything within a half an hour or so? Or is it truly that much deeper? We asked ourselves these same things way back when this movie was nothing more than a dream and a newly opened Kickstarter page, and well, we were pleasantly surprised. Of course we had a general idea what to expect from this project in the long run, but finally watching it for ourselves did confirm our expectations, as well as surpass them. As mentioned above, this movie covers nearly everything from the early days of gaming, and it does so very well. It doesn't rush it like other video game documentaries I've personally watched, and it takes the time to go into each event with great detail. Along with the personal stories, every event is explained completely, and it is all presented in an orderly manner just as it should be. By the time World 1-1 is over, you feel as if you've lived through that age (or possibly relived it), and that's a great feeling.

Now the moment of truth, is it worth buying and watching? Well, once again, this isn't something we can easily tell you to do. If you're the type of person who enjoys documentaries (and possibly dislikes video games), or if you're someone who loves video games, then that is a definite yes/maybe. Again this comes down to your personal interests, and if you care about this sort of thing. What we can tell you is this is film that is a little over two hours long, it is packed full of information, it is filled with personal stories, and it is something that will teach you a lot of things you didn't know before. Even I (someone who nearly follows everything gaming related) learned a great deal from this movie, and that information is going to become something that I'll be able to use from time to time here on out--I really do owe it to Jeanette & Daryl (the two behind this film) as I most likely would have never found all of this out on my own. I must thank both of them for that, and I know many others will be thanking them as well. As for those of you who may not like documentaries (or even despise them), we still recommend that you give this one a chance if the opportunity ever presents itself, but if you don't like the genre, then you don't like the genre--it is as simple as that, and nothing we say or do can change it.

Overall we feel that World 1-1 was a great film, and I personally cannot wait to see the follow up. This is just the first in a series, so more great things are sure to come over the following years. Good job you two. Keep up the great work.