If you’ve just experienced the world of game development documentary Indie Game: The Movie, you might be hankering for more. No problem – we’ve got you covered.
King of Kong - This is a gem of a documentary. Donkey Kong is one of the most famous arcade games of all time, and the competition for the world record high score is one full of high drama. If you thought being good at games wasn't a big deal, you'll be surprised at the intensity of the people in this documentary. A lot of hurt feelings, a very immature world champion, and awkward moments make it cringe-inducing, but it's still incredibly engaging. Definitely a classic of the sub-genre and vital for anyone who wants to bone up on a big event in the history of competitive gaming.
Minecraft: The Story of Mojang - Okay, okay, so it's not out quite yet, but the 20-minute sample showcases just how exciting this story is - the tale of Markus "Notch" Persson, the game developer who created Minecraft, a game that has sold millions of copies and become possibly the most famous indie title of all time, complete with the story of the company that formed around him. A bunch of friendly, fun developers and the Cinderella story make this worth a look. If you're curious, you can find the sample short here.
Reformat the Planet - While not strictly a documentary about videogames, this piece delves into the world of chiptune music - music created using game-console hardware. It's an interesting music scene that's full of retro creativity, so you're likely to find tunes you may enjoy, and learn more about those who enjoy turning a Gameboy into an instrument. If you'd like to watch it, it's presented on Penny Arcade TV as a seven-episode stretch, which you can check out here.
Second Skin - Amongst the people who casually play Angry Birds on the train to work, there's a gamer who's daily life revolves around eating, sleeping, playing games, and little else. This documentary explores people's ability to find love, addiction, a sweatshop job, and a new purpose in life, all within the world of MMOs - Massively Multiplayer Online games. If you're curious as to what exactly these people get out of their time spent playing around in these virtual worlds, then it's worth delving into it.
Get Lamp - Before there were big-budget videogames with special effects that put some blockbuster CGI efforts to shame, there were text adventures - games in which you typed in commands and read long descriptions, picturing the game world inside your own head. Get Lamp, named after an example of said commands, explores the special genre of text adventures. Happily, the whole thing is on YouTube, so you can "get Get Lamp documentary" should you wish to do so.
Everything, By Everyone - again, not out yet, but a documentary about the Flash games and videos site, Newgrounds, a pre-YouTube source of entertainment and the training ground for some of the best known indie developers in the world. Definitely a documentary you'll want to check out, when it hits, and one that might even inspire you to check out the site, although they really do mean "everything, by everyone" - so be warned.
Frag - You may not be aware, but professional videogames players are indeed a thing. Not only are they a thing, but they're millionaire things, some of them, who have to deal with a world of money, drugs, death, and burning out on the games they love as they are driven to breaking point in order to forge a path for themselves through the wasteland of other failed competitors. Competitive gaming, for those in it, is a difficult, dark road, at times.
FOCUS - A documentary about Mike Ross - a champion player of the fighting game, Street Fighter. Following his preparation for EVO 2010, a major tournament, the film takes you into the world of tournaments, professional gamers, and the sort of life they lead. He's an interesting guy, and seeing his family talk about his career and learning more about the life he leads as one of the best (spoiler: he's not drowning in cash) is worth a watch. Find it here.
O Brave New World - Made by and all about Bungie, this film is an insight into one of the most influential and important videogame developers of the last couple of decades. Responsible for the creation of the multi-million-dollar Halo franchise, they're a company you'll want to learn about, if you're interested in what true, big-budget success looks like, and how it was achieved. It's also made by the company in celebration of their 20th anniversary. Aww. Watch it here.
The Secret History of Volition - GameInformer originally intended to produce a simple interview, but it turned into an almost hour-long documentary about the history of Volition, the developer responsible for Saints Row, Red Faction: Guerilla, Freespace, and Descent. You'd be crazy not to be curious about what goes on in the collective mind of this weird and wacky developer. Watch this one here.