High Score (2020-)

(Last Updated On: August 25, 2020)

Title: High Score

Year: 2020

Genre:  Documentary | History |

Season: 1|

Runtime: 40-45 min/Episode

Created by: Willaim costrel, William Acks

StarringCharles Martinet, Nolan Bushnell, Tom Kalinske


Traces the history of classic video games, featuring insights from the innovators who brought these worlds and characters to life.


High Score, Netflix’s own Documentary series that been recently release, appears not to know what direction it wants to take the series. First and most this is a video-game documentary and with that means it tries to emulate a video-game interaction, which comes of as tacky and unnecessary. The animation to explain is decent and uses mostly 8-bit graphics, which might seem charming at first, but after a while, it just becomes boring and an annoying feature. It tries to present a playful, inventive attribute with this gaming-animation in the background. The interview-subjects itself is interesting though as it covers for several episodes. Including on a 6-episode roll, the pilot gives the story of Atari and the second provides the one with Nintendo. Most of these stories that are explored are not big news. Maybe in some sense with a little more details but there is none groundbreaking approach taken in this series. It doesn’t go deep, and the exciting part is mostly on the surface.

Netflix seems to have a problem with not making a serious videogame without the animation in the background, the childlike narrator, and the awful sound effects. As this series tend to cover videogame and how these games have given a meaningful impact on the gaming industry, few episodes seem to follow this line. A disappointed and impermeable approach, as this is maybe not what one seeks in a documentary about gaming history. Instead of having subplots, the series should have narrow down these stories too at least two instead of three or four to make a deep dive in history.

The video-game industry ain’t that old with barely forty-year alive.  With Nintendo and Atari roaming the arcade and at home during the 80s, this is already covering in the first two episodes. After that, it just goes downhill and the interest to engage with the story is eventually lost. Episode 3 is totally unnecessary with its primary focus on role-playing and Dungeon and Dragons, where the context presented in this episode hasn’t improve or affected the gaming industry; only role-playing, which means it has done but indirectly.  Since this is a retrospective documentary on gaming, the reenactment feels somewhat off-putting as it really doesn’t connect with the time-period it tries to represent. Archive footage works far better than these tacky, cheap reenactments where they’re using people to retell something, they accomplished at least 30 years ago.

The first two episodes are far more interesting than the rest as these connect you with the content that is shown. The other four have some bad episodes and decent ones. In conclusion, this series is worth spending time for the first episode perhaps, but if you are a real gamer then maybe your requirements should be higher too. With lack of an immersive experience and an overall deep told story, this documentary series proves itself to be nothing more than a disappointment as the producers of the series don’t take the gaming community seriously enough.

Grade 2 of 5

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Marcus J. Ström
Marcus J. Ström
Marcus Ström | Journalist/writer and Chief Editor.

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