I am a real fan of well-made gaming documentaries. I find the information in many of these documentaries fascinating. There is a huge wealth of information to learn about games and gaming that goes way beyond what you might initially have thought.
There is an ever growing number of highly talented documentary creators in the online space that focus on gaming as their primary topic. There are documentaries on gaming history, the development of graphics, different gaming generations, consoles, and speed running. There are also documentaries about individual games and series of specific games, some of which are more like extremely in-depth reviews. The list is endless.
I would like to share 7 of the great gaming documentaries with you. What’s great about this list is that all of them are available on YouTube and, therefore, have no cost and can be viewed anywhere.
Before I start, I would just like to point out that these are in no particular order. The topics covered are so varied that it’s almost impossible to compare them to each other in any fair way. With that said, let’s begin.
1. Death Stranding: A Commentary, Critique And Understanding
This 7-hour-long, absolute behemoth of video is created by Whitelight.
Whitelight does an incredible job of going through Hideo Kojima’s hugely anticipated game from 2019 with a fine tooth comb. Not only does this documentary run almost like some hybrid, highly edited let’s play piece. But along the way, Whitelight does an impeccable job of explaining the story line and its nuances. This is some feat, as the story in Death Stranding isn’t exactly straight-forward. He also does a great job of explaining the complex controller layout and, at times, almost makes you truly feel like you are struggling with the gamepad yourself.
I have never played Death Stranding and never really had any intention of playing it either. Despite that, though, this was an incredible piece of media. Although, I had to watch it over the space of several shorter sittings due to it’s extreme runtime.
Whitelight has dozens of long-form critique gaming documentaries on a vast array of different games (none quite nearly as long as this one is, though) and I highly suggest giving his YouTube channel a good look over, too.
2. AlphaGo – The Movie
Go is a 2-player abstract strategy board game that was invented in ancient China over 2 and a half millennia ago. With more board configurations than there are atoms in the universe, the aim of the game is to surround more territory on the board than your opponent.
Created by DeepMind – a subsidiary of Google (Now Alphabet Inc.) – who research and build AI systems, AlphaGo is a computer programmed artificial intelligence that is designed to play Go.
This documentary follows the story of what is probably the most epic battle of human intelligence Vs. artificial intelligence since Deep Blue, the IBM-made AI who beat the chess Grandmaster, Garry Kasparov in 1997.
The British DeepMind team pit it’s AlphaGo AI against one of the world’s best professional Go players, Lee Sedol from South Korea. Follow this rollercoaster ride of a documentary as each side battles to overcome their opponent.
3. The Story of the PlayStation
This is a conglomerate of Double Dog‘s remarkable series telling the story of Sony’s PlayStation consoles, seamlessly stitched together to make a single, feature-length documentary.
It’s clear that a lot of research has gone in to this stunning piece of media and even the biggest Sony fans can learn a lot of interesting facts and information from this gaming documentary.
4. Trackers: The Sound of 16-Bit
This documentary explains the history behind Trackers, the software used to create a vast amount of 16-Bit music.
Going deep in to the why 16-Bit music became so prevalent and what the “demo scene” is/was, Ahoy does a great job of telling the story of the inner workings of this underground subculture.
Ahoy has amassed a well over 1.6 million YouTube subscribers at the time of publishing and I struggled to pick only one of his highly informative, niche documentaries to go on this list. He truly is a great content creator and documentarian. Don’t forget to check out his channel, too.
5. Super Mario Bros: The Human Limit
Being well over 35 years old, the Super Mario franchise actually made it to the Guinness Book of World Records as the ‘most successful gaming franchise of all time’. According to Wikipedia, it has netted over 760 million total worldwide sales to date! That’s why it’s not too hard to imagine how much people still love to play the absolute classic Super Mario Bros.
Originally released for the Famicom/Nintendo Entertainment System in 1983, Super Mario Bros. has been practically perfected by some of the world’s best speed-runners.
Summoning Salt takes us on the journey of how these speed-runners pushed the upper limits of what is humanly possible, shaving off fractions of seconds in a battle to hold the title of the World’s Fastest Speed-runner for this timeless classic, Super Mario Bros.
Summoning Salt makes some excellent gaming documentaries on speed-running and some of the phenomenal battles that happen in the speed-running communities to earn and hold on to world records for some of the world’s most beloved games. I highly suggest you check out his channel.
6. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
Donkey Kong is a 1981 arcade platform video game released by Nintendo. The player controls Mario, climbing a construction site to rescue the damsel in distress, Pauline, from a huge gorilla named Donkey Kong. To make the game more of a challenge, Donkey Kong will periodically throw barrels down the construction site and the player must avoid them.
The documentary follows the story of Steve Wiebe who, against all odds, is determined to take the Donkey Kong high score world record from Billy Mitchell.
The often comical documentary looks at allegations of fowl play from Billy Mitchell. Not only that, but there are numerous other intriguing characters from the classic arcade community that appear, including Walter Day.
Walter Day is the founder of the famous arcade game high score tracking organisation, Twin Galaxies.
If you haven’t already seen this gaming documentary, I highly suggest giving it a watch.
7. God of War – Almost a Masterpiece
This, much like the Death Stranding video at the top of this list, is more of an exceptionally thorough breakdown and review of the overall God of War story.
This gaming documentary focuses heavily on the 2018 God of War game, but jumps back to the older games periodically to explain how the original games are well woven in to it.
I should point out that this video contains huge storyline spoilers for the entire God of War series. So if you decide to watch this then be fully aware that the full storyline of God of War will be broken down and explained in great detail.
Created by Joseph Anderson. Check out his YouTube channel for more gaming documentaries like this one.
Hopefully, this list will have provided you with hours of great gaming documentaries to watch and maybe opened you eyes to some great YouTube creators.
We hope you enjoyed this list of gaming documentaries. Which one is your favourite? Do you have any suggestions on what should go on the next list? Let us know in the comments section below.
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