High Score review – nostalgia forms an intriguing gaming docuseries Remember cartridges?

3.5

Summary

High Score offers the nostalgia that only a few of today’s gamers will remember or be aware of. This docuseries places a strong flaming torch in this period.

Netflix’s High Score season 1 will be released on August 19, 2020.


As we ride a curve of e-sports, Twitch and the ever-evolving Fortnite, which is becoming a whole new genre in itself, it’s fascinating how we got here. In 2020, video gaming is fast-paced and oversaturated with skill and obsession. It was always going to be this way but our desire to be competitive while also maintaining escapism was a perfect combination.

The debate of what period was the best gaming era is highly subjective, however, Netflix’s High Score offers the nostalgia that only a few of today’s gamers will remember or be aware of. This docuseries places a strong flaming torch in this period. The days of Space Invaders now hosts itself in classic arcades and museums — will our era have the same impact?

But what makes High Score highly engaging is its approach — rather than gloat in a simpler period, it gives a narrative of “How we got here”. Like the gaming industry today, there’s a lot to criticize, especially with corporations continually finding ways to maximize revenue. The Netflix documentary series breaks down the timeline for major objectives in the industry and also the pitfalls — like the infamous and poorly delivered E.T game. In the opening episode, Atari’s famous lawsuit aimed at three developers which were meant to set a precedent but actually changed the course of the future indefinitely.

There’s plenty of enthusiasm in High Score which will crack the odd smirk. Strangely, I and my friends missed this era that this series is noting, however, it did somehow leak into our childhood in some way or another so the nostalgic aspect, even for millennials, will still manage to inspire. The docuseries wisely interviews key people from the time rather than bring in so-called gaming history experts. By doing so, the Netflix series manages to give authenticity to the audience. It helps audiences understand the time these people were in. We are talking one-man bands against the world.

From Space Invaders to Donkey Kong to head-to-head Street Fighter, High Score season 1 celebrates the video gaming industry in a time where machines are getting more powerful. We now live in an era where room for error was such a small margin; this docuseries provides a window in time when we were still learning.

So remember the times you blew your cartridges, step away from digital, and immerse yourself in High Score.


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Daniel Hart

Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.

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