Are you watching High Score?

Because you should be. Netflix’s new, six-episode documentary series is an intriguing retrospective of the video game industry, as told by the people who were actually there, and features some ultra-cringe 80s TV marketing from the VHS archives as a bonus extra.

From candid interviews with Space Invaders designer Tomohiro Nishikado to Sierra’s dream team Roberta and Ken Williams and the guy responsible for Atari’s ET the Extra-Terrestrial, High Score is a comprehensive exposition of the first two or three decades of video games – the who, the what, the how, and the occasionally dreary why (spoilers, it’s mostly because cash is everything). Also, the unexpected and kind of hilarious consequences of zero legal precedent for cloning and reverse-engineering a video game, and the cultural significance of octopi. Although it’s perhaps uncritical of things like the gross capitalism and corporate acquisition of, like, everything – I guess that’s an entire future series to itself – the show does include some legitimately fascinating perspectives about the political bias of innovation and history. Did you know, for example, that Jerry Lawson, a black dude, actually invented the first video game cartridge with the Fairchild Channel F console? Because I totally didn’t.

And the “ultra-cringe 80s TV marketing from the VHS archives”? It’s a lot.

High Score is out now on Netflix.

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