Jottings on science, religion, technology, pop culture and faith from the Antipodes.

Digital Technology, Games, Gaming, Pop Culture

Gaming documentaries

I’ve been watching a number of gaming documentaries recently as part of an ongoing research project. These documentaries range across a range of topics including gender, discrimination, indie developers, education, identity, and history. Most of these I’ve rented or purchased through the Steam store, with a few from Vimeo and YouTube. It’s interesting to watch the development of documentaries in this area. Some are a labour of love, others sponsored by game developers and studies, while others are part of series from mainstream media outlets. Something for everyone here (in no particular order):

Thank You for Playing (2015)

Thank You For Playing is a documentary film produced and directed by Malika Zouhali-Worrall and David Osit. The film follows the development of the video game That Dragon, Cancer, which tells the story of Ryan and Amy Green raising their son Joel who has been diagnosed with cancer.
You will probably need a box of tissues to watch this. And if you play the game. (I’m about halfway through the game)

GTFO (2015)

GTFO (also known as GTFO: Get the F&#% Out) is a 2015 American documentary film, directed by Shannon Sun-Higginson, about sexism and women in the world of video games. The movie compiles interviews from gamers, developers, journalists to show how pervasive sexist behaviour is in the gaming world.
Not an easy film to watch at times, and one which paints a very disturbing picture of gaming culture.

Free to Play (2014)

Free to Play is a documentary film by video game company Valve Corporation. The film examines the lives of three professional Dota players who participated in The International, the most lucrative eSports tournament at the time. The central focus of the film is how their commitment to Dota had affected their lives and how this debut tournament for the sequel, Dota 2, would bring more meaning to their struggles.

Surviving Indie (2016)

Documents the stories of several independent games developers as they produce games outside of the mainstream studios.

All Work All Play (2015)

Documentary that follows professional players in the Season 9 of the Intel Extreme Masters global pro-gaming tour.

Gaming in Color (2015)


Gaming In Color is a interview-based documentary directed by Philip Jones exploring the queer side of gaming: the queer gaming community, gaymer culture and events, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) issues in video games


Gaming the Real World (2016)

A documentary about how gaming can be used to explore our built environments and influence their development. Includes material on the games Minecraft, Cities: Skylines, and Block’hood.

Geek Girls (2017)

Geek Girls is a feature-length documentary exploring the hidden half of fan culture: nerdy women. Filmmaker Gina Hara addresses this oversight by delving into a world of professional gamers, cute dresses, fake names, and death threats.
An episodic documentary series which examines the creative process, technical skill, and friendships that form through a game jam event on a more personal and intimate level. Each episode covers the creation of a new game in a 48 hour jam session in a different city.
Indie Game: The Movie is a documentary film about making video games. It looks indie game developers, who sacrifice money, health and sanity to realize their lifelong dreams of sharing their visions with the world. Games covered include Super Meat Boy, FEZ, and Braid.

Let’s Play (2015)

Let’s Play! is a five-part documentary about the art of making indie video games. The series is set in Europe and explores the individuals and communities shaping gaming development and culture.
  1. New Playgrounds;
  2. Change the Rules;
  3. Free Experimentation;
  4. Beyond the Screen;
  5. Co-Creations

Life 2.0 (2010)

Life 2.0 is a documentary directed by Jason Spingarn-Koff that follows a group of people whose lives are dramatically transformed by their participation in the virtual world of Second Life.

The Supergamers (2016)

A BBC documentary fronted by Dan Howell which looks at the lives of professional video game players through tracking three British gamers at different stages of their careers.
The documentary is available here on YouTube.

Good Game is a documentary about a group of competitive Starcraft II gaming team, Evil Geniuses.

CodeGirl (2015)

CodeGirl is a documentary directed Lesley Chilcott that follow high school aged girls from around the world as they try to better their community through technology and collaboration. The girls in the film are part of the challenge that aims to increase the number of women in the IT industry.


1 Comment

  1. Reni

    Fascinating…if there was a thinking / contemplating emoji, I’d be using it.