If you're into game history - this movie is for you. There are interviews in the movie with all the key people which used to work in Atari at that time- from Nolan Bushnell the founder, through Ray Kassar (the president) and Manny Gerard from Warner brothers and many more.
The movie paints a broad picture about the emerging game industry back in mid 70 and early 80's that saw the rise of the home video game systems (like the VCS). As the name suggests - the main focus is the rise and fall of Atari - portrayed in many interviews of people of that era (not only in Atari, but from Game industry in America at that time). I would show this documentary to every entrepreneur that wants to set foot in Silicon valley. Why? because one can learn a lot from it:
1) Designers vs management tension. 2) Corporate decisions vs. founder's will 3) Can a person from outside the tech industry run a tech company ? 4) Life span of a high tech product.
In portraying that era, specifically the rise and fall of Atari - the movie deserves a 10 out of 10.
So... where is the missing 1 star ? well, I know this is not a feature film - but what I sensed is that it is very high on the factual and a little low on the emotional. It didn't move me enough. I did not say "wow" and I did not shed any tear or was too mesmerized during the length of the film. I was little bit curious on how much the movie put ET as the main reason of fall - but that part was handled very well in my opinion. It felt like reading a good well written and documented encyclopedia entry on an intriguing topic. Which is a good thing if you came for educational purposes. So, For entertainment - I would look somewhere else. I do expect some entertainment value from a documentary film. At least something shocking, or some sense of amazement. An emotional ending or funny ending would do it too.
Having said that - People that used to to be children in that era - might find it nostalgic and appealing to reflect back on all those wonderful dots and colors which danced so gracefully on their TV screen for the sake of their enjoyment. If you're one of those people, or if you have any curiosity about video games industry history - this movie is for you !
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