10 Best Documentaries About Gaming (& Where To Watch Them) – Screen Rant

With gaming bigger than ever, some incredible documentaries have been produced giving an inside look at the industry.
With all of the blockbuster games coming out like God of War: Ragnarök and Pokémon Scarlet and Violet selling up to tens of millions of copies, it's clear that the video game medium has become a mainstream staple in entertainment. It's a rapidly and constantly growing industry and, over the years, several worthwhile documentaries have been produced to chronicle that growth.
There are many aspects to the gaming industry, and many of these documentaries do well in covering each facet. From "making of" movies like Grounded: Making the Last of Us to coverage of competitive gaming scenes like Free to Play, there's plenty of fascinating content to watch.
For a more historical and all-encompassing video game documentary, Unlocked: The World of Games, Revealed should prove to be an interesting watch. An 8-part docuseries, Unlocked: The World of Games, Revealed documents the history of the video game industry, its growth, and the future of the medium as a whole.
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The series was released in 2016, which should make for topical enough commentary on gaming. It features celebrities, icons of the industry, and cultural/technological/historical experts as well.
When the original The Last of Us launched for the PS3 as the console's "swan song" before kicking into the PS4, it quickly became one of the greatest PlayStation exclusives in the publisher's history. Made by the same studio behind the Uncharted series (Naughty Dog), this post-apocalyptic zombie game blended gripping survival horror with cinematic flair.
Given the game's immense technical fidelity, meticulous work was needed in its making, and Grounded: Making the Last of Us is an insightful behind-the-scenes look at its development. Grounded: Making the Last of Us is available to watch on PlayStation's YouTube channel and brings forth several of the creative team to talk about what it took to make the acclaimed title.
The history and success of video games as a medium can be traced back to arcades. Arcades have made for some memorable gaming experiences, making it a no-brainer as the premise of documentaries. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters is a documentary movie from 2007 following Steve Wiebe – the two-time Donkey Kong champion – as he attempts to achieve the game's world record.
It's an engaging concept for a movie, especially one that aims to celebrate an important piece of gaming history. For those that cherish that golden age of arcade gaming in the '80s, The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters is a must-watch.
With the rise of the video game medium came esports as a compelling form of entertainment, and Free to Play is another great choice for those that want to see the behind-the-scenes element. Like with The Smash Brothers, Free to Play is an intimate and dramatic look at the high-end players behind the controllers.
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This time honing in on Valve's popular MOBA game DotA, this movie focuses on Benedict "hyhy" Lim, Danil "Dendi" Ishutin, and Clinton "Fear" Loomis – specifically how their first International tournament affected their private lives.
Nintendo's catalog of fighting games has certainly expanded over the years, but Super Smash Bros. Melee for the GameCube arguably stands as its most famous. The publisher may not have intended for the game to develop the intensely dedicated and grassroots competitive community, but it's still going strong even over 20 years since its release.
Perhaps one of the most memorable gaming documentaries available, Travis "Samox" Beauchamp's 9-part docuseries The Smash Brothers chronicles the history of the meta scene's growth. Likewise, it also centers around seven of the biggest pro players of the time.
Triple-A blockbusters unsurprisingly demand the greatest share of the spotlight in the video game industry. Many boast grand scopes and cutting-edge technology, but that shouldn't discount the depth of quality that can be found in the indie game scene. Indie titles have some of the best receptions on PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox, and beyond, and Indie Game: The Movie is a poignant watch for those that want to know about the work that goes into making such games.
This documentary movie centers around the struggles of developer Phil Fish while working on Fez; Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes during Super Meat Boy and Jonathan Blow looking back on his efforts for Braid​​​​.
The concept of the "console wars" is one of the most infamous aspects of the gaming community online. However, the cleverly-titled documentary Console Wars shows a real-world version of the stiff competition in the industry during the '90s.
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This documentary movie shows the heated rivalry between the then-upstart game publisher Sega attempting to take on industry behemoth Nintendo. Console Wars documents the competition at the corporate level, as well as the cultural level within this sphere of entertainment.
A more recent documentary, the 2020 series High Score will be a worthwhile experience for any gaming enthusiasts interested in the classic era of the industry's evolution. It puts spotlights on the creatives behind many retro video games, including the likes of Doom 64.
High Score is a loving homage to this era of games, showing audiences the history and "making-of" for so many titles and their respective characters. As with the aforementioned The King of Kong, this is essential for fans of gaming's "golden age," but from a broader perspective.
Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters is another fun gaming documentary in the vein of The King of Kong. As the name suggests, this movie revolves around the world's greatest Tetris players. It shows how these elite players prepare for the Classic Tetris World Champion, documenting decades' worth of history.
Starting in 1990, it begins with Thor Aackerlund's record-setting victory up to when Harry Hong set the greatest "max-out" score. Much of the video game industry owes its success to what Tetris did, making this another fun "time capsule" watch.
Should players enjoy getting to know the development behind the PlayStation landmark The Last of Us, then Raising Kratos will have fans just as intrigued.
The overall God of Warfranchise has been a pillar of PlayStation since the days of the PS2 as a rip-roaring action game, but it reached euphoric new heights when the 2018 soft reboot gave the titular antihero a more personal, cinematic direction – in addition to pulsating combat. Raising Kratos documents game director Cory Barlog as well as some of the voices behind the game to show fans what went into this game's process.
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Guillermo Kurten is a journalism graduate from the University of Houston. Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, he now resides in Houston. He is a fan of pretty much anything involving nerd culture. Video games, comics, movies, TV, anime, manga, you name it. He also has experience writing about soccer, specifically, the German team Bayern Munich.


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