The history of video games is full of stories and people you’ve never heard before. Who created Space Invaders? Who was the first esports champion? What was the first game to include skin color? High Score, a new documentary series from Netflix and Great Big Story, explores the first era of gaming and zooms in on the moments that shaped today’s billion-dollar industry.
But the most significant thing about High Score isn’t just its accessible storytelling (with amusing 16-bit style re-enactments). It’s that High Score brings an overdue spotlight to gaming’s pioneers whose stories were almost lost to time. That many also come from marginalized backgrounds illustrates how much video games have always been made by — and played by — people of all colors and identities.
“There’s no shortage of amazing stories when it comes to the people behind video games,” series director France Costrel tells Inverse. “A lot of games were created in reaction to current events. As an art form, we used games to convey a bigger message.”
“As an art form, we used games to convey a bigger message.”
“We wanted to be inclusive,” says showrunner Melissa Wood. “Of course there are stories people know, like Nintendo and Sega, and we approach those with fresh eyes. But creating video games is so much more complex. We’re not telling the A to Z of video games. We approach games more from the perspective of people who created the medium.”