Netflix's High Score
Release Date Plot, Cast, Review, Opinions
What Is Netlix’s High Score About?
The “High Score” documentary features stories and interviews with the developers/creators of early video games (1980s-1990s).
This is not the first of its kind, but it’s considered one of the best to learn more about the creative minds who make/made and sell/sold these games. Instead, High Score focuses on telling the untold stories from women, transgender, and POC of the industry.
High Score Netflix Trailer
Everything (from the show’s intro to the episodes themselves) is intermixed between animated pixel-art segments and live-action commentary. And everyone (hardcore gamers included) can enjoy the entertaining and informative subjects introduced.
You can get a look at the animation style and overall aesthetics of the show by taking a look at the intro down below.
High Score’s opening credits
Production, Release Date, and Reception
The series is narrated by Charles Martinet, who is the voice actor for Mario.
Created by France Costrel (“8-Bit Legacy”) and narrated by Charles Martinet (voice actor for Mario); High Score was pitched to Netflix with the idea of focusing on the development of video games, instead of the developers.
“Not to tell a full history, but limit it to cohesive stories of certain periods in the industry.”
It was released on August 19, 2020.
Costrel and her partner Melissa Wood produced six episodes together, starting in the arcade era and first console games then finished the transition into 3D-graphics computer games.
While the team had enough material to produce over 20 hours of content (due to the amount of video game figures ready to share their stories), they only left in the material that could appeal to all types of players.
The series was well-received by most players and journalists. High Score has a Tomatometer score of 76% based on 25 Critic Ratings, and a 48% Audience score based on 94 User Ratings.
The first episode (“Boom & Bust”) is about the creators of Space Invaders, Pac-Man, and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
The second episode (“Comeback Kid”) covers what happened in 1983 with the crash of video games and how Nintendo was introduced into America with the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System), Donkey Kong, and the Nintendo World Championship.
The third episode (“Role Players”) focuses on computer adventure and role-playing games (RPGs) like Colossal Cave Adventure, Mystery House, Ultima, and Final Fantasy.
The fourth episode (“This is War”) talks about the first console war ever to be known, between SEGA (Genesis) and Nintendo.
The fifth episode ( “Fight!”) is dedicated to the first years of esports, with the introduction of Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat. It also focuses on the 1993 Congressional hearings controversy caused by the latest and Night Trap.
The sixth and last episode (“Level Up”) concludes with the jump from 2D to 3D graphics and the revolutionary online multiplayer mode, introduced on DOOM.
Cast & Characters (Who made High Score?)
- Charles Martinet (Narrator)
- Rebecca Ann Heineman (Self – First National Video Game Tournament)
- Nolan Bushnell (Self – Founder of Atari)
- Tom Kalinske (Self – CEO of Sega America)
- Tomohiro Nishikado (Self – Creator of Space Invaders)
- Akira Nishitani (Self – Designer, Street Fighter II)
- John Romero (Self – Developer, Doom)
- Hirokazu Tanaka (Self – Sound Effects Composer)
- Ken Williams (Self – Video Game Producer)
- Gail Tilden (Self – Director of Marketing at Nintendo of America, Creator of Nintendo Power)
- Roberta Williams (Self – Creator, Mystery House)
- Akira Yasuda (Self – Artist, Street Fighter II)
- Hirokazu Yasuhara Self – Creator, Sonic the Hedgehog [Game])
- Naoto Ohshima (Self – Creator, Sonic the Hedgehog [Character])
- Dylan Cuthbert (Self – Developer, Star Fox)
- Richard Garriott (Self – Computer RPG Developer)
- Jeff Hansen (Self – Nintendo World Champion 1990)
- Doug Macrae (Self – Co-Creator of Ms. Pac-Man)
- John Tobias (Self – Designer, Mortal Kombat)
- Shaun Bloom (Self – Nintendo Game Play Counselor)
- Giles Goddard (Self – Developer, Star Fox)
- Steve Golson (Self – Co-Creator of Ms. Pac-Man)
- Tadahiro Nakano (Self)
- Chris Tang (Game Designer)
- Yoshitaka Amano (Self – Video Game Character Designer)
- Trip Hawkins (Self – Founder, Electronic Arts)
- Toru Iwatani (Self – Creator of Pac-Man)
- John Kirby (Self – Nintendo Defense Lawyer)
- Kazuyuki Koji (Self – Nakano Sagat Esports Team Player)
- Gordon Bellamy (Self – Gamer Designer, John Madden Football Video Game)
- Ryan Best (Self – Creator, Gay Blade)
- Mike Horowitz (Self – Co-Creator of Ms. Pac-Man)
- Vincent LiCausi (Self – Nakano Sagat Esports Team Player)
- Sakagami Self – Nakano Sagat Esports Team Player)
- Joe Ybarra (Self – Producer, John Madden Football Video Game)
- Anderson Lawson (Self – Son of Jerry Lawson)
- James W. Riley (Self – Creator of Night Trap)
- Karen Lawson (Self – Daughter of Jerry Lawson)
- Howard Scott Warshaw (Self – Creator of E.T.: The Extra-T)
Review & Opinions
My first thought about it is how much I love and hate that only lasts six episodes. It finishes at the right time to be desired (for more) and does not get tiring.
High Score does succeed to take us through the nostalgic journey of video games story.
And while the episode’s plots are about stories that most “gamers” know about, are the less-known insider stories that make it entertaining to players and non-players of all ages.
So far, learning about the “classics” and founding companies it’s cliché. Thankfully, they twisted it and made it a bit differently.
Slash Film: “One of the sleekest and satisfying historical accounts of the early decades of video games, even if it’s not a definitive, comprehensive account of the ups and downs of the industry as a whole.“
The Hollywood Reporter: “It’s far from Netflix’s best or most substantive doc — it’s often rather superficial and full of gaping holes.”