Atari: Game Over
Netflix documentary feature Atari: Game over
Even individuals who are not considered gamers by today’s standards know that the name Atari is synonymous with the birth of video games. Atari paved the road for game consoles from Sega to X Box and showed the world a new tomorrow of home entertainment. Today Atari’s games are still loved and often played with nostalgia. Yet, there has always been a bit of speculation to what exactly caused Atari’s demise. An urban legend has also haunted the company claiming millions of cartridges of Atari’s ill fated game ET, based on the Steven Spielburg smash movie, were hidden, buried away, in a landfill out west like a cursed treasure. In the documentary film Atari: Game Over available on Netflix, screen writer Zack Penn decides to go after the urban legend in an attempt to prove what is true and what is false in the history of the first game system.
The historical documentary is short but filled with interesting facts from the forming of the Atari Company, its million dollar rise, and it’s final illfated downfall. Zack Penn not only leads you on the tour but directs the film and does an adequate job of presenting the information in an entertaining way. Several shocking secrets are revealed on what it was like to work for the famous company as well as stories on the creaton of the infamous game ET, told by the creator of the game Howard Scott Warshaw. Helping Warshaw along the journey, the head of Atari, Nolan Bushnell also reveals stories from the golden years and exactly what went wrong with the creation of the ET game. Interviews with other famous game makers of today also share their knowledge and opinions. The fascinating narrative of Atari’s past will fill not only just gamers with insight, but anyone interested in the rise and fall of giants.
In between the history lessons Zack Penn, city officials, and city workers bring excitement to the documentary as they narrow down the location and then make plans to begin digging in the spot where the game cartridge treasure trove is rumored to be. Everyone including the viewer gets caught up in this quest and several self professed Atari and game nerds show up to talk about their love of the game and the console. They also share in their hopes that the urban legend is true. As you watch the film you too begin to hope they really do find the ET games as they dig through tons of garbage and earth.
It may not be a classic film you would watch on numerous occasions but Atari: Game Over is an event you will be glad you partook in. Atari: Game Over is an engrossing documentary that will make you feel nostalgic and even emotional, especially for the ET game and it’s creator Howard Scott Warshaw who unfairly became the scapegoat for the end of an era.