Video Games : The Movie

I went with a couple of dev friends to see the video game history documentary “Video Games : The Movie”, and overall had a good time, but came away a little disappointed. Taking a trip back through 80’s video game nostalgia is always fun (I love you Pacman, and I love you too Atari 2600), but it was not a well put together or organized film, and it succumbed to outrageous hyperbole throughout many of the interviews. Any film about video games that quotes Ghandi in the opening is trying too hard.

What was notable to me wasn’t what they covered, but rather what they left out. You can’t do everything justice in an hour and fourty-five minutes, but the proliferation of mobile games (even the hugely successful Gameboy wasn’t mentioned), the consolidation of AAA studios, and large chunks of PC gaming history got glazed over in favour of yet another retelling of the ET cartridge landfill debacle.

Although there were a number of women featured in the film (both players and pundits were reasonably well represented) it would have been nice to give screen time to a few notable female developers – I was particularly hoping for an interview with Roberta Williams, the superstar adventure game designer who pioneered interactive storytelling at a time when consoles were still stuck on table tennis.

Civil Tomatobedience

There’s a horrible, brutalist architecture, solid rectangle of a building on Slater St in downtown Ottawa, a main telephone switch facility for Bell that pushes its concrete slabs up against the sidewalk and has no lights or windows. It’s just a big faceless cube with stinky exhaust ports. I have no love for this building.


So I was quite surprised to discover as I was walking past that in the cracks between the sidewalk and the building there was a little seed of humanist rebellion growing – a tomato plant! 🙂 Hypothetically, it’s possible that a tomato seed fell out of a sandwich or a bird’s mouth and ended up in the crack, but I like to imagine there’s a secret society of gardeners nurturing vegetables in all of the unlivable spaces in Ottawa. It’s doing really well, too – I wonder if someone’s watering it, or if it just loves the heat and humidity off the building exhaust.