High Score Season 1 Review

August 12, 2020 at 4:36pm
By Jason Stettner

This is a Netflix Original documentary series that aims to dig into the history of video games. It’s not something that really showcases the modern era, and it’s very specific in what areas of gaming that it covers. It does hit the bigger moments, and events. At the same time, it leaves out a lot about the surrounding companies that were part of this history. It’s interesting, and I definitely learned a bit more about the industry which was good.

At the same time, I can’t help but feel some of the story selections were a tad odd. In one such situation, they bring in the incredible duo behind King’s Quest and Sierra. They don’t however talk about King’s Quest or Sierra. They show the logo, they talk about the couple. They even show gameplay of King’s Quest, but they don’t talk about it… You don’t do an RPG focused episode, and tease like that. I didn’t mind the other stories in that episode, they were interesting. At the same, you don’t tease like that.

I felt that the latter episodes were definitely better in terms of direction and pacing. The initial few episodes felt very slow, and elongated. They did have neat effects to carry the mood, at the same time it was insanely slow to get through as the pacing just wasn’t well set. It improved later on, but the entry needed to be smoother for those wanting to get in.

That’s not to say anything about the quality of the information, which was great. It’s just that you need to capture the attention of those viewing, and the first couple might put folks to sleep. You do get some real gems here though, the SEGA focused episode was splendid. The side stories, alongside the main narrative really came together in a pleasing way. I actually liked the setup here for the most part, and what the focus was for each episode.
High Score Season 1 Wallpaper
They did a good of presenting the games, gameplay and individuals throughout this documentary. They had stylized interviews, and a nice mix of historical documents. Sometimes the shots for the interviews were weirdly framed. Just some folks walking around, it was odd to see quite honestly. I thought they picked good individuals for the interview spots they had, and got some fairly heavy hitters.

At the same time, you couldn’t help but feel slightly disappointed at some name mentions, and those folks not being present for even a second or two. They did have neat little effects, those were fun to see. You had those pop up during moments such as with Space Invaders. They definitely have fun with it, and that little extra bit of presentation goes miles in making this more exciting or well visually appealing to take in.

I do feel there’s more they could do with this series, as this was a very set period of time. It was an older period of gaming, going from the start and then stopping before the experiences really started taking off in the 2000’s. Don’t expect too many modern elements aside from the slight esports moment.

The Conclusion

High Score Season 1 is an alright documentary that has fascinating facts about the start of gaming, while also having some pacing issues to it. Additionally, I won’t forgive the King’s Quest portion, it’s almost disrespectful to Roberta and Ken William’s impact on this industry.

Again, not complaining about the rest of that episode since it was well done. It’s just, a totally weird thing to showcase and then drop entirely. That was also somewhat the case of other episodes, where some points felt as though they were left dangling. I think that from a perspective of key points in the industry, this largely touches upon them very well.

The extra visual effects were fun, and they got some good interviews here. I learned some interesting information about some underserved moments industry wise, and I think the general gamer might find this to be a unique dive into the history of video games.

High Score Season 1 Review at Home with Streamed Viewing
Screening was Provided by Netflix

Rating Overall: 6.2

Gamerheadquarters Reviewer Jason Stettner