I dunno whether to place this in the evo thread or here. So anyway, they showed Bang the Machine at evo, and here’s my two cents.
I thought the documentary, while entertaining for people who are already part of the scene, is not very accessible to outsiders who don’t know about fighting games. For example, it starts off with Mr Wizard taking the bus to the arcade. It doesn’t explain who Mr Wizard is, or that he is actually going to the arcade (it shows some people playing mini golf before cutting to someone else’s house). A lot of the time, it will show people talking, but have no explanation who these people are. Only someone who played fighting games would be able to follow what was going on. A narrator would have helped here.
King of Kong, Fist full of quarters, is another competitive gaming documentary, that talks about the scene for classic arcade games. It focuses on a Donkey Kong rivalry. I thought it did a great job of showing what they were all about, how intense and serious it was, and later on, in the scene where the protagonist is crying, the audience feels empathy. No one would ask “why the fuck is this guy crying” because at that point they’d understand it was about way more than just a game. Imo, a documentary about gaming should show a layperson that has never gamed before that its more than just some childish video game. Bang the Machine did kind of mention the 1 on 1 direct competition aspect of street fighter that was completely different from previous types of games, but it didn’t go deep enough into it. Maybe if they had S-kill narrate some of his passages from his Domination 101 series articles (I’m thinking of this one in particular)
I don’t think Bang the Machine accomplished this nearly as well as King of Kong did. I thought the scene between Mike Watson and Eddie Lee was intense, but the audience at that point (if they didnt follow fighting games), would not have had the kind of emotional investment they would have had with the protagonist in King of kong.
It also didn’t show very many of the matches. King of Kong showed just enough of the difficult parts of Donkey Kong (and explained very well why it was difficult) to be effective. I thought the documentary could have benefited greatly from more match footage. It captured the facial expressions and intensity of the players well, but I wish it had shown what was going on as well.