Computer Geek Documentaries

Written by Aidy.

Having recently watched the movie Jobs (finally) after importing it on Blu-ray from the USA, I posted on Facebook asking for more "geek movie" recommendations. I've slowly been working my way through them and I thought it'd be cool to put together a list alternative computer/video game documentaries that some people may have missed out on. So here are my five alt picks in no particular order. You won't find Indie Game: The Movie or King of Kong here. I'll do another one of these for movies at some point in the near future.

 

Podfather (2009)
I didn't know an awful lot about Bob Noyce until I watched this but have since become fascinated with his legacy and influence on the whole Silicon Valley start-up culture. I've even written a song called Bob Noyce and offered a free CD at various gigs to anyone who can instantly tell me who he is without Googling. As of yet no one's claimed the CD, so watch this and if you happen to be at a future gig you'll be prepared.

He was even a mentor for Steve Jobs! 

Thumb Candy (2000)
This is one my all time favourite documentaries about the history video games. Iain Lee travels the world to gain interviews with the biggest names in gaming, including Sir Clive Sinclair and Nolan Bushnell. He even beats Miyamoto at Donkey Kong!

Clive Sinclair: The Anatomy of an Inventor (1989)
An oldie but a goodie! This was part of the BBC's Horizon series and takes an in-depth look at the life and times of everyone's favourite inventor. Made shortly after the C5 fiasco Clive talks candidly about his past and his ideas for the future.

Spectrum Diamond: The Myth and Legend of Matthew Smith (2002)
Not sure how I managed to miss this one for so long but I picked up a bootleg DVD copy from an expo last year. It was simply labelled 'Matthew Smith Documentary'. Spectrum Diamond looks at the impact that Jet Set Willy had on early gamers and the legend of the man himself via a series of interviews with fans and those that knew Smith back in the day.

Tetris: From Russia With Love
Poor old Alexey Pajitnov. Did you know he hardly made a cent after creating one of the most addictive video games of all time from behind the iron curtain? Regardless of this he seems surprisingly upbeat as he laughs and smiles throughout the documentary. This really is a fascinating watch and it's amazing to learn of the deals that were going on behind the scenes to try and secure the rights to this simple video game. It even seemed to have a slight hand in the financial downfall of Atari.