Video games have come a long way since Space Invaders and Pong. These days, games are both a multi-billion-dollar-a-year industry and a genuine cultural force, enjoyed by people of all ages across platforms ranging from dedicated gaming consoles to Facebook.
"The average age of a gamer is like 31 now. People all over the world play games competitively," says Jet Ternlund, a local game developer and board member of the Colorado branch of the International Game Developers Association. "The gaming industry has passed up movies -- it's billions of dollars in sales. Something like 56 percent of Americans play video games -- more than half. It's huge."
See also: Five games that changed my life -- from Halo to Sorry!
The ever expanding world of video games gets its close-up in Video Games: The Movie, an in-depth examination of the past, present and future of the industry and the culture that surrounds it.
"It's going to talk about the future of where gaming is going. They start off with the history of games, and how they're traditionally made and marketed, which is pretty interesting," Ternlund says. "It goes way back to the old games, Pac Man and all that, and it gets into the culture of it."
Stitching together interviews from celebrity gamers like Wil Wheaton and Zach Braff (who also was executive producer of the film) with insight from the developers and entrepreneurs behind the games, from Nolan Bushnell to Cliff Bleszinski, Video Games: The Movie is a lively, entertaining doc that offers a little something for anyone with an interest in gaming, from the hardcore console cowboy to the curious onlookers wondering "What's up with this
Harcore fans of the medium and those looking to break into the industry will have an extra reason to attend, as the Colorado chapter of the IGDA, including a number of local developers, will be on hand for a meet and greet before the film and a short reception after. Between the movie and the two gatherings, this is as close as you can come to creating video games without actually learning how to code yourself.
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The reception starts at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, July 20 at the Sie FilmCenter. The film follows at 7 p.m. For tickets and additional info, visit the Video Games: The Movie event page on the Denver Film Society website.