From Bedrooms To Billions

Bedroom to Billions

Bedroom to Billions

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The lovely guys at Funstock sent a film my way. At first I thought it’s a little out of my comfort zone being a gaming reviewer but I soon decided to take up the challenge.

From Bedrooms To Billions is after all a gaming related product. In fact, it is a Kickstarter backed documentary explaining the history of video games from having to code in your own games, to the 8 bit era all the way to games of current times. Directed by Anthony and Nicola Caulfield, From Bedrooms To Billions is a collection of accounts from key figures in the gaming industry such as Peter Molyneux and Ian Livingstone to name but a few giving their past times of making the games that have over time become true classics.

From Bedrooms To Billions is very in depth. The game designers in this film discuss how they began being fascinated by computing from the old BBC computers with floppy discs to the relic known as the ZX Spectrum. I mean who doesn’t miss those half hour loading times with epilepsy driven stripy borders to watch! Games such as Elite, Crash and Zzap64! And of course the fabulous Dizzy games are shown. Among those featured is Mark Healey who used to work at Bullfrog (remember them) on games like Dungeon Keeper and Theme Park. Before that though he was coding, designing and arting up Commodore 64 and Spectrum games back in the late 80’s and early 90’s. There was no internet around back then so if you wanted a game, you had to build it yourself using this coding and it took a loooooong time. Sometimes games magazines came with coding inside them for your free game which I totally remember, but I wasn’t brainy enough to know what to do with them. This process attracted many inspiring game designers, few of which became hugely successful. In between the spoken parts of the film, small snippets of these games are seen in all their glory. Ahh…so many memories.

Pressing on from this old age time of computing and programming, the glory days of the Commodore 64 and Amiga is explained. The game designers express their excitement they felt when computing power grew year on year and how this opened up big opportunities of better games. Not just with graphics and gameplay but with sound as well. As a huge gaming fan, i found it very enjoyable listening to these guys detailing the feelings they experienced as they build the likes of The Last Ninja and Rambo from the ground up using the new technology that became available to them. I was unaware of the hard work involved in games that look and play so simple. For the simple minded, this film is talking all the way through so stay clear if you’re easily bored.

That being said we jump the gap that followed up to the 8-bit era of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and Sega Master System and the 16-bit era that saw true classic games like Sonic The Hedgehog and Super Mario. That huge move to the third dimension with games like Starfox, Stunt Car Racer, Midwinter and Mercenary III explained and shown. What really impressed me about From Bedrooms To Billions is the inclusion of current generation PS4 and Xbox One. This film covers a lot of games, some of which I was unaware of which certainly opened my eyes to the vastness of the games industry which has expanded big style over the years. This is one for the hard-core gaming fans…..myself included.

Pros

Nicely directed and put together

Includes footage of games covering all eras of gaming

Very in depth

Light hearted and easy to understand (no gaming spiel)

Cons

Lots of people speaking which may put off some

Game footage is nice but wanted more

Summary

From Bedrooms To Billions is an excellently put together history of video games explained by the big wigs of gaming. Explaining the troubles of programming for days of old all the way to current triple A titles of today, there is a lot of content here separated nicely by game footage. Word of warning for some though, there is a lot of talking here.