Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade


Documentary /

IMDb Rating 7.1


Downloaded 293 times
3/24/2020 5:44:08 PM

90 min
P/S 1 / 0

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by ElijahCSkuggs 9

I don&#39;t know what it is about these Video Game docs, but they entertain at really high levels. The King of Kong was a fantastic one driven by two amazing characters who excel at Donkey Kong. And with Chasing Ghosts it gives us a closer look into the lives of the past arcade champions.<br/><br/>In Chasing Ghosts you get to understand the intricacies of attaining a perfect game in Pac-Man, &quot;realizing&quot; that Missile Command was the manliest arcade around, discovering that some high scores are folly when it comes down to playing a certain game fairly, and even that Arnold Schwarzeneggar attained all his money by being a drug-dealin whore....I kinda had hunch about that one though.<br/><br/>Chasing Ghosts succeeds in many fashions, but the two that spoke to me most was seeing how good they actually were. There was one guy who was just flat out sick at Centipede. If you&#39;ve played that game, you know how simple it seems to be, but when watching this dude play it&#39;s utterly jaw-dropping. And the other aspect that was truly memorable was hearing the background story to each of these gamers lives. Some had very tough roads, some didn&#39;t. Friendships were made, and some were lost. Celebrities on TV shows one day, nothing the next.<br/><br/>With a combination of great footage of the classic era and the portrayal of a plethora of unique personalities, this is yet another fantastic documentary on video gaming. Definitely see it if you enjoyed The King of Kong or if you have any interest in gaming at all.

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Reviewed by StevePulaski 8

Arcades are after my time, unfortunately. My only experience for years had occasionally been the scarce surviving ones that existed in those ma and pa pizzerias or in some local food shack that eventually removed it for whatever reason. They were the stereotypical &quot;Mrs. Pac-Man.&quot; For years I never thought I&#39;d play a game other than one that has become so iconic and archetypal you could almost visualize and play it fluently in your sleep.<br/><br/>Then came an arcade a close friend told me about a summer around two years ago. It was $15 to get in, and after that, &quot;you&#39;re on your own,&quot; he told me. What he meant was there was a bright red button visible on most arcade machines that warranted a &quot;free game&quot; and all machines were rigged so that the button would be in effect. The second you walked in the place, you felt overwhelmed by the conglomerate of colorful, captivating electronic machines that offered cult favorites, such as the &quot;Pac-Man&quot; and &quot;Donkey Kong&quot; line of games, and those that went under the radar, &quot;Elevator Action&quot; (one of my new favorites) and even &quot;TRON,&quot; based off the 1984 groundbreaker. The palace even featured tabletop arcade machines, newer machines housing the &quot;Marvel vs. Capcom&quot; and &quot;Street Fighter&quot; series, and provided their customers with a refreshment or an energy drink at little cost. It was a paradise I&#39;m now itching to revisit just be typing this.<br/><br/>If that is the closest I come to a true arcade experience, then by God it was beautiful. On to the documentary at hand, Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade is a wonderfully engaging documentary that presents its subjects, arcade junkies with high scores on numerous games, with care and attention. Some of the faces we are acquainted, or even reacquainted with if you were fortunate enough to see The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, are Billy Mitchell, the &quot;Mrs. Pac-Man&quot; champion with a slick mullet, Joel West, possessing a high score on &quot;Berzerk,&quot; Chris Steele, the king of &quot;Centipede,&quot; Kent Farries, who painstakingly mastered &quot;Donkey Kong&quot; and &quot;Space Invaders,&quot; and who can forget the referee of it all, Walter Day? We are told early in the documentary that the video game capital of the world is a place called Ottumwa, Iowa, which housed the Twin Galaxies arcade center where all these champions would hang out for afternoons on end and play their favorite games. Day declared himself the authority of video gaming high scores, saying the score would be official in his book if you achieved it on one of his prized machines. Day went on to publish a well-over seven-hundred page book, which he is shown writing here, that compiles the high scores on video games throughout years of playing. If he ever recovers from such a monumental effort, I&#39;d love to hear how much money in quarters those hunks of metal made.<br/><br/>The most charming thing to hear from these indelible greats was probably their little tricks and primitive thinking that would go on to be pretty foreign to today&#39;s audiences. Chris Steele goes on to talk about how him and a friend would discover tricks such as the &quot;double tap&quot; on arcade machines, by placing a pencil&#39;s ends on two buttons and tapping the middle of the pencil back and forth, so as to hit the buttons at a rapid rate. Him and his friend would also label their high scores under the obviously ambiguous name of &quot;WIZ,&quot; and remark with wit and humor how the question, &quot;who is &#39;WIZ&#39;?&quot; would come up often in the arcade. It&#39;s the subtle, little welcomed things that we will miss from these establishments.<br/><br/>What struck me as a greater surprise was to discover how short of a lifespan arcades actually had. They were accompanied by a sudden rise in popularity in the 1980&#39;s, but by the later end of the decade, they were then met with the look of distaste. Home-gaming, made popular by Atari, but mainly Sega and Nintendo, was advancing in not only consumer-familiarity and recognition, but also stylistic and graphical attributes. Games became brighter, more vivid and fleshed out, as apposed to the redundancy of many arcade games. Not to mention, once you paid the flat rate, you could freely stay home, go to the bathroom, get something to eat, and pause your game without the fear of something happening. The moral here is that time makes you bolder, children get older, and I&#39;m getting older too.<br/><br/>NOTE: Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade was released to video on demand outlets two weeks ago, but Hulu is offering the documentary in its entirety free of charge, Starring: Billy Mitchell, Walter Day, Joel West, Chris Steele, and Kent Farries. Directed by: Lincoln Ruchti.

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Reviewed by changedname 7

I agree with jfgibson73, at times it just seemed like all these guys clapping each other on the back and laughing. I thought The King of Kong had a bit more too it, and not just because of the sensationalising of parts of that movie. I had many suspicions over the accuracy of The King of Kong, it&#39;s normal for documentaries like that to exaggerate and I was aware at the time that there was probably no &quot;maliciously taking apart his machine&quot; etc.<br/><br/>I expected this to be better than King of Kong, but it just didn&#39;t hold the same interest for me. I think Walter Day came off better in The King of Kong, here he seemed a bit almost regretful of the time he&#39;s spent in videogaming. I think they were leading Mr. Awesome to say things, then cutting him off before he had a proper chance to explain what he meant. <br/><br/>The King of Kong glamourized the whole thing a lot more, like the guys maliciously breaking in seemed almost like something the FBI or KGB would do, you know, something that was extremely serious business. I think the whole &quot;That&#39;s Amazing&quot; world championship, for example, was lame and way too long. I mean it&#39;s segments like that that give videogaming a bad name. It also didn&#39;t help that some of them said they completely gave up videogames after their teens. There were some cool things about it, such as the guys showing their houses, collections, families, etc.<br/><br/>Overall, it was a bit like playing a couple of games at once without getting a chance to get into any of them too well. It was plot less and there was no excitement or &quot;outcome&quot; at the end, it was alright.

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