High Score, the new docuseries coming to Netflix on Wednesday, August 19th, revisits the waning days of arcade machines, the rise of the PC, and the Console Wars. It’s a perfect blend of nostalgia and nerdy trivia, akin to spiritual sibling Netflix series The Toys That Made Us. And we’re thrilled to bring you an exclusive clip to give you a sneak peek before it arrives on the streaming service!
In this clip, businessman Tom Kalinske — who had made a name for himself at Mattel, heading up their famous brands before becoming CEO of the company itself — walks viewers through his Battle Plan as CEO of Sega of America in the early 90s. His goal: To sell 1 million Sega Genesis units. His competition: A little company by the name of NINTENDO, and their domestic counterpart, Nintendo of America.
If you lived through the early days of the Console Wars, there’s a great chance you remember the upstart video game company SEGA’s bold, brash, and in-you-face marketing campaign. If you didn’t, this clip — and the episodes themselves — will make you feel as if you’re back in the 90s and watching it all unfold in realtime.
Be sure to add High Score to your watchlist now!
Here’s the official synopsis for High Score:
High Score is a documentary series about the golden age of video games, when legends – from Pac-Man to Doom – were brought to life. Through ingenuity and sheer force of will, computer pioneers and visionary artists from around the globe spawned the iconic worlds of Space Invaders, Final Fantasy, Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat, Sonic the Hedgehog, MADDEN NFL, and beyond. Without rules or roadmaps, players and innovators alike pushed the limits of money to be made, rivals to be crushed, and hearts to be won. This is the story of the brains behind the pixels and how their unmatched innovation built a multi-billion dollar industry – almost by accident.
Need a little more to go on? Here’s what you can expect from each episode!
Episode 1 / Boom & Bust:
Video games burst into the mainstream in the early 80s, with kids spending quarters faster than PacMan could eat fruit. But the nascent industry wasn’t without its share of lemons. After a few bad ideas and a lot of bad press, everyone was saying that video games were done.
Episode 2 / Comeback Kid:
Just when everyone thought video games were toast, Nintendo led a comeback. It took a fight in the courtroom, some tears in the boardroom, and a team of teens ready to sacrifice their mullets for the brand to find success. By the end of the decade, they’d be on top of the entire industry.
Episode 3 / Role Players:
Nintendo and Atari may have been household names, but lesser-known visionaries were revolutionizing the way we played. In the shadows of giants, these developers would open us up to new worlds and identities and transform the home computer into the world’s next gaming device.
Episode 4 / This is War:
Throughout the 1980s, video games found their artistic, narrative and technical strides. By the early 90s, no one could call them the provenance of dorks. The suits started to realize that video games were big business—the kind that warranted marketing campaigns, cut-throat tactics and all out [console] war.
Episode 5 / Fight!:
Nintendo’s Mario vs. Sega’s Sonic raged on, but it wasn’t the only battle going. A new fighting game had hit the market—one so epic, it sparked an arcade renaissance and established a whole new genre. Rival games followed, becoming so convincingly violent, they threatened to topple an entire industry.
Episode 6 / Level Up:
By 1993, the big-money industry built by rule breakers and risk takers was about to enter another dimension, thanks to a new generation of rogue nerds. Combining new technology and a burgeoning platform called “the web,” gaming would never be the same.
Dave Trumbore is Collider’s Senior Editor overseeing Games, Animation, and all those weird Saturday-morning cartoons no one else remembers. Test his trivia IQ on Twitter @DrClawMD