The Artists

A look at the first three decades of video game history through the stories of the designers and programmers who laid the groundwork to redefine pop culture.
Available on CBC Gem

The Artists

documentary Channel

A 10-part series based on this documentary is now streaming on CBC Gem.

THE ARTISTS is a super engaging and hyper-stylized documentary about the first three decades of the video game industry. From its beginnings as a bizarre electronic curio for kids in the early 70s, through its ubiquitous worldwide ascent in the late 90s, the medium hasn't stopped inspiring and inciting an eager audience for more than 40 years. Yet surprisingly little is known about its history — or where it's headed next.

This film tells the stories of the designers, companies and, of course, the seminal games that have transformed video game history through these eras. With global revenues estimated around $81.5 Billion in 2014, the gaming industry has surpassed all traditional media (TV, film, music) for an audience that spans generations who are seeking new digital experiences and connecting with interactive storytelling. Yet video games haven't enjoyed the same hagiography afforded to comparable mediums: we all know Scorsese, Spielberg and Tarantino, but how many will recognize the names of Crawford, Bunten or Romero? For a massive audience, video games ARE the films of the 21st century and their primary source of storytelling.  How did that happen?

THE ARTISTS investigates these issues through exclusive interviews with the designers and programmers that had front-row seats to the technological revolution that brought interactive entertainment into our homes. Featuring John Romero (Doom), Trip Hawkins (founder of EA), Nolan Bushnell (founder of Atari), Bill Budge (Pinball Construction Kit) and many others, these personal, engaging stories reveal what it was like to create games during this era. Additional interviews with gaming luminaries and historians provide context and rare personal photos that bring some of these moments to life.

THE ARTISTS unearths the human scale stories and conflicts that have gone into the making of this global economy. An energetic, witty account of this stunning artistic and business success story, THE ARTISTS is the saga of how the product from a group of young designers, programmers and entrepreneurs became such an immense, transformative cultural force.

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Stream Now on CBC Gem

The Artists

documentary Channel