Updated on March 31, 11:42 a.m. (GMT+8): Improved relevancy.

The world we live in now is filled with creative video games and competitive esports circuits, but the dominant presence of video games in entertainment was not something many foresaw during its earlier years.

For those who want to take a deep dive into the beginning of it all, Netflix’s High-Score, a six-part video game documentary, perfectly captures significant innovations that influenced the current state of video games.

From 8-bit Space Invaders to Sega’s 16-bit domination with the Genesis, the Netflix exclusive provides a lot of history for those who wanted to witness what it was like to see the birth of gaming.

Netflix’s High Score video game documentary immerses you in the humble beginnings of video games

Netflix's High Score, a video game documentary series
Credit: Netflix

Being born in the 1990s, I’m only able to recall faint memories of the original, non-color Game Boy and the first-ever Sony PlayStation, which was still just a 64-bit system. Being a PlayStation fanboy, I unfortunately never got to experience the original Sega or Nintendo consoles.

With the video game documentary series bringing light to the grudge match between the two gaming companies, you’ll find out interesting facts about how Sega eventually broke Nintendo’s dominance over the US market. It turns out that Sega president Tom Kalinske had a plan to defeat their rivals by labeling the Genesis as the cooler “big brother” console, creating the iconic tagline of “Genesis does what Nintendon’t.”

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While esports may now have lofty standards on viewership and production value, the birth of competitive gaming came through casual games like Tetris and Sonic The Hedgehog II.

Instead of the usual shooters and MOBAs that pitted teams against each other, the earliest competitions were about who would get the highest score. Despite the incredible differences between Sonic and a game like Dota 2, you can see how competition always came hand-in-hand with video games.

In the final episode of Netflix’s High Score, the video game documentary does touch on the beginning of PC’s online multiplayer scene through the 1994 release of Doom. With the brainchild of John Romero and John Carmack, the two programmers brought life to the Deathmatch mode and helped influence this idea that you don’t have to be right next to each other to compete.

Doom video game cover art
Credit: id Software

Even though some of the games mentioned are over-the-hill classics, it goes to show that we wouldn’t have this current image of gaming and esports that we have now if it wasn’t for these innovative minds pushing the concept to its limits before the turn of the millennium.

All of High Score’s six episodes are now streaming on Netflix.

Watch a clip from the video game documentary series below:

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