Earlier this week, I interviewed the director of “Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters,” a documentary about the search for the world’s greatest Tetris player. If you get a chance to watch the documentary, I highly recommend checking it out. Jessica and I both loved it (proving that it’s accessible to gamers and non-gamers alike), and it didn’t take long for us to see why it’s getting so much praise on the festival circuit.
Here’s an excerpt from my interview “Ecstasy of Order” director Adam Cornelius:
We’ve seen quite a few documentaries about video games and gaming culture over the last few years, from King of Kong to more recently, Indie Game: The Movie, and now Ecstasy of Order. Why do you think that is?
It’s becoming the dominant form of entertainment in our culture. Video games started outgrossing Hollywood as long ago as 2004, and we’re on the cusp of this wave. Not too long ago, film was looked down upon as a medium. Theater was the real thing, and literature was the real thing, but film was this tawdry, seedy thing that you wouldn’t want to put your name on. I feel like video games are coming out of a phase like that now, too. If an actor did a voice in a video game a couple years ago, he or she might use a pseudonym, but now people are proudly being a part of this stuff and it’s being viewed as a real art form.
Even though Tetris doesn’t exactly fit in with all that, right now our whole culture — including academia — is scrutinizing video games and what they mean to us, while a few years ago people were dismissive of it. That can be seen in the fact that this movie is being screened with Indie Game at an event hosted by MIT. I grew up with video games, and I feel like a gamer myself to some extent, but I feel like the people who weren’t part of that and didn’t have that experience now have this intense curiosity. Those people are starting to realize that this isn’t just a trend, it’s a part of who we are now.