Why Gaming Set the Stage for Online Documentaries

Apr 19, 2024 | Articles, Gaming

The online world has been a godsend for documentary fans. Both in terms of the number of documentaries being produced and the ease of accessing these projects, the World Wide Web has introduced vast new levels of potential. While most of us are well aware of the possibilities the online world produces, not many of us appreciate how online documentaries became popular. It might seem odd, but considerable thanks go to the world of video games, and the contributions this industry had on the burgeoning world of online media.


Gaming Driving Technology

Video games and interactive entertainment, in general, have contributed enormously to the growth of the tech behind the online world. Back in the 90s, for example, there was a period when the game Doom was installed on more computers than Microsoft Windows. This made Bill Gates consider buying the developer id Software, eventually settling on releasing a special version of Doom developed specifically for Windows 95. In fact, Doom was the first published DirectX game, helping lead Microsoft to the eventual release of the (Direct)Xbox.

ZOMBIEMAN” (CC BY 2.0) by believekevin

Though this level of influence diminished on a technological front once the internet became mainstream around the year 2000, interactive entertainment tech still plays an important part in contemporary online popularisation. Perhaps the biggest modern example of the software-hardware connection could be illustrated by online casinos. These draw in players with bonuses like promo codes for special events which combine online and offline convenience, and mobile accessibility plays a huge part. As online casinos helped popularise betting on early PCs, they hold similar importance in smartphones today.


Video Games and Documentaries

As computers and gaming drew players to the online space, these users often found themselves at the cutting edge of what the internet could offer. MMORPGs like 1997s Ultima Online showed what mass connectivity could do, providing a path for casual users. Video content would eventually arrive to cater to this audience with funny clips and guides.

Individuals and smaller groups would prove the validity of early gaming video content and thus began an age of competition. Players eventually demanded more than just the most basic videos, craving high-quality and professionally produced content. This saw an influx of groups like GameTrailers, who branched into full-blown online journalism.

Aside from in-depth discussions of current events and upcoming releases, long-form content such as video retrospectives or documentaries then arrived finding overwhelming success. Explorations of long-running series like Final Fantasy and Metroid arrived in a market hungry for content, primed for the arrival of the exact media to satiate their tastes. Well-researched, nostalgic, and thought-provoking, these early online-only documentaries showed what was possible. In the new era of content creation, they helped set a tone, and this tone would be reflected as more people joined the online world, and broader interests were catered to.

Today, high-quality amateur documentaries are a common site on social media sites like YouTube. Covering topics like music, film, military history, and everything else imaginable, they all share similar roots in gaming. Even if you’re not a gamer yourself, it’s important to recognize the part gaming played in setting the stage for a new golden age of documentaries, which we hope is only just beginning.

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Thomas B.