Available to rent and/or buy on video-on-demand platforms this week is the gaming documentary movie, GoldenEra. The film – directed by Drew Roller – details the creation and legacy of the 1997 Nintendo 64 game, GoldenEye 007.
Featuring input from gamers and industry insiders, as well as those who were instrumental in bringing GoldenEye to living rooms and back bedrooms, GoldenEra is an insightful little docu-film about the history of a gaming icon. The film discusses the highs and lows of making an award-winning game, and lifts the lid on what it was like to have the Bond license and come up with a hugely successful, must-play title.
GoldenEra looks at the game’s early days, where developers brainstormed ideas for a Bond game, through to the various challenges that came as the team started to think outside of the box. It touches upon issues that Nintendo had over the game’s violence, the excitement of seeing the title take shape, and the endless hours that went into getting the game over the finish line.
GoldenEra also goes beyond the release of the game to talk about its continued popularity today. GoldenEye may be 25 years old now (jeez, where has the time gone?), but it is still just as popular as it ever was.
New generations of gamers adore spending time with this excellent first-person shooter, and for some it has been truly life-changing. One couple who are featured in the docu-film met through their love of GoldenEye, and this has resulted in a marriage, a house, and of course, more hours spent playing the game.
As someone who played GoldenEye back in the ‘90s, but who didn’t actually own a Nintendo 64 (the only Nintendo console I’ve not owned), I have fond memories of the game, but it’s not a title I played endlessly. I only got to play GoldenEye at a friend’s house from time-to-time, so it doesn’t hold the same place in my heart as say Super Mario Bros. or Sonic the Hedgehog.
However, I believe GoldenEra to be a very interesting docu-film because it makes it clear why this is such a special game to so many others. It looks at how the game broke new ground, offered endless playability, and became one of the last, great multiplayer games that could be played in person, rather than online.
Did the film provide me with information that I didn’t know? Yes, plenty.
The art of a good documentary is to give the audience information they didn’t know, or didn’t know they needed to know, and I believe GoldenEra does that. I found it informative and easy to watch.
However, I do believe GoldenEra plays better to those who have an interest in GoldenEye or retro gaming in general. I would class this as a ‘special interest’ documentary, rather than one with broad appeal, so do bear this in mind.
But if gaming is your favourite pastime, you adore GoldenEye, or you simply want to reconnect with the ‘90s-era of games consoles, then GoldenEra is probably for you. It does exactly what it says on the tin and takes the audience back to a golden time in gaming yesteryear.