Video Game High School

  • Review Date: March 4, 2013
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 124 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Quirky YouTube spin-off has gun violence and bullying.
  • Review Date: March 4, 2013
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 124 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

While occasional examples of teamwork are shown, on the whole, this movie shows frequent bullying and excessive academic competition.

Positive role models

Brian is the target of hazing as well as physical and verbal bullying, but he does not quit and practices to develop his skills so he can improve his video game playing skills.

Violence

In order to convey the excitement of virtual reality, the characters in the movie are placed in the scenes of the video games they are playing. With few exceptions, the characters are playing violent, war-themed video games in which they fire machine guns and assault rifles, as well as throw grenades and hammers. Characters are often shown being shot in the head by their rivals, and in one instance, a character is kicked off a tall building resulting in his death. In the "real world" of their high school, there is frequent taunting and bullying. The school bully punches a girl in the face. Characters are punched in their groins.

Sex

Tame kissing and flirting.

Language

Frequent language ("damn," "hell," "crap"), including from a teacher who calls a student a "punk-ass." Internet chatter scrolls across the bottom of the screen and displays "f--kin' prick." Some abbreviations for swearing, like "STFU."

Consumerism

Gamers drink Monster Energy Drink. A stock car is shown covered in advertisements for Monster Energy drinks.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A father sips wine. In a parody sequence in which an arcade is made to be like a "Rat Pack"-era casino, characters drink soft drinks out of martini glasses; one character downs his soda in one guzzle. A teacher tells kids to "take drugs."

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Video Game High School is a quirky movie centered on gaming with some realistic video game violence and real-life bullying. The action of the war games the students play is conveyed through real-time action; characters are shown firing machine guns and assault rifles in battlefield scenes, with "soldiers" often shown getting shot in the head. These aspects of the film make it best for teens and older, and will be enjoyed especially by gamers who have seen the popular web series on YouTube.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Brian (Josh Blaylock) is a below-average gamer in a society where video gaming is the most popular sport on the planet. Through a remarkable twist of fate, Brian defeats gaming champion "The Law," and is offered admission to the elite VIDEO GAME HIGH SCHOOL. He enters the school ranked at the bottom of his class, and things don't get better for him as he encounters intense competition from fellow students, screaming administrators, and angry instructors. Oh, and there's "The Law," who rules the school as Varsity Captain and will stop at nothing to make Brian's life at VGHS as unpleasant as possible. Brian makes friends with fellow misfits Ted and Ki (Ellary Porterfield), and even initiates a romance with Junior Varsity Captain Jenny Matrix, but with "The Law" watching his every move, Brian must prove that he deserves to be at Video Game High School, and that his initial victory was no mere fluke.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

For teenage gamers and fans of the popular web series, Video Game High School is a quirky and action-packed story that both celebrates gaming culture and parodies the cliques and competition of high school life, while finding room for a tiny amount of sweetness in the form of the budding romance that develops between Brian D and Jenny Matrix.

However, families wary of gun violence and school bullying will be uncomfortable with the regularity in which the two are shown in this movie. While it's technically "video game violence," the characters are placed in real-enough looking situations where they fire assault weapons at each other, hoping to score the maximum number of points by shooting their rivals in the head. The movie also treats bullying as simply a matter of course in high school rather than something that should be stopped. The quirky style of the movie makes it impossible to address these issues in meaningful ways, and so the violence and bullying leaves a bad taste in an otherwise exciting movie.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can discuss how the Video Game High School web series has set fundraising records on Kickstarter, and has reached millions of viewers in ways that would have been impossible several years ago. How does Freddie Wong and the other producers of VGHS use the tools of the internet to find their audiences and fund their projects?

  • For parents and teens who want to write, play music, or make movies, how might the example of the VGHS producers inspire you to use the internet to showcase and promote your work, and find worldwide audiences?

  • How realistic is the behavior of these high school students and school staff?

Movie details

DVD release date:May 11, 2012
Cast:Ellary Porterfield, Johanna Braddy, Josh Blaylock
Directors:Brandon Laatsch, Freddie Wong, Matthew Arnold
Studio:Vivendi
Genre:Action/Adventure
Topics:High school, Misfits and underdogs
Run time:124 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Video Game High School was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byproterminator123 April 10, 2013
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

i

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written bymoviemaker201 April 23, 2013
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Game On!!!

This has got to be the best web series ever. It's success through fan appeal has landed it in feature length on Netflix, DVD and Blu Ray, and available for purchase on iTunes. It follows no-rank gamer BrianD, an average teen who plays on the first person shooter Field of Fire. One day on an online match, he unknowingly happens upon gaming superstar and varsity captain at Video Game High School, The Law. He beats The Law, and gains instant stardom. He is then accepted into VGHS himself. When there, he meets a cast of quirky characters such as the unsuccessful son of the Guitar Hero champion, (I won't spoil the name of the champion,) the daughter of two game developers, the Junior Varsity captain Jenny Matrix, and many more hilarious people. He befriends the Guitar Hero boy Ted Wong and the game developer girl Ki Swan, as well as developing a crush on Jenny. But there are just a few problems. One, he's the lowest ranked player in the school, and once your points fall below zero, you're expelled. Two, The Law is constantly bullying him. Three, The Law is Jenny's boyfriend. This is all presented in a comedic way, and even The Law is hilarious at times. Violence: 6/10 The students play Field of Fire, a violent first person shooter game in which gamers team up and try to kill as many players on the other team as possible. There is blood, but it's pixels. Plus, even though there are many close-up headshots, explosions, and deaths, it's video game violence, so the characters don't really die. Characters respawn after being killed. Sex: 3/10 There are some innuendoes such as "What else happened backstage, Bella?" or "I have the girl of your dreams S'ing my D... Stylin' my Do." Some infrequent kissing and tame flirting. Language: 6/10 Two S***'s, (one is muttered) infrequent Hells, Damns, Ass's, and Craps. Some instances of "That sucks!" NOTE: Some references to popular video games such as Guitar Hero, Grand Theft Auto, and the ESRB rating system.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Teen, 13 years old Written byVictory Rocca January 16, 2015
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

It was amazing till Season 3, Episode 2...

I was enjoying this series so much the, POW! S3, E2 starts and i was highly disappointed. Not because the quality went down, but adult content shot up like a rocket! Before that episode there was almost no drugs, drinking, sex, and the main characters where great role models. But in S2, E3 the main characters use fake ID's to get into a restricted arcade with adult games, Brian and his friends get drunk late at night. About the violence, most of the violence in VGHS is in a game the characters a playing, and it's not very realistic, there is no blood or gore tho, they just flash and fall tho the ground. There is some bullying too. This should definitely be watched in the accompany of a parent or worthy adult for young kids and kids sensitive to this sort of material. Violence: *** Sex: ** Language: ** Drinking Drugs: ***
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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