Video Game High School

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Video Game High School Movie Poster Image
Quirky YouTube spin-off has gun violence and bullying.
  • NR
  • 2012
  • 124 minutes
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 12 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

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

Positive Role Models & Representations

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."

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymoviemaker201 April 23, 2013

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... Continue reading
Parent Written byMelody I. November 22, 2017

Quirky, obnoxious and oddly charming but 3rd season wrecks rating

There’s a bit of cussing and name calling, some flirting and kissing but nothing too crazy for a 12 year old. But season 3 changes get for me. There’s talk abou... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byproterminator123 April 10, 2013
Teen, 14 years old Written byJacob Fox Byers August 5, 2013

Freddiew is the best!

Being a Freddiew subscriber I was really looking forward to seeing his first ever independently financed web series I was ecstatic. This in no way disappointed... Continue reading

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?

For teenage gamers and fans of the popular web series, Video Game High School is a quirky and action-packed story. It 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.

Talk to your kids 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

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love teen stories

Our editors recommend

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

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate