A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Positively depicts evolution of video games, plus the medium's popularity and beneficial impact it has had on its fans and professionals.
Positive Role Models
Racial- and gender-diverse cast of interview subjects. Focuses on a number of individuals who achieved their dreams of working in -- or professionally competing in -- video games.
Violence & Scariness
Video game violence, sometimes graphic, is depicted in later episodes.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A reference to "hooking up" is made.
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"S--tless" and "crappy" are used.
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Products & Purchases
While focused on older games and gaming platforms, the series is a celebration of video games -- a hugely profitable industry driven by consumer dollars.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that High Score is a docuseries that explores the history of classic video games. While it touches on some of the scandals and speed bumps the medium has overcome, the show is generally a celebration of the popular pastime. Violence is restricted to in-game depictions but can be graphic, especially in episodes focused on fighting and shooting games. Profanity is infrequent, limited to the words "s--t" and "crappy." Some mature subjects, such as drugs (weed) and sex ("hooking up") are referenced, but not detailed. Featured interview subjects represent diversity in both race and gender, including a transgender person who benefited mentally from their love of games.
Is It Any Good?
This series attempts to chronicle the history of classic video games in a way that's as informative as it is entertaining. And it mostly succeeds, offering an absorbing mix of in-depth interviews with industry luminaries and profiles of lesser-known pro gamers who were competing long before the esports industry existed. Whether you're curious about the genesis of Sonic the Hedgehog, the history of Nintendo's famed game counselors, or how role-playing games transformed from text-based adventures to sprawling, open-world epics, you'll find High Score is as addictive as Tetris. That said, the explored history -- beginning with the creation of quarter-munching classic Space Invaders -- will appeal most to fans who spent their formative years in mall arcades or at home, tethered to a Nintendo Entertainment System. Younger gamers expecting Fortnite tips or interviews with their favorite streamers will probably want to stick with YouTube.
The greatest compliment we can heap on High Score also points to its biggest flaw: We wish it was longer. Rather than concluding with the rise of the first-person shooter, why not take us into the 2010s and beyond? And while a second season would address our longing for more episodes, it likely won't fill the current one's gaps. As entertaining as the series is, it's far from comprehensive. The segment on Electronic Arts founder Trip Hawkins, for example, is fantastic, but without mention of his post-EA ventures -- including the creation of his own game console -- it feels a bit too cherry-picked. High Score doesn't deliver a complete, comprehensive history of video games, but it's still a nostalgia-packed blast that gamers "of a certain age" will eat up like Pac-Man pellets.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.