High Score

TV review by
Matt Cabral, Common Sense Media
High Score TV Poster Image
Nostalgia-brimming binge for gamers of a certain age.

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 2 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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. 


Video game violence, sometimes graphic, is depicted in later episodes. 


A reference to "hooking up" is made.


"S--tless" and "crappy" are used.


While focused on older games and gaming platforms, the series is a celebration of video games -- a hugely profitable industry driven by consumer dollars.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Kid, 11 years old August 5, 2021

So good for all ages and family friendly.

I watched it and it’s good. May have violence.
Written byAnonymous June 2, 2021

Good for older gamers

It's quite the interesting, just wish it had no swearing in it or excessive violence, e.g., someone's head being punched OFF.

What's the story?

HIGH SCORE is a six-part docuseries tracing the history of classic video games, from the creation of classic arcade cabinets in the late '70s to the popularity of the first-person shooter genre in the early '90s. On top of featuring a number of in-depth interviews with industry professionals, the series profiles several adult fans who competed in sponsored game tournaments when they were kids. Archival footage and classic commercials are used extensively, as are reenactments, which have been adorably crafted to look like old-school video 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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how video games have changed. How has the medium's technology advanced to produce more realistic experiences? What age and audience are video games aimed at today compared to who they were made for in the '70s and '80s? What different types of games are available today that weren't back then?

  • What are the various roles of the industry professionals who are featured? What career paths are available in video games today? What are the pros and cons of pursuing a career based on a favorite hobby?

  • How has professional gaming evolved over the years? Is playing video games professionally a viable career? What sort of education and training is required to pursue a career in esports?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love video games

Character Strengths

Find more TV shows that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

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.

Learn how we rate