Friends, this evening I had the opportunity and pleasure to watch Not for Resale: A Video Game Documentary – which is being released to digital as well as Blu-Ray on the 11th – in fact I believe you can already rent it from Amazon Prime at this very second. Not for Resale is a 2019 documentary that was directed by Kevin J. James and while on the tin it’s main focus might be of a handful of game store owners who are seeing firsthand the changes over the years – not of the types of video games being produced exactly – but how the games are delivered and what that means for future collectors. It dives deeper though and explains how for an independent game studio – digital is sometimes the only option to produce a title and get it to the Players. I feel I need to point out that the documentary is in no way painting digital distribution as a villain. In addition, as is pointed out in the Not for Resale documentary, the norm now is of the games to exist on home consoles and PC, purchased and stored digitally only – the pushing away of any kind of physical media… but what happens if that digital collection were to suddenly cease being made available? Do you truly have a game collection of 300 titles if the provider decides one day to stop supporting said games – or disconnects the servers that house your collection?
By giving us the opportunity to hear the personal stories of the game store owners – Not for Resale reveals it has a great deal of heart. These passionate individuals from across the country have opened up their stores, not to sell brand new games but instead focusing more on retrogaming – even in the face of a shrinking customer base. In particular as Joe Santulli of Digital Press in Clifton, NJ and a co-founder of the National Videogame Museum in Frisco, TX explains in the documentary, while folks of my age might be interested in the Atari VCS or Intellivision – what is going to happen when the kids today get older? How would a fanatic of Pokemon Go 20 years from now relive that excitement – it is all digital, right?
Not for Resale: A Video Game Store Documentary does a great job of showing how the popularity of video game as a medium continues to expand – perhaps more importantly it reveals how the history of the medium is being preserved and curated for future generations. As well as shining a light on how digital inadvertently isn’t a viable delivery system for those who might be in a rural location where high speed internet isn’t so easy to come by. Which is why Control Freak Video Games in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee came up with a novel solution to help his customers and fellow gamers.
Another element of Not for Resale that the documentary focuses on with these game stores is the tapping into that powerful and IMPORTANT emotion we call nostalgia. Working at an arcade in my neck of the woods, I understand and feel strongly about how nostalgia is a good thing – I have no sibling to have experienced playing Atari’s Gauntlet with – but I did have close friends in High School that I created lasting memories with while playing the game. This is a shared connection – even if it’s not exactly the same, I understand and experience the joy at the Player’s memory as they might recall when they first encountered the game, etc.
If you are a fan of video games in general, I think you are going to quite enjoy Not for Resale: A Video Game Store Documentary. You can follow the link to the Official Site to purchase your own copy of the Blu-Ray which includes extended interviews with the likes of James Rolfe (The Angry Video Game Nerd), Pat Contri (Pat the NES Punk), Kelsey Lewin (VGHF Co-Director), Greg Miller (Lego DC Super-Villains), and Frank Cifaldi (Video Game History Foundation) to name a few. In addition there is a Director and Producer’s commentary track!