The Space Invaders: In Search of Lost Time - a feature-length retro gaming documentary film
In 1982, there were 13,000 dedicated arcade locations across North America, generating $3.2 billion dollars. By 1985, revenue had fallen 97%. Atari declared bankruptcy. Arcades closed. The Space Invaders: In Search of Lost Time is the story of arcade video games, and their second life in basements and garages all across the country.
You may have seen documentaries about various aspects of video gaming and arcades, but this film concentrates on those who collect arcade games. Anyone who dropped quarters in the early 80s knows the insane joy of Galaga, BattleZone, Asteroids and Defender. The home gaming consoles of that era brought many arcade classics into living rooms, but every kid knew there was nothing better than the full size cabinets :)
Long ago I had Stargate, Dig Dug and Moon Patrol in my living room and my roommate had Mr.Do and Zaxxon. There wasn't anything I could compare that to... except my childhood in local arcades. I was really excited to have a cache of arcade cabinets, but I knew that there were other collectors who could rival many of the actual arcades I had played in.
The Space Invaders: In Search of Lost Time website is full of great info and insight about the film and the collectors who participated in it. They collect arcade games, but their collections can be so vast they've really become arcades in themselves. Some have rec rooms, garages or basements full of glowing cabs all playing those enticing attract-mode sounds & images.
Collecting Atari, Coleco and/or Intellivision carts is one thing, but having 30 full-size arcade cabinets in your home is simply magical. I can attest that it is also a labor of love - from repairs to the fact that cabinets weigh a lot!
Filmmaker, Jeff Von Ward said, "most of the arcade game collectors I spoke with are more interested in acquiring, restoring, preserving, and passing on their nostalgia for these old games to the next generation. Theirs was a story that hadn't been told before and one that has a wide appeal beyond the collecting community."
The filming began in July, 2007 with a travel plan enabling filming in many amazing private game rooms hidden in homes around the country. The title's reference to Space Invaders is two-pronged. We all know it was one of the first games to really take off and inspire the industry, but it's secondary reference is to the massive size of the average arcade cabinet and the fact that collectors are all too happy to allow these behemoths to invade what little space they have in their homes.
The movie is screening in various locations and is available as an Amazon download. There is also word that it will be available on DVD at some point. Check out the trailer below and the Space Invaders: In Search of Lost Time website for more info about the film, it's contributors and process. Lots of great info!