I’m going to be upfront about this review: Go out and watch it however you can.
Ten out of ten.
Nintendo Quest is a documentary film about Jay Bartlett and best friend/filmmaker Rob McCallum as they embark across North America in search of all 678 officially licensed Nintendo video games. If that sounds like a Herculean task all on its own, there’s also a thirty day cutoff and a strict no online purchases caveat to the film that, towards the end, really gives this quest stakes the likes of which can only be found in a film like Mission: Impossible.
While there is the required “History of Nintendo” segment of the movie, this documentary is not really about Nintendo at all, but the games that the company put forth and how they have impacted Jay’s life. You find out exactly why old NES games are important to him and why they deserve respect in the modern field of video games. On top of that, to me, this film really breaks the stereotype of the nerdy collector with a basement or bedroom full of “stuff”.
It’s easy to discredit someone’s collection. I know that I have made fun of the “keep it in the box” mentality a lot of collectors have, while having that same mentality myself. But with this film, you see exactly what went into these games, their rarity, and impact upon, not just collectors, but on the video games industry as a whole. For without Nintendo, we wouldn’t be play XBOX One or PlayStation 4 today.
This is a hard film to review as I think you have to really get into it yourself and see how it plays out. What I will say is that this film really lets you know Jay Bartlett as a person and where he comes from, and to a certain extent, what makes him tick. Sure, Nintendo games aren’t the only important things in his life, but seeing as how they (seemingly) are a foundational memory for him, you can really see how they made an impact on him to this very day.
On top of that, the message of this film is kind of tricky. Collecting all 678 Nintendo games was a lifelong dream of Jay’s and this film really lets you know that whatever your dream may be, no matter how big or small, you should just go for it. This film let me know that it was okay to be a collector. It let me know that those things that you love, be it comic books, horror movies or action figures, you owe it to yourself to dive head first into that world and allow yourself to play in it when you can. Because while we get older, those old treasure we loved as children, will always be there for us.
Plus, it was fun watching Jay and Rob haggle store owners over prices.
If you’re interested in seeing this film, you can find it here.