Title: Break The Game
Director: Jane M. Wagner
Starring: Narcissa Wright
MPA Rating: Not Yet Rated
Runtime: 1 hr 20 mins
What It Is: After coming out as trans, world-record-holding gamer, Narcissa Wright loses her massive fanbase. To win them back, she sets out to break a new record in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and live-stream every minute of her quest.
What We Think: What an incredible, personal story of change – silencing the demons that try to plague one’s character. Not only does this documentary unveil the cruel underbelly of online streaming and its toxicity, but also showcases the love brought on from video game fandoms, streaming communities, and personal connections that were made along the way – finally culminating in a heartfelt journey through tears and pixels.
The story of Narcissa Wright begins and progresses with her realizing significant changes in her life, from the moment she comes out to the world and to an important moment of realization she has later in the documentary. Insight into her life also provides insight into the life of an online streamer, the time spent broadcasting for an audience who tunes in sporadically but sometimes increases in insane numbers. She’s a speedrunner, which means that countless hours are dedicated to playing a certain video game over and over again, finding cracks in its gameplay and utilizing it to assist the player in completing the game as fast as possible. An interesting duality, considering how long it takes to be speedy.
The majority of the documentary stays within the Twitch dashboard/web browser, offering us a barrage of clips from Narcissa’s streams throughout her journey. While giving us a glimpse into her hardships, there are an excessive amount of these clips that may be demanding to process for some viewers who are new to the online gaming scene (those of game footage and the like). It gets more intimate through artful transitions depicting her struggles in 16-bit Zelda inspired pixel art (to great effect), and the footage shot outside of her streaming studio in attempts to delve into her life outside of the computer screen.
Our Grade: B-; There’s a powerful message that pulsates through all of this that will appeal to those who have suffered through similar abuse both online and off, and will highlight the massive impact Narcissa’s story has had on the speedrunning community. Check this one out if you’re at all familiar with speedrunning – you may be swept away by what the documentary is really about.