A word of warning about High Score episode 2. I didn’t find it as entertaining or engaging as episode 1. In fact, the episode was so uninteresting to me that I’m reconsidering my effusive praise after the first episode. I appreciate that they’re trying to mix lesser known stories with the history that we probably all know. However, something was missing from that mix in episode 2.
I’m not entirely sure what went wrong. I can say for certain that one big name was missing from the episode. As far as I saw, there was no mention of Sega. I assume that’s because they are waiting to give Sega their own episode. I thought they might start with the Sega/Nintendo rivalry. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.
Jeff Hansen – “I’ve Seen This Story Before, But Better”
High Score episode 2 follows the same formula as episode 1 in at least one way. They chronicle Jeff Hansen through his experience as a competitor in the first Nintendo World Championships just like they did Rebecca Heineman in her pursuit of Space Invaders glory. But, here’s where the theme of the episode comes into play again.
His story just wasn’t as interesting as hers. They tried to play him out as an underdog. He didn’t advance in his first attempt and then he had to travel to Tampa Bay for one “last chance”. But, he just wasn’t as much of a personality as she was. It was just weird overall to follow up with almost the exact same storyline only not as interesting.
Gail Tilden – “Dragon Lady”
I had a feeling that I might not enjoy this episode as much when they first introduced Gail Tilden. She worked in some department or another for Nintendo. Advertising, maybe? Who the hell knows. She was titer testing wine in her first scene. Yeah…
But, they pulled off the seemingly impossible. Even after I rolled my eyes so hard, I thought they might get stuck there at her introduction, they made me sympathize for her. Granted, it is probably just my personal bias against even casual misogyny. However, one of the guys called her the “Dragon Lady” and then they showed her as overbearing and intimidating. *sigh*
Shaun Bloom – “Nintendude”
Speaking of Nintendo Power, before the magazine, there were the Nintendudes. That wasn’t their actual name, but that’s a missed opportunity for sure. In my opinion, the most entertaining part of the episode was the story of Shaun Bloom. Shaun is just an entertaining guy.
I mean, he lived during a time before streaming and YouTube influencers. It was a time of, “Dude, I can get paid to play video games!” I mean, there’s still some of that, but it was truly a time where such a career path was enough to blow your mind. And, Mr. Bloom played that part perfectly. Even if you don’t watch the rest of the episode, definitely fast forward for his part.
Super Mario is everywhere (But where is Miyamoto?)
One of the major complaints that I have about episode 2 is that Shigeru Miyamoto plays only a minor role. I get that they are trying to focus more on some of the lesser known stories in video games. However, if you are going to use Mario to sell the episode, you have to give his creator more than just a passing mention.
Look, I get that you are probably still “Yeah, but”ing me. And, that’s fine. Everyone has a big but. We can talk about your big but. My big but is “But, having Miyamoto in the episode more would have made it infinitely more entertaining.”
The Verdict – High Score episode 2 makes me less excited to watch the rest of the series
I was very high on this series after the first episode. It was just the right amount of information and entertainment. Episode 2 fell off a bit for the reasons I listed. I’m still going to give it a second, third, and however many more episodes there are, chance. It’s just too tempting to not watch. I especially want to see if they do an episode on Sega since they missed the opportunity to talk about the great console wars of that time. Join me in a couple of days for episode 3!