Better Than ‘Deadly Towers’ – Nintendo Quest (Film Review)

In this modern day it is a lot easier to obtain a collection of just about anything with the help of websites such as eBay, Amazon and genre specific websites. With that in mind Jay Bartlett is challenged by his filmmaker friend to find all retail release games of the NES in 30 days by visiting shops and private sellers only.

The documentary Nintendo Quest is introduced by Jay’s friend, you are given a brief history of Nintendo and a brief introduction of the games he will be collecting and the app he using to do so. There is mention of the one game he won’t be needing to find which is the Nintendo World Championship.

The film follows Jay throughout the 30 day challenge through various shops in Canada and America. What is somewhat disappointing is that there isn’t as much footage of this as there should be. Most of the airtime is actually used by director Robert McCallum presenting to the camera about the opportunity that has been given as well as explaining about some games. This gives a feel that you are watching a TV show rather than a documentary about the quest. It seems as though McCallum wants to feature heavily and that somewhat takes away the focus of Jay.


Because of this, when Jay is faced with possibly gaining one of the rarer games, the drama and suspense of the phone call in which he haggles a price doesn’t come off as tense as it probably should. Another reason why it may have been better if there was more airtime devoted to the amount of time spent in shops and haggling.

Jay doesn’t wish to discuss how much his budget is and how much he has spent on certain games, it is displayed on a little meter on the side of the screen so you can roughly guess when he is making a big spend and when he is not. Just because game collecting is so relatable it would have been a lot better if you could see what was being spent and you would have a lot emotion for him if you felt he was ripped off or got a good deal.

Some of the things that do work well for this documentary are the graphics that they use for the introduction and the ending credits as well as throughout the film. They are very reminiscent of the games in that era and the style and music do take you back and tug on the heartstrings.


The way in which they highlight the games is also good, although not all of them are shown they do pick out the most popular and rare so if you were lucky enough to own a NES or still do they you can find yourself saying I remember that one. Good little play on emotion.

This documentary will appeal to gamers and in particular Nintendo fans everywhere. It is the type of challenge that many will want to complete and although America and Canada does have a lot more retro game shops than anywhere it shows it can be done. It’s light hearted enough and flows quite well so you can find yourself watching it quite easy, but what it makes up for in that style means it is somewhat missing in the drama and suspense. A lot more footage could’ve been used and it does seem somewhat that the ‘best bits’ may be missing.

3 / 5

Dir: Robert McCallum
Scr: Robert McCallum, Jordan Christopher Morris
Featuring: Jay Bartlett, Thor Aackerlund, Syd Bolton
Prd: Michael C. Froussios, Jordan Christopher Morris
DOP: Sarah Mulholland
Music: John H. McCarthy
Country: USA
Year: 2015
Run time: 92 mins

Nintendo Quest is on Vimeo On-Demand now and available on all digital platforms from 1 December.