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10 best esports documentaries you need to watch

Documentaries are the best gateway into esports and catching up with the biggest storylines, so here’s the essential films and shows for anyone looking to jump in.
10 best esports documentaries you need to watch

Esports documentaries have become more frequent and insightful in recent years, delving deeper into the big wins, events and dynamics within professional gaming.

With the mountains of content out there however, it’s perhaps harder than ever to find the best documentaries to track down.

So where should you start? Here are some of the best you can watch right now in no particular order, spread across numerous scenes and topics. 

1. The Smash Brothers

Spanning nine episodes, this is the best and most expansive look at the early Super Smash Bros. Melee competitive scene - highlighting the game’s legends from Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman to Daniel “KoreanDJ” Jung.

It’s the personality across every aspect which is arguably its biggest strength, with the editing and interviews all possessing a lighter, comical tone to perfectly reflect the fighting game community’s DIY roots.

 

2. Free to Play: The Movie

Created by Valve, this documentary follows three players, including Danil “Dendi” Ishutin, in their bid to win Dota 2’s first ever The International tournament in 2011 - which had the largest prize pool ever for an esports event at the time.

While covering a historic moment in esports, this has also largely set the mould for future documentaries around the subject - showing the gambles and sacrifices players make for the huge wins and inevitable losses. 

 

3. Against The Odds

Covering perhaps the biggest contemporary story in Dota 2, this first esports documentary from Red Bull covers OG’s historic comeback and win at The International 2018.

This film also delves into the origins of OG, along with the complicated relationship between Johan “N0tail” Sundstein and Tal “Fly” Aizik - one of the most compelling rivalries within esports.

 

4. Team Liquid: Breaking Point

One of the best insights into conflicting dynamics, Team Liquid: Breaking Point is nearly two hours of behind the scenes footage showing post-scrim discussions and private meetings - painting a picture of the toxic environment their League of Legends squad found themselves in.

While this one is more geared towards fans familiar with the story, it’s still a fascinating watch and one of the most raw documentaries you can find about the subject. 

 

5. Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters

This documentary catalogues the journey of numerous top players toward the Tetris World Championship, and also serves as a fantastic showcase for Tetris as a competitive title.

Following the death of 7-time Tetris World Champion Jonas Neubauer, who features regularly, Ecstasy of Order is given even greater significance too. As a celebration of one of the most wholesome scenes within games, it’s a triumph. 

 

6. Fight for First: Excel Esports

Produced by the BBC, Fight for First is a unique documentary which follows UK organisation Excel’s League of Legends team - who want to bounce back after falling in last position in the prior LEC season.

It’s a rare chance to see the struggles and small triumphs of a comparatively smaller esport organisation, rubbing up against the big guns of G2 Esports and Fnatic. Peaky Blinders star Cillian Murphy also narrates the entire thing, which always helps. 

 

7. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

Alright, while it doesn’t represent esports as we know today, this documentary about competitive arcade gaming around 1981 classic Donkey Kong is an exquisite time portal with some incredible personalities.

Directed by Seth Gordon, it follows Steve Wiebe as he guns for the high score record in Donkey Kong - met with dismay and controversial videos from rival Billy Mitchell.

 

8. Live/Play Miniseries

Developed by Riot Games, this miniseries focuses on the lives of players with competitive dreams around the world, offering something slightly different to the usual esports documentary.

In fact, it’s largely a celebration of gaming as a whole and the hope it can inspire for people going through dark times.

 

9. Road to King of Iron Fist - Tekken 7 documentary

Hold Back to Block are responsible for some of the best FGC documentaries around. While there first feature film, FGC: Rise of the Fighting Game Community, is often touted as their best - their most recent feature deserves the spotlight too.

Road to King of Iron Fist delves into the huge fandom around Tekken 7, one of the best fighting games of the past decade. 

 

10. GINX Esports TV’s Icons

Where would we be without a little self promotion? If you want easily digestible insight into the biggest esport personalities around, GINX TV’s Icons series is a perfect introduction. 

The series, available on the GINX website, covers the biggest names across multiple scenes - including Dominique “SonicFox” McLean and CS:GO’s Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev.