8 Best Ever Esports Movies and Documentaries

Written by B Johnson February 03, 2024
8 Best Ever Esports Movies and Documentaries
Photos Taken from Modern Combat 5
Looking to broaden your esports viewing beyond live streams? Esports has inspired countless television shows and movies in the past few years. However, it's the documentary subgenre that has produced some of the best gems. From player profiles to quirky explorations of the weirder side of esports, there are plenty of viewing options. Below, we pick out 8 of the best.

8. Free to Play: The Movie (2014)

Back in 204, esports was still largely considered a novelty. Nonetheless, Valve wanted to show the human talent behind the scenes. Free to Play: The Movie serves as something of a profile piece, following the journeys of three pro-level Dota 2 players as they get ready for their first-ever appearance at The International.

7. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (2007)

People have been playing competitively since the days of the arcade. This charming documentary delves into a rather niche corner of video gaming, keeping the camera on Donkey Kong obsessive Steve Wiebe as he aims to land the highest score of all time. Despite a limited theatrical release, this documentary was warmly received and earned several best documentary awards.

6. Rise of the Esports Hero (2013)

Evil Geniuses are the subject of this documentary. Today, they're one of the most successful League of Legends teams of all time. However, this decade-old documentary shows the team in its infancy. In 2013, professional esports was still an emerging industry and this documentary doesn't pull any punches when it shows the uphill battle faced by players of yesteryear.

5. State of Play (2014)

StarCraft is one of the oldest esports titles around, while South Korea is often considered the originator of esports as we know it. State of Play explores both, offering captivating insights into a corner of competitive gaming many audiences might not have considered. The documentary makers choose to focus on three players at different points in their careers. There's a veteran star who's been playing professionally for many years, a new signing joining the ranks of an established team, and a diehard fan who dreams of turning his passion for StarCraft into a career.

4. Ready Up (2022)

At 41 minutes long, Ready Up is one of the shortest documentaries on this list. Produced by BLAST, this Counter-Strike: Global Offensive documentary follows a handful of the biggest names in CSGO, including Nicolai "device" Reedz and Finn "karrigan" Andersen. As well as providing fans with real insight into what goes on behind the scenes, this documentary serves as something of a time capsule. It was produced in the immediate aftermath of COVID-19. For many of the players featured, this was the first time they were returning to live competition after tournaments largely moved online in 2020. Want to see how karrigan and device are currently doing? Head to www.1337pro.com/en/csgo/match-scores to find out.

3. Focus (2010)

Street Fighter rarely gets a look at major esports tournaments, but this classic beat 'em up franchise makes for solid subject matter. Focus follows Mike Ross, an American esports player who's gearing up for his biggest tournament yet. It's a pretty intimate portrait of Ross, with the director taking a no holds barred approach.

2. The Celebrity Millionaires of Competitive Gaming (2015)

When it comes to documentary productions, Vice has a reputation for covering the weird and wonderful. The Celebrity Millionaires of Competitive Gaming is no different, with the documentary crew temporarily relocating to South Korea to explore the world of League of Legends esports. There are a few cautionary tales here, but for the most part, it's a celebration of the players and fans that have helped this industry flourish.

1. Breaking Point (2016)

Breaking Point follows the Team Liquid League of Legends lineup. This documentary might center on a few key players, but it's a snapshot of a particularly volatile time for Team Liquid.

Behind-the-scenes dramas and a run of poor performances meant there was a very real threat of Team Liquid disbanding. What makes this documentary so unusual? Despite being a less than flattering expose, it was self-produced by Team Liquid themselves.
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