Ever wonder what it would be like to live in a videogame?
Obviously, the people who made Press Start have. In fact, they seems to have spent a lot of time thinking about it. Like everyday. Several hours a day.
Probably every minute that they weren’t actually playing videogames.
It would be a mistake, though, to compare it with Wreck-It Ralph, where the arcade game players hang out together after hours, go to support meetings and generally act like ordinary people with an unusual job.
In Press Start, we instead have people living their placid, everyday, suburban lives in a world where ninjas, monsters, and strangers delivering notices informing you that you’ve just leveled up are all routine.
There are a lot of references to 8-Bit and 16-Bit Nintendo games and, although there are references to other more modern games like Halo, the movie does seem to be set in the world of those classic Nintendo offerings. There are cameos from Mortal Combat stars Dan and Carlos Pessina, and music by videogame composer Jake Kaufman. We even get one of those familiar maps showing the characters moving through the various levels of the game and a few cameos from the videogames ), but it’s all done on a low budget, with mostly routine settings, often unrealistic effects (which, yes, seems very appropriate) and acceptable if hardly stellar acting.
The story is very familiar, which only seems fitting. Young Zack Nimbus, our hero, sets off on a quest with two more powerful and experienced characters, a Ninja warrior and a hard-bitten space soldier. As we expect, there’s a powerful Evil Leader for them to overcome (although he is also rather inept and a bit unfocused on his evil work); a sinister plan for them to overcome, complete with the usual powerful relics; a new card game everyone insists on playing wherever they go which the game they are in is obviously trying very hard to promote; and a convenient merchant who has a store everywhere they go, even the dungeons.
It is light-hearted, silly at times, and frequently funny, even for those of us who don’t remember every game reference.
In fact, it’s a pretty good DIY basement film that’s bound to please the fan boys because it was made by — and for — them.
Just remember, you need to eat the moldy old food you find behind the dungeon walls, if you want to rebuild your strength…