When first assigned Video Game High School, I was a bit worried. Then it dawned on me and by “dawned on me”, I mean that my editor told me, after I expressed apprehension about the piece, that he wanted to challenge me. As someone who rarely games or keeps up with it at all, honestly, I was rather nervous of how ignorant I might come off. Soon after, I had a second dawn and this one had risen all on its own. A writer is in absolute heaven while writing about topics of interest or know-how; however, it is also their duty to research so thoroughly that the writer can, well… fake it, too. On that note, I accepted the assignment with a new outlook.
Naturally, I started watching the show to begin my review and I was floored. There would be no faking what so ever; I really understood what was going on. And aside from the occasional gamer lingo I had to Google, everything was already in my lexicon. Creators Freddie Wong, Brian Firenzi, Matthew Arnold and Will Campos did an excellent job of making something as esoteric as gaming can be to some, really transcendent and enjoyable for all. VGHS shares in all the normal drama of high school depicted through a Harry Potter-inspired school, all the while expressing the single most important theme about life: to never give up, no matter the challenges presented.
VGHS is a school for the especially advanced Gamer. Set in the near future, video games have become America’s favorite pastime. Brian D (played by Josh Blaylock) gets his shot at VGHS for unintentionally killing “The Law” (Brian Firenzi) during an open forum battle in the fictitious first person shooter game “Field of Fire”. All of it is broadcast on live TV across the globe. The Law is the best player the genre has ever known. He has international fame, hot chicks “ooooohing” and “aaaahing” over him, and he is not about to let Brian D get in the way. One problem though: Brian is, not only good at heart, but very, very good at gaming. And he is about to show the school of what he is made. Jenny Matrix, played by Johanna Braddy, is VGHS’s sweet heart, the captain of the junior varsity team, and Brian is head over heels for her. Oh Yeah… she’s “The Laws” girlfriend. UH OH!
Jimmy Wong (Freddie Wong’s equally talented younger brother) plays Ted Wong, Brian D’s new best friend at VGHS and a rhythm gamer who isn’t very good, but seems to keep afloat due to the fact that (in the show) he is Freddie Wong’s son. Which is a hilarious dynamic, by the way. He isn’t a good father either, forcing Ted to live in his shadow, expressing yet another harsh reality for some who may have big shoes to fill. Ellary Porterfield is Ki Swan, Ted’s girlfriend and Brian D’s only other best bud. She is completely quirky and, not to get too philosophical on you, seems to be a representation of honesty about one’s capabilities, having acceptance, and turning those qualities into something great. And who can forget the Dean of VGHS, played by Epic Meal Time creator Harley Morenstein, who hates Brian D, but respects him nonetheless. Harley is a nice surprise, and really funny.
In the end, I really am happy to be given this assignment and it was great to be able to relate to something that originally unnerved me. I learned that great filmmakers can transcend anything into something we all understand. Awesome job guys!!! Shows like VGHS make my job easy!
By Amy Marie