Back in the early days of the Xbox 360 one of my personal favorite features was the Netflix party viewing room. Basically, players could get together with their friends and simultaneously watch a movie on Netflix while their Avatar makes goofy gestures at the virtual screen. They could clap, boo, or dance in a number of different ways.
Throw in voice chat while in a party, and the viewing room eventually became a makeshift Mystery Science Theater 3000 experience. It was truly one of Microsoft’s greatest non-game creations, and like many of those it was gone too soon.
But while we may never see the likes of the Netflix party room again, Twitch is trying something somewhat similar with their Gaming Movie Night. Essentially, groups of Twitch viewers will get together to watch a series of gaming-related films – one per week from January 9th until February 20th – all the while commenting in the Twitch chat.
The first of the films has already screened, but there are still 6 more showings planned including:
- January 16: Pixel Poetry – A games-as-art documentary
- January 23: (no broadcast)
- January 30: Angry Video Game Nerd – The movie adaptation of the popular comic web series
- February 6: Gaming in Color – LGBTQ gamer documentary
- February 13: Super Game Jam: The Movie – Game development becomes entertainment
- February 20: To be announced
On paper, the Gaming Movie Night sounds like a fun idea for a number of reasons. For starters it exposes gamers to subject matters and films that they may not have heard of, and gives them an outlet to engage with like-minded people instantaneously. Twitch also promises that some of the filmmakers will participate in the chat, which adds an extra layer to the experience.
On top of that, Gaming Movie Night gives these topics the exposure they may deserve. It also increases their reach via these free screenings.
To that end, Devolver Digital, the film and game publishing company whose films form the basis of the Gaming Movie Night, are offering a 50% off coupon for any of these films. Or you can buy/rent the movies from any number of Video-on-Demand services.
While it’s unclear whether the Gaming Movie Night is the start of something new for Twitch or just a one-off treat, the idea sounds intriguing. Whether or not the films will be worth the trouble is another thing. Still, we bet plenty will be curious to see the films and have a conversation with the filmmakers.
What do you think of this Twitch Gaming Night idea? Would you like to see more communal opportunities for movie watching?
Follow Anthony on Twitter @ANTaormina