Max Reload and the Nether Blasters review – eager tribute to 1980s gaming culture

This adventure-romp has a true 16-bit aficionado’s attention to detail – there’s even a cameo from the high priest of geek, Kevin Smith

A bargain-bin version of Scott Pilgrim Vs the World, this Kickstarter-funded feature debut by Scott Conditt and Jeremy Tremp has a similar video game veneration and chirpy tone. But their sci-fi/fantasy action-comedy engages more frontally with gaming culture, specifically the intersection between ye olde pixellated times and the all-streaming, all-dancing, eternally online new generation.

Max Jenkins (Tom Plumley) is a cocky online gaming hotshot who, when not rampaging around in barbarian avatar guise, works as a clerk at local emporium Fallout Games, along with fellow virtual squadmates Liz (Hassie Harrison) and Reggie (Joey Morgan). Left alone on the evening shift, he is flabbergasted when a mysterious stranger leaves a package on the counter containing a cartridge of Nether Dungeon, a legendary 80s title lost to history due to a beef between its two creators. He uploads the game for the internet faithful – unaware that its source code contains an incantation from an ancient sect with designs on enthralling (in both senses) mankind.

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