Arcade Attack: Silverball Heroes verses Video Invaders is a very strange short film. Part documentary, part animated sci-fi fantasy, this mini-movie also shines a light on technological obsolescence. Arcade Attack is entertaining, odd, and surprisingly thought-provoking, complete with a totally awesome synth score. It’s a little gem of a picture.
Arcade Attack is a UK production from 1982. It aired on HBO back in the day, acting as filler during the downtime between full-length movies. The short has a couple of connections to punk rock: It was produced and directed by Mike Wallington, who co-directed Dressing For Pleasure, a 1977 documentary on British folks with a rubber fetish (we told you about it), which greatly influenced punk fashion; the Arcade Attack animators, Phil Austin and Derek W. Hayes, worked on the animated sequences for the Sex Pistols movie, The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle.
Arcade Attack is strange from the get-go, with an unsettling opening that features a laughing mechanical dummy amongst a collection of old-timey games in an empty arcade on a lonely pier. This is followed by the peculiarly animated (but also super-cool) sci-fi title sequence, before settling into a standard documentary format—or so it seems. A pinball vs. video games narrative develops, with whizzes on both sides showing off their skills and talking about why one form of gaming is better than the other, but something just feels a bit off. Two-thirds of the way through, it shifts gears again for an animated showdown that really needs to be seen to be believed. It’s better first-time viewers don’t know much more about Arcade Attack—and I’m not going to be the one that spoils it for you.
We’ll leave you with an impressed IMDb user:
I was totally flabbergasted and so was the friend who showed me the documentary, who was under the impression it was a timepiece documentary on arcade games. But it was so much more. It turned into an unbelievable trip. Go watch it…NOW.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Vintage Photos of Rockers, Punks, and Pop Stars Playing Pinball