ASCII by Jason Scott

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Missing in Action: 8-Bit Generation Documentary —



UPDATE: Please read this later entry for update on this documentary.

I’m putting this here to get some attention.

There’s a documentary in production, or which was in production, which was a mini series about all things 8-bit consoles and computers. It’s called “8 Bit Generation”. It has trailers up. The trailers are fairly incredible.


These trailers are so nice looking, so well shot, so beautiful and so filled with KILLER interviews, I nearly quit documentary filmmaking when I saw them – someone was doing things a billion times better than I could ever do. I emotionally recovered.

These fellows traveled the world and got all sorts of amazing subjects. Among the ones that blew me away was an actual interview with Jack Tramiel. I’d tried – he’d turned me down. And he’s gone, people. This interview they have is it.

So, in 2011 they put up a trailer, and some of the music they had wasn’t cleared, so they took those down and put up new, cleared trailers. Good enough, although that does mean a lot of articles on them point to the missing Vimeo links. But rest assured, things were looking good. They had a website, you could order stuff, you could see how they were going to have a deluxe version (which I ordered) and a whole bunch of features.

This thing looked AWESOME.

And then, poof.

Here’s the website as it used to look. It’s gone now.

They are missing in action. Totally gone. The domain has a year to expire, but there’s no website for it.

Zoe Blade, who has done a bunch of soundtrack work with me, did the soundtrack work with the documentary as well. She’s gone ahead and put the Soundtrack Album up for sale. Take a listen, it’s fantastic stuff.

Now, I’m a realistic guy. I deal with people working on documentaries for years and there’s ups and downs the whole way. It’s kind of The Deal. One of the facts is everything takes longer than it should – the making, the editing, the packaging, the finishing. It just does.

I keep track of a few dozen projects out there. Some take a long time, some go dormant, some live again. I got it.

But this one… this one was special. Unique interviews with unique people. This was going to be a blockbuster.

Guys? Everything OK? Need help?

UPDATE: Through various channels, I am told that the current situation is one edited episode and some potential financial issues with getting the film done. I continue to offer my support in finishing this film, and wish the producers the best in bringing the project to fruition.

Categorised as: computer history | documentary

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  1. Chris Sanyk says:

    I’ve been wondering what became of that project! I almost pre-ordered it, but then figured I’d just wait til it came out, then order it. I’m glad I didn’t lose my money, but I really hope the project didn’t get lost. The people working on it deserve to have their work completed, and we deserve to get a chance to see it, or even just the scaffolding of what it almost was if completion isn’t possible. I really hope this project gets salvaged somehow.

  2. I *did* pre-order it, hoping to support a nice project…sad that it’s MIA. Live and learn, I suppose.

  3. Peter Landers says:

    I preordered too, after Jason pointed it out on Twitter. They sent out an email back at the end of February announcing a delay “not past the end of April” due to several more great new interview subjects that had just come on board. Needless to say, there’s been no news since. I tried contacting the person who sent that update a few months back and never got a response. I’m still an optimist, mainly because I REALLY want to see this film, but hope is fading…

  4. maxCohen says:

    Thank you for this post. Tried a couple emails this Fall asking when the DVD would be back in stock and never heard from them. Maybe they got lost in Germany? –

  5. I still play with 8 bit stuff, Commodore 64 and an Atari 2600, Real hardware for real peeps!! No emulator funky stuff here. No way mister!

    Would love to see this completed, I would be in for a copy for sure!

  6. Jason says:

    Sounds like they just need to release what they have….. lots of HN folk would buy this immediately! …. then, with money raised, polish it further for a DVD release or something

  7. Sadly, I was worried about this back in June last year ( This really would have been something I would have watched over and over.

  8. lizardb0y says:

    I contacted Tomaso Walliser, owner of Junk Food who are the producers of the documentary, by email back in August when I started to hear of people receiving refunds. I got no response. I believe that the refunds were automatically issued by PayPal when the documentary failed to ship by a certain date. I have received no refund, and spent quite a lot of money on the BluRay collectors edition.

    The web page is still there, but offers no useful information.

    The email address with which I have previously corresponded is tomaso dot walliser at junkfood dot it

  9. danwroy says:

    Looks like a beautiful, hi-def version of Triumph of the Nerds.

  10. I did receive refund in August. Am I the only one?

    Sad story.

  11. joetech says:

    Damn you for showing this to me and then announcing it’s 404-ness. I really want to see this.

  12. Ken Gagne says:

    I preordered this documentary and also got the “we estimate a delivery date not beyond April 2012, hopefully sooner” email from Tomaso Walliser on Feb 26, 2012. None of my emails since then have been acknowledged. Robby Boey on Twitter told me the documentary has been cancelled and refunds issued (he got his in August), but I never got one.

    Walliser is on LinkedIn and we have a connection in common, but my email to that person also went unacknowledged. I don’t blame him for not wanting to get in the middle of this.

  13. peder says:

    Why who you show this, now I’m depressed that I can’t order it 🙂

  14. Kristian says:

    As many others here, I did preorder the documentary, and never seen any refunds. sucks bigtime.

  15. Simon M says:

    It will be a tragic waste if this never sees the light of day. If a commercial release isn’t viable, then it would be great if it were somehow possible to acquire the footage, do a best-effort to edit it together into something coherent and release it online. I’m sure a Kickstarter would raise enough cash to achieve that.

    Well done, Jason, for raising this; Let’s hope the mystery can be unravelled and something good come of it.

  16. Simon says:

    Yes you probably are.. I have not recieved a refund

  17. Simon says:

    I have mailed them 4 times this year without any reply. It seems like they have taken our money and vanished

  18. iPadCary says:

    Now *this* is a documentary *you* should have done, Jason.

    The BBS & text adventure ones are masterpieces, to be sure!
    But a billion & one documentaries’ve been done about arcades in one form or another — can you say “The King Of Kong”?
    But the 8-Bit era ….
    *That*, as Brits are so wont to say, is right up your street ….
    Just sayin’ .

    • Jason Scott says:

      That is a delightfully ignorant assessment of what I’m doing with my arcade documentary.

      Anyway, I was finished with GET LAMP and doing post-production when the 8-bit Generation documentary trailers started coming out, so the question was moot before it began – by the time I would even think about what to do next, this project was already underway.

  19. Bruce says:

    Hey Jason. I speak as only one of your many documentary backers when I say, if I heard that your other documentary projects were taking a delay hit because you’d stopped to give these guys a hand to get something together, I would be really happy.

    I don’t care whether I get whatever copy I signed up for, I just want this to exist, and be available somehow.

    • Nate says:

      Let me second this. You, a “get it done” person with 8-bit interest and editing experience, were made to help this project. If you get the chance, please jump at it.

      BTW, I was at the 25th anniversary of the C64 (happy 30th!) and got to ask a question of Jack Tramiel. I’m overjoyed there was another recent interview of him, and I’d love to see this footage come to light.

  20. […] Missing in Action: 8-Bit Generation Documentary I’m putting this here to get some attention. There’s a documentary in production, or which was in production, which was a mini series about all things 8-bit consoles and computers. It&#… […]

  21. Anyone know anything further? It would be nice to at least get the footage they did shoot uploaded to the internet archive, if nothing else.

  22. Harmik says:

    I Pre-ordered the Blu-Ray edition as well I hope it dose come out and the footage they shot is not lost forever.

  23. Harmik says:

    Just read some of the above comments about people getting refunds I did not get one and don’t want one I really hope this is just delayed.

  24. lizardb0y says:

    On Feb 12th Jason Scott Tweeted:

    “Without discussing details, I have verification that the 8-bit Generation Documentary is in deep trouble. Very sad.”

    It is very sad. Like most, I’d rather see the documentary than my money back, but it sounds like neither is likely. I’d really like to know what has happened as I did pay rather a substantial sum to them for the pre-order.

  25. mel the bell says:

    ive just been pointed to this page, i ordered the deluxe version dvd in january 2012 for £56 and nothing. emailed em and nothing, the site vanished and nothing
    no paypal refund either 🙁