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Cannon Arm and the Arcade Quest

Mads Hedegaard

This documentary from Denmark charts Kim “Cannon Arm”, an expert at the ‘80s arcade game ‘Gyruss’, attempt to beat his own personal record for hours played. Director Mads Hedegaard is a wonderful guide to this clandestine world of arcade fanatics who gather in a bar, first drawn together by their shared passion for gaming, but now loyal friends.  

"...just why are they all so drawn to classic arcade games?"

Kim’s record attempt revolves around a truly superhuman feat: he wants to play Gyruss for 100 hours straight, from a single credit. Hedegaard quickly introduces us to this community of outcasts as they band together to do their part in supporting Kim. Whether it's counting up how many lives Kim has left, or making sure he has adequate hydration and sustenance (licorice is the snack of choice), they all have their role to play. A few of the men have some form of neurodivergence or mental health problem, and one particular friend is conspicuous through their keenly-felt absence. In getting to know these (mostly middle-aged) men, the conversation often turns philosophical; just why are they all so drawn to classic arcade games? 

At its heart, Cannon Arm takes a classic sports doc formula, only instead of league tables, scorelines and team rosters. It’s one man, one arcade cabinet, and a host of supportive friends. Perhaps what lingers in the mind most about this enjoyable film is its sense of community and the haven it can provide; a bittersweet ode to friendship in an often confusing world. 

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