If you speak a certain language about classic video games, you probably know about M2, a Japanese game studio responsible for dozens of impressive arcade and console ports to newer home consoles. Yet even if you don’t, a new hour-long documentary about the studio should still be considered required viewing for anybody who loves the best Japanese games of the ’80s and ’90s.
Produced by My Life In Gaming, a video channel known for a laser focus on retro gaming, the M2 Complete Works documentary (embedded below) is a sweeping, decades-long look at a game studio renowned among dedicated gaming fans. That’s because M2 has produced some of the most impressive ports, emulations, and even fully blown remakes of classic series by Sega, Konami, Capcom, and SNK. (Listing them all would bury the embedded video below, but to get a sense of how impressive M2’s work is, look into the . This series saw M2 deconstruct many original Sega arcade and console games, then fully rebuild them with pitch-perfect emulation 3D depth effects for the Nintendo 3DS.)
The MLIG production duo of Coury Carlson and Marc Duddleson fill their documentary with original insights from M2 staffers, starting with the studio’s college-aged efforts to build an arcade-perfect version of for the Sega Genesis and working up to its acquisition of dozens of ’90s industry vets to keep the studio going through the ’00s and ’10s.
As this is a major historical retrospective, the documentary skips some technical minutiae, but you can still expect to learn some fascinating things. A few examples: The PlayStation 2 port of was hamstrung by too slow of a CPU for emulation’s sake, so the team tapped into the console’s included PS1 processor to offload processing of functions like audio; the studio spent its own personal money on making a crazy reimagining of , which forward-ported the game from the Sega Master System to a System-16 arcade board; and M2’s first PSP project had to be redrawn from scratch upon learning that the system’s specs “on paper” didn’t match with reality, yet they still somehow managed to pull it off.
The studio is about to make waves once more as handlers of Sega’s Genesis Mini hardware, launching this September with 40 pre-installed games and meant to wash down the bitter taste of AtGames’ awful “mini Genesis” plug-and-play systems. Thus, you’ll probably want to give this documentary a full watch to gear up for that exciting emulation project (if M2’s work on the Nintendo Switch’s stellar series isn’t enough for you, anyway). A Blu-ray version of the documentary was briefly available as part of a Limited Run Games bundle, which has since sold out; we’ll update this report if we hear word about that Blu-ray option, and its expanded features, getting a second release.