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3 Things We Liked (And Didn’t) About Good Game

Eskape got some moves.

Good Game is billed as the first Filipino esports movie. But does it get the championship win? 

Mild spoilers for Good Game ahead.

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For all the noise esports makes in the Philippines, it’s honestly surprising that the field has yet to make its big screen debut, and, more specifically, to see esports take center stage in Filipino film. That has changed though with the release of the Prime Cruz-directed and Donny Pangilinan-led Good Game. Centering on college student Seth (Pangilinan), the movie follows his struggle to fit in with a family that he never knew while trying to make his dreams as a pro-esports player a reality. As part of the rag-tag esports team Tokaw’t Bad Bois, Seth and his crew compete in the Requiem tournament, the movie’s version of a popular online shooter. 

Taking the gaming action to the silver screen, Good Game goes beyond the typical depictions of gaming in mainstream media to deliver a solid esports movie that has heart. But like with any online game, Good Game has some bugs that don’t make for the most seamless experience. If the idea of the first Philippine esports movie has piqued your interest, we lay down a few things that we loved and didn’t about this gaming drama before you shell out for that ticket.



From start to finish, Good Game checks all the boxes for a good time led by a good cast. Leading the way is Donny Pangilinan, who gives a refreshing performance as a young man who turns to his safe space, gaming, when put in a situation where he feels isolated. After the death of his lola, Seth moves in with his estranged mother (played by Donny’s actual mom, Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan) and stepfather, which does not go well. Cocky on the PC but reserved with his family, Seth straddles that struggle of pursuing what you want that goes against where you come from, all brought to life competently by Donny. 

Seth is an admittedly unlikable character at first with the way his attitude clashes with the team, but Donny puts in the work to humanize Seth and set up his redemption. The rest of the cast comes together for a colorful collection of characters, with standouts going to the Tokaw’t Bad Bois and Seth’s mom, Iya. It’s this core crew that captures the heart and soul of the movie as it vacillates between a barkada movie and mother and son reunion.



Despite video games’ massive popularity, mainstream media has, more often than not, suffered from depicting gaming as a hobby for “losers” or a waste of time. It becomes clear in Good Game that the filmmakers approached the subject with the respect the esports community deserves. The team who make Tokaw’t Bad Bois are real people with real lives who turn to gaming as a source of enjoyment. The filmmakers also did their research with the proper terms used in esports, featuring actual commentators, and showcasing esports as a viable sport. At the center of Good Game is a story of how esports goes beyond just playing video games, and the movie delivers that message pretty well.

Flowers should also be given to the technical team that brought the gaming segments alive. Instead of using an actual video game, the movie made a fictional game, Requiem, a 5v5 multiplayer sci-fi-esque FPS. The gaming scenes feature animations mimicking actual gameplay as if Requiem was a real game that we wouldn’t mind playing IRL. While some of the gameplay scenes can look clunky, it’s a commendable effort. 


There is a reason why esports matches can get millions of views. As Good Game reaches its crescendo, it moves into a satisfying third act as Tokaw’t Bad Bois commences their journey to the top. Mixing gameplay with the fast-paced and frenetic action of the players, the movie’s climax has that exciting underdog energy you’d feel in actual matches as you root for TBB to make it to the end. You actually will be on the edge of your seat with the clutch plays as the team goes up against seemingly insurmountable odds. The film’s use of electronic soundscapes adds to the thrilling moment of triumph. 



While Good Game mainly revolves around Tokaw’t Bad Bois journey to the Requiem tournament and Seth’s struggle to balance esports with his other responsibilities, it also touches upon other subplots. It’s established early on that Seth and his mom are not close. This causes a rift between him and the rest of his new family. Also, in his pursuit of esports, he ends up neglecting his studies. 

Sadly, it’s these subplots that hamper the story more than it helps as it takes away from the more exciting dynamic of Seth with his crew in Tokaw’t Bad Bois. As much as these moments are supposed to give Seth’s character depth, they come off more as melodrama. And it doesn’t help that whatever conflicts are started aren’t fully resolved by the time the credits roll. One couldn’t help but think how Good Game would go if it decided to focus more of its time on the dynamic between Seth and his team rather than his struggle to connect with his family. 


At a brisk one hour and forty minutes long, Good Game is a far cry from the three-hour movies that have been hitting cinemas recently. But its relatively short runtime means that it tends to rush through what should be pivotal story beats. A big casualty of this is the antagonism from Seth’s stepfather and lolo, who both end up not mattering much by the end. Also, Seth’s struggles in school are glossed over by the movie’s conclusion, which is a bit of a confusing decision considering how the film depicts the decisions Seth makes in school to be dire. 

Other plot elements, like one of Seth’s teammates leaving an abusive home, the team losing their gaming house, and an underwhelming rivalry between a former teammate, is also given little development when they would have led to some interesting narratives. 


Overall, Good Game gets the triple-kill when it comes to doing the local esports community right. It has the heart, energy, and action fitting for the genre. The idea that gaming can be the space to find meaningful connections is a story worth telling. It’s a sports movie, family drama, and a coming-of-age barkada all in one. But it misfires on certain plot elements that would have benefited from an update or two. Still, Good Game is a fun watch if you go for the gaming. 

Good Game is now showing in cinemas nationwide.

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