Mar 7, 2022 - Business

"Gaming Wall Street" explains 2021’s GameStop financial frenzy

A phone in front of the logos of several companies
Photo: Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

A new documentary tells some of the personal stories behind the stunning rise and eventual fall of the stock value of GameStop in early 2021.

Why it matters: The two-part "Gaming Wall Street" explains how a group of amateur traders on a Reddit forum banded together to fight the hedge funds short selling the video game retailer’s stock — making headlines around the world — and how the movement eventually collapsed, revealing unseen forces in the American stock market.

Details: The documentary is narrated by Kieran Culkin, who plays Roman Roy in HBO’s "Succession," and it features interviews with some Reddit users who lost thousands of dollars when the trading app Robinhood interrupted buying, which led to the GameStop price tumbling.

  • One trader was living in his car during the GameStop financial frenzy. “​​From my car, on borrowed WiFi, I can be an extremely tiny part of screwing over Wall Street,” he says in the movie.

Zoom out: The film also draws a direct line from the failed GameStop short squeeze back to the financial crisis of 2008, including several references to 2015’s "The Big Short."

  • In grandiose and sometimes flowery rhetoric, the documentary serves as an attempted indictment of modern capitalism, with several references to the need to “level the playing field” in America.

The big picture: Since the short squeeze, an SEC report debunked most of the conspiracy theories surrounding the stock’s plummet and GameStop has announced it’s creating an NFT marketplace.

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