Directed by Jon S. Baird, the film succeeds by taking the absurdity and the crazy twists and turns of the story and marrying it with a sheer love of gaming, accomplishment, puzzle work, and obstacles. Indeed, Noah Pink’s script employs a gamified framing device, presenting the main characters with stakes in getting the rights for the game as actual video game players — in addition to Henk, there’s Robert Maxwell and his son Kevin, two wealthy, stupid, ruthless, and obnoxious businessmen out of London, and also Robert Stein, who originally bought the rights but now finds himself in a bureaucratic pickle. Likewise, segments of the story are presented as levels to be overcome, like a greedy politician who sees the end of communism and wants to save himself and earn a few bucks along the way.

Baird takes the video game elements and literally turns them into pixels, at times marrying live-action with animation to make reality a game, like a car chase with 8-bit cars. This helps sell the idea that this is a heightened version of the story, but also makes it an entertaining, compelling underdog story — even if that underdog works for the most powerful gaming company of the time.