Indie Game: The Movie (8/16/12)

Indie Game: The MovieMovie One Hundred Ninety

Three independent video game developers share their stories before, after, and during development of the titles in Indie Game: The Movie.

Indie Game: The Movie follows Jonathan Blow, creator of hugely successful Braid, Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes, creators of Super Meat Boy, and Phil Fish, creator of Fez. Blow reflects on Braid, the only game to have already been released at the time of the documentary and as far as indie game successes go, it is the current water mark. McMillen and Refenes (aka Team Meat) and Phil Fish are both currently in development of their respectful projects. The documentary covers the long, sleepless nights, the worrying, the financial struggle, the passion of games, and the eventual successes these independent developers face in an industry where the growing trend is “bigger is better”.

Video games have been a major component of my life literally for as long as I can remember. I got a Nintendo Entertainment System for Christmas in 1987 when I was five, and haven’t looked back. Even before my NES I was playing my sister’s Atari and our Commodore 64. I bring this up because it would be easy to assume that Indie Game: The Movie is only for hardcore gaming nerds, like myself. This is not the case, but it certainly helps.

All three games that are covered in Indie Game: The Movie are available for purchase, you may have even already own them. The stories do not require playing the games, but you will glean an extra appreciation for them. Super Meat Boy, a game that flew off the rails in terms of financial success was literally created by two guys in around two years. If that isn’t an underdog story, video games or not, I don’t know what is. The gaming industry has evolved (some may say “devolved”) into a state where every major game has to be the equivalent of a Michael Bay action-epic. Lots of money, lots of people involved, lots of eye-candy. These independent developers hearken back to a time when video games had a simple objective and were merely fun.

From a technical aspect, Indie Game: The Movie is incredibly well-produced. The flow between the stories is great, and also has some interviews with people in the industry. Production of the documentary is much like the games being covered, it’s small but polished and most of all, it’s fun to watch. Obviously, it will be most interesting to fans of the video games being covered, or video games in general, but Indie Game: The Movie is an interesting tale from this generation’s art form.

I give it 5 Phil Fish in the bars out of 5.


Rotten Tomatoes


22 responses to “Indie Game: The Movie (8/16/12)

  1. Watched this with Brett. Was really surprised with it. I did find the Super Meat Boy segments to be the highlight of the film.

  2. I really loved your ‘Michael Bay action feature’ bit. It’s true, the gaming industry is rapidly turning into ‘Hollywood does games’ or a close equivalent. Indie games are still struggling to get noticed. Great review!

    • I’m reminded of a quote from Ebertfest, Paul Cox sated that the FANTASTIC film, A Separation, was likely created for less money than a typical Hollywood production spends on cocaine alone.
      Obviously that same comparison doesn’t directly relate to the gaming industry, but it shows that money thrown at a project doesn’t mean it’s worthwhile. Something amazing can be created for very little.

  3. Great review, saw it a while ago and really enjoyed it. I’ve been gaming for a very long time and it’s nice to get a little insight in the creative process. The Fez guy though was a scary and very emotional dude though….didn’t seem like a nice guy to be around ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Really like Braid and Super Meat Boy but haven’t finished them. I’ve sunk about 65 hours into Team Meat’s latest, The Binding of Isaac, though. It’s awesome. I read about this film a while ago, thanks for the refresher.

    Slightly related, have you seen The King of Kong?

    • I thought that The Binding of Isaac was really good but I got frustrated by it. Braid is definitely worth playing through to completion, Super Meat Boy as well…If you can.

      The King of Kong is one of my favorite documentaries, actually. It’s close to on par with this one but there was more drama in King of Kong.

      • I very much enjoyed King of Kong, although I sure would love to punch Billy Mitchell in the face a few times, despite considering myself a non-violent man. I’m also going to purchase Indie Game: The Movie on Steam when I get home tonight.

        The Binding of Isaac gets a lot better the more you play. It’s very frustrating early on until you’ve completed it a couple of times and unlocked a lot of better items. One of my favourite item combinations is the item that turns your tears into bombs combined with the homing bombs bonus, that turns you into an unstoppable machine. At this stage I finish more games than I don’t. I also like all the sly religious references.

        The problem with Super Meat Boy is the risk of control pad breakage after I lose my cool and throw it across the room, but I may consider dabbling in it a little over the weekend.

  5. Pingback: My August Movies Round-Up | Andy Watches Movies

  6. I really loved it. Being a game visual artist myself, I felt like a ballet dancer watching “Billie Elliot” ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Pingback: Cinephile Interview II: Andy Watches Movies | Cinemaniac Reviews

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