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.