Sundance 2012 Review: INDIE GAME: THE MOVIE - Amazing Video Game Documentary
Indie Game: The Movie is an amazing documentary that gives the audience an intimate look at the people driving the independent video game movement forward. It follows four individuals and their journey to achieving video game greatness by developing the games they want to make with no one telling them what they can and can't do. Let me introduce you to the individuals and games that the doc revolves around:
- Game designer Edmund McMillen and programmer Tommy Refenes and their work on the Xbox Live game Super Meat Boy, which follows the adventures of a skinless boy in search of his girlfriend, who is made of bandages.
- Developer Phil Fish and his game Fez, which is highly anticipated and has been four years in the making.
- And then there's Jonathan Blow, the creator of the indie game Braid, which is considered one of the highest-rated games of all time.
These people have taken all of the passion they have for video games and pour it into developing a game that is deeply personal to them. This is their art; it's their way of expressing themselves. They put all of their time, energy, blood, sweat, talents, and tears into these games in hopes that people will connect to their game on a personal level, as well as enjoy playing them.
I love playing video games; I do it whenever I find the time. It's mostly the big ass epic games that I play though, like Halo and Modern Warfare. This movie opened my eyes to the power and intimacy of indie gaming, and from here on out, I'm going to be paying a lot more attention to it. This is a movement I should be following more closely, and gamers should be following it as well. There's something about these games that makes them matter more and makes them more fun to play. I grew up playing the classic Nintendo Entertainment System, and so did the people developing these games. They take everything they loved about playing those games as kids and created their own awesome classic style games that take gamers back to the things they loved growing up.
The way indie gaming is right now, is the same way indie filmmaking was in the early 90's when people realized they could actually go out and start make their own films without any corporate executives breathing down their necks and telling the talent what they need to do. Indie gaming is still in its infancy, and there's no doubt that things are going to start blowing up in the world of indie gaming in the near future.
Being the co-owner and writer of GeekTyrant, I was able to find a connection with these people. Like them, I've put a great deal of time, talents, and energy into my website. I'm doing everything I possibly can to work on making it better and growing it in hopes that one day I will be able make a solid living doing it. This is what these guys do with the games they make, and they do it because they love it. At the same time, they hope that all of the sacrifices they make to create their game pay off in the end. It's crazy watching the kind of insanity that these developers have to endure throughout the development process. There's so much weight on their shoulders, and it drives them to stress, anxiety, and depression. It was actually kind of hard to watch at times, because there were moments where I saw myself in many of the situations that they found themselves in. In a way, it was a reality check for me and my life, bringing to light on screen the changes, challenges, and sacrifices I've had to make to push my passion and way of expression forward. I actually found myself getting choked up several times throughout the course of the movie--that's how much it affected me. It was hard to watch, because I've changed so much over the last three years due to GeekTyrant, and this doc actually pointed that out to me. It made me aware of how I have changed, and it scared me a bit.
Indie Game: The Movie is a must watch film for anyone who loves the art of video games or is passionate about anything. This is a wonderfully fascinating documentary that any geek would enjoy watching, so I highly recommend watching it when it is released.
The film was written and directed by Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky.
Here's the Synopsis:
With the twenty-first century comes a new breed of struggling independent artist: the indie game designer. Refusing to toil for major developers, these innovators independently conceive, design, and program their distinctly personal games in the hope that they, too, may find success.
After three years of painstaking work, designer Edmund McMillen and programmer Tommy Refenes await the release of their first major game for Xbox, Super Meat Boy—the adventures of a skinless boy in search of his girlfriend, who is made of bandages. At PAX, a major video-game expo, developer Phil Fish unveils his highly anticipated, four-years-in-the-making Fez. Jonathan Blow considers beginning a new game after creating Braid, one of the highest-rated games of all time.
First-time filmmaking duo Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky capture the emotional journey of these meticulously obsessive artists who devote their lives to their interactive art. Four developers, three games, and one ultimate goal—to express oneself through a video game.