Indie Game: The Movie
Indie Game: The Movie is a feature documentary about video games, their creators and the craft. The film follows the dramatic journeys of video game developers as they create and release their games to the world. The film tells the emotional story of friends Edmund McMillen & Tommy Refenes, as they craft their first Xbox game: "Super Meat Boy". It follows Phil Fish, the creator of the highly-anticipated game: "FEZ". After 4 years of working in near solitude, Phil reveals his opus to the public for the first time. And, the film tells the surprising story of one of the highest-rated video games of all time:"Braid". The film is about making video games, but at its core, it's about the creative process, and exposing yourself through your work. In short: Making fun and games is anything but fun and games.
Maybe the best argument against game piracy I've ever seen, Indie Game: The Movie depicts three different independent game developers (all of which are either 1 or 2 people) at various stages of the creative process. One (Jonathan Blow who created 'Braid') after completion and release reflecting on the experience; another (Team Meat, creators of 'Super Meat Boy') at the final stretch as their game preps for release after a long development; and finally Phil Fish, creator of Fez, in the confusing, doubtful center of development.
What is most amazing about Indie Game is that you don't need to be a gamer to get it, or enjoy it. It speaks on a much larger scale about the creative process as…
Part of The December Project: Film #9
I walk the fine line between casual and hardcore gamers. I know more than most casual gamers, but I don't find myself as involved in the world as much as other people do. In fact, over the past year, I've almost completely lost interest in video games to the point where I only play to pass the time, and not out of actual interest. So it comes with no surprise that I'm pretty apathetic towards Indie Game. The Movie.
I will grant the documentary one thing, and it's that it does what all the best documentaries do: It tells a story. Indie Game. The Movie takes a look at the development of two…
A gentle, beautiful and intense journey of two indie games working toward release. Indie Game captures the essence of working on a big project with a small team for a long time, and the creeping fear that you're shit.
The documentary makers do an outstanding job of letting the subjects tell their story. Shying away from milking their drama or setting up conflict, yet still capturing high highs and low lows. The documentary makers are never on screen and speak once or twice in the whole film.
The production values are high. Super Meat Boy is visceral, and Fez looks delightful. Come to iOS boys.
I know I'm gonna catch a lot of flak for this from certain dudes, but this film wasn't for me. My problems first started in the intro, as we hit with the specifically composed uplifting music, whilst people talk about Indie Game development as if it is a truly godly and amazing cultural thing. Yes, it's one of *those* documentaries.
To me, it plays against what it's about - by putting it on this pretentious pedestal, it actually removes the grounding in real life that makes indie gaming great. By having no outside character (It's not a Louis Theroux show where you have a dude meet these strange people without judgement), we don't really have a hook into this world. And I play a lot of games.
These kind of documentaries are sleek, they are safe, they do "sand down the corners so they don't hurt anyone," which if you've seen the film, you know what I mean.
Before praising this documentary – and I think it deserves quite a bit of that – I need to recognize this is a field that’s very close to my heart. Perhaps I don’t play too many games any more, but I used to work for a videogame magazine, had a contract for a game that never saw the light of day, and, many years later, ultimately managed to (re)create and ship one. The process of making that happen was indie enough that I recognized many of the phases and emotions shown in Indie game: nights dedicated to coding, the feeling of being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things needed still to be done, the absolute terror of finding a…
The original Nintendo came out when I was in 5th grade, and it absolutely consumed my life. Some of my favorite childhood memories involve Super Mario Bros. 2 & 3, Ninja Gaiden, Contra, and especially Mega Man 2, which I still consider the best video game I've ever played. In junior high, my interests in film and music took over and I never again got passionate about video games until the first PlayStation and Resident Evil (and that was mainly just because it hooked right into my love for zombie films).
Anyway, even though gaming isn't my thing and it hasn't been for a long time, this was a pretty captivating documentary. Following the development and release of three "indie" games…
Indie Games for all those that are unaware, are independent games, made by individuals or small groups, that don't usually have the luxury of being backed financially by big video game publishers. Budgets are next to nothing making the process long and stressful on the individual/team and usually means the size of the game compared to mainstream titles is very small. However there are no restrictions when it comes to creativity, so its very much a case of not making a game that people will enjoy but making a game that the creator enjoys in the hope that many people will be able to relate to it and also enjoy it, thus making it a success. Its art.
Eye opening documentary about what it takes to create some of the best selling indie games (Braid, Super Meat Boy and FEZ) in recent years. It's a pretty crazy, funny, sad, entertaining and inspirational film. And the documentary was made possible with Kickstarter.
not a bad documentary for people into the subject. i liked it.
Really good insight. The guy that made Fez is an emo idiot.
Great look in at video game designers and what motivates them.
Interesting portrait of independent video game designers, though I ultimately felt the sample size (just four designers spanning three games) was a little small. Beautiful, polished cinematography, editing and direction, however.
A deeply personal look into the lives of a few indie game developers, their indie games, their development methods, and the highs and lows that surround such people.
This is tastefully made, simple in its scope, and amazing in its detail. This is straight up a love letter to gaming both past and future.
All this said, it is somewhat limited by virtue of scope, time, and focus. It dates itself somewhat necessarily, and it perhaps reveals aspects of these designers better off kept in the dark (Mr. Fish, I am looking at you, sir). But all of this is par for the course of a documentary, isn't it?
What was I bitching about? The fact it revealed things to me?
Nevermind. This is clearly not a genre of movie I should try to review. Watch, certainly, but not review.
It's possible (though I doubt it) that the interviews with the subjects were heavily manipulated in the edit to the point where they all, with the exception of Edmund McMillen, came across as either self absorbed blowhards or destructively vain.
I love "Braid," but I've now lost a lot of respect for Jonathan Blow. Video games are as much (if not more so) an experience as they are a narrative. To accuse nearly everyone of "not getting it" (the Soulja Boy cheap shot is so obvious) means to me that the only person who doesn't understand his game is Jonathan himself. I had my own wonderful experience playing "Braid." So why the hell is he trying to take that away…
As a game and flash developer and someone whose life was greatly influenced by Newgrounds and the games of (then unbeknownst to me) Edmund McMillen and others, this documentary really hit home with me.
I initially saw it because I knew the Super Meatboy team was interviewed. As a fan of the game, it was a must see for me. Little did I know how much heart and soul was poured into the game from the two developers.
This is much more than just a documentary about game development, this is a documentary about the human spirit. I recommend this documentary to everyone, but above all, I recommend it to game developers, especially the aspiring ones, because it WILL inspire you.