Whenever game developers come to mind, people think of overworked, overstressed individualswho work long hours and take what they’re doing very seriously. Highly demanding deadlines are not only enforced by their equally overworked and overstressed bosses, but also by a community which absolutely needs a product on time. Now, imagine what it must be like for one or two people to do the jobs of an entire staff of developers and their managers. This is the story that Indie Game: The Movie tells to us from three different vantage points.
Indie Game: The Movie is a documentary about three independent (of any major company) video games: Braid, Super Meat Boy, and Fez. While I’ve played and enjoyed all three of these titles, I had no idea that the stories which brought them to my television were so turbulent. As gamers, we rarely ever consider the path that was taken by the products we consume again and again. The months leading up to release are not always so pretty and glamorous as we may imagine. As stated earlier, the differences between the development of an indie game and the development of a mainstream game are very stark. This documentary does a great job of showing the viewer that indie game developers are putting their all into their work. The ups, and downs; losses, and wins. Of course, this isn’t to discredit a mainstream developer; but they’d especially agree that the indie game developer does not have it easy.
The movie is not only about the hardships these developers face. It also helps highlight just how gratified they are by what they do. When focusing on this aspect of our developers’ lives, the viewer feels one part inspired, and one part a “thanks-but-no-thanks” kind of response. After not long, it’s obvious that being an indie game developer is not for everyone. That, of course, makes inspecting the situations behind these three successful video games that much more intriguing.
Lastly, the viewer needs little to no knowledge of the game industry. A few points will be clearer and easier to relate to if you’ve at least played Super Mario Bros., but even then, this is definitely an interesting movie to watch. As a developer and an avid gamer, I urge you to check this film out: