From the opening scene of Indie Game: The Movie, your emotion button is hit repeatedly to the point where you need a new button. The movie does an amazing job of capturing the lives of Indie Developers and showing you a side of gaming that so few get to see. The passion, excitement, sorrow and sacrifice that indie developers go through to bring gamers the hours of digital joy spent in front of monitors and TV screens across the world.
The word indie has become a staple part of the gaming world over the last few years. As the EA’s, Activision’s and Valve’s of the world are turning over hundreds of millions to billions of dollars a year, all over the world there are groups of guys and girls sitting behind a monitor with empty chip packets, greasy pizza boxes and piles of notes working towards their dream job, turning what started as a simple idea into a game.
We have all heard how tough it is for indie devs to launch their game. You think you know what they go through and you think you have a pretty good idea of what it must be like. The movie showed me that I really didn’t have any clue what so ever. I completely and utterly underestimated the emotional rollercoaster that not only indie devs go through, but how tough it is on their wives and families to bring their game to life and release. You can see that money really doesn’t have anything to do with why they devote so much time and effort into getting their game out there. While it’s great to have that money, you can hear in their voices and see in their faces that it’s so much more. It’s about their childhood, it’s about their hopes, it’s about their fears.
Indie Game : The Movie has an A grade cast when it comes to the indie devs featured. While the movie focuses on the stories of Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes (Super Meat Boy), Phil Fish and Renaud Bédard (Fez) and Jonathan Blow (Braid/The Witness). The film also includes appearances by
- Ron Carmel (World of Goo),
- Brandon Boyer (The Independent Games Festival),
- Anthony Carboni (Bytejacker),
- Gus Mastrapa (Contributor Wired, EGM, Edge),
- Jamin Warren (Kill Screen/Former Reporter, The Wall Street Journal),
- Chris Dahlen (Kill Screen/Pitchfork/Onion AV Club),
- Ken Schachter (Trapdoor/Warp).
As someone who grew up through the 80′s and 90′s, the moments where the devs go through their childhood struck me lightning bolt. I too was that kid, growing up at the same time they did. I too was sitting on a PC in the 90′s teaching myself to program Pascal and making my own version of Pong as I spent hours coding away to have these basic programs which I called games, games that gave me a bunch of excitement and joy. They got to continue down that path and release games such as Braid and Super Meat Boy, I ended up in sales and you know what, the movie made me feel happy for them.
The beauty of Indie Game: The Movie is that whether you’re a gamer or not, you can appreciate the way in which the movie has achieved in showing you what Indie Devs have to go through to achieve the release of their game. It’s like watching a PHD student chasing their thesis or that sales guy making the deal of his life, it is, the indie dev making THEIR game the way they always wanted and the heart ache that they go through to accomplish it. If you’re a gamer, you get an insight into just how much effort went into making your favourite indie game. You see firsthand the build up of emotions prior to launch and sadly, even the depression that can hit some devs after launch. Something I never would have thought of was that the fact your game has reached critical acclaim across the world could put you into a depressed state as you wonder why gamers don’t see what you wanted them to see and why gamers aren’t feeling what you hoped they would from your game. For those of you that aren’t gamers or are wondering if watching this with your significant non-gaming other is a good move or not, I can tell you it will be just fine. For the non-gamer the movie will be an amazing insight into the world of game development as the movie shows you how these guys really are living day to day with enough money to feed themselves and get by as they put everything they have into turning their dream into a published game.
What I loved about the movie was how it made me realise something that I never really thought of before. It made me realise why I am on this site, why Muslim Gamer was registered and turned from a blank space on the Internet into a community of other Muslim and non-Muslim Gamers gathering together. In all of history and time and the billions of people that came before me and will come after me, I was put on this earth at a point where games and computers where just beginning to become a part of human history. Growing up in the years that I did, I experienced something that only a few million people that grew up at the same time as me got to experience, the birth of consoles, PC’s and gaming.
Gaming was a apart of my childhood and as a result, it essentially became a part of me. Those years of loading up a cassette into my Commodore 64 and playing Kick Off 2 on my 512k memory Amiga 500 shaped my teenage years and ultimately shaped part of my adult life too, pushing me into working in the industry and ultimately heading up muslimgamer.com . Indie Game: The Movie captures the essence of what it is to be a gamer and a game developer and puts it up on screen in a way that really hasn’t been done before.
I’m not really much of a movie reviewer, give me a game and I’ll break it down for you in 27 ways and get it all up on paper for you. So I’m not sure how to eloquently put this to you apart from being extremely blunt about it. WATCH THIS MOVIE! I guess that kind of sums up my feelings about it. Sit down with your own chip packet and greasy pizza but save the tip that would go to the delivery driver this time. Because after watching Indie Game: The Movie, you will jump online and find an Indie game that you want to support and buy a copy to pay for their next pizza box.
One thing that I want to point out is the halalabalilty of the movie. For those that want to watch it with kids there are some language issues every now and then. But the guys behind the movie are one step ahead of us! If you buy the movie from indiegamethemovie.com you not only get a High Definition DRM free version of the movie, but you can also download a “clean” version too so you don’t have to worry about the language! Great work guys. So really there is no reason why you shouldn’t buy this and watch it. You can also pick the movie up on iTunes and Steam, but I recommend buying it directly from their site so you get the DRM free version and all the money goes to them rather than a cut going to Steam or Apple. Thanks to Blinkworks media for an early copy of the movie for review, while we had some issues and couldn’t actually watch the whole movie, as you can see from the above, what we did get to see was great.
As a final note there will also be a special edition featuring
- Alec Holowka (Aquaria/Marian),
- Derek Yu (Aquaria/Spelunky),
- Steph Thirion (Eliss/Faraway),
- David Hellman (Braid),
- Adam Saltzman (Canabalt/Gravity Hook),
- Jason Rohrer (Passage/Sleep is Death),
- Kellee Santiago and Jenova Chen (Flower/Journey),
- Matthew Wegner (Flashbang/Blurst),
- Chevy Ray (Beacon/Flashpunk),
- Mark Johns (Hot Throttle/Space Barnacle),
- Mark Essen (NIDHOGG/Flywrench),
- Erin Robinson (Puzzle Bots),
- Jeff Lindsay (Hacker Dojo),
- Steve Swink and Scott Anderson (Shadow Physics),
- Kyle Pulver (Snapshot),
- Simon Carless (UBM TechWeb Game Network).
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