Up until recently, I’ve been quite uninspired by the video game industry. The constant sequels, the constant fan complaints, and the community/industry gender battles grew tiresome. I was worn out. Something I once loved had become a chore. The community became flooded with noise and nothing seemed to be changing.
I have been running GamingAngels for nine/ten years and sometimes it feels like nothing has changed. We have the same online arguments. Games that might be innovative are shelved for “proven” franchises and studios are in jeopardy of closing constantly.
One day while pumping, I came across Indie Game: The Movie on Netflix. The movie came out in 2012 and follows independent game developers on their journey to release. We see their excitement, innovation, and sometimes depression. These guys (more on that in a bit), pour their heart and being into their game. And why? For self satisfaction.
The movie follows Jonathan Blow (Braid), Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes during the development of Super Meat Boy, and Phil Fish during the development of Fez. Jonathan Blow is mostly there to reflect on the success of Braid and the indie movement in general. The real heart of the film come from Edmund, Tommy and Phil.
The reflection on these men and their path to game release is not always a pretty one, but it is heartfelt. Edmund and Tommy speak about how they couldn’t work on a game in any other way other than independent. They feel too strongly about being able to create the game they would want to play. We watch Phil go through the highs and lows of popularity and expectations with his darling, Fez. Some of the lows are so difficult to watch, but maybe that is what makes me want to support them even more.
Indie Game: The movie inspired me. I felt so touched by the stories, that (while I don’t have that much time to play), I’m purchasing each game one by one. I’m currently playing my way through Fez. This documentary reminded me that while I was feeling disenchanted, it’s important to support the indie community. At GamingAngels we have always supported Indie Game events. I’ve always felt that innovation comes from there, yet when it came time to put my money down, it was a rare occurrence.
The one thing I would have liked to see in the movie was more diverse teams. The movie did not focus on independent developers of other races or genders. It’s a very “white male” viewpoint on creating games. This doesn’t make the movie bad, but it would have been nice for the movie to follow a more diverse cast. Perhaps we’ll see that in a sequel.
Please visit IndieGamethemovie.com where the team behind the movie still blogs about various screenings and updates on the cast. Definitely make the movie a must watch. Particularly if you are like me and a little disenchanted with the industry right now. It’s an incredible,emotional look at people that really love games and all they want to do is create a game on their terms. A game that they can be proud of. I will vote with my dollars and hopefully continue to encourage this love.