2012 in game dev
: : Indie Game: The Movie : :
Bigger than life

by Grungi

As many people these past months, I have contributed to a few Kickstarter campaigns. Amongst them was the one looking to fund a film focusing on indie game developers. There were a couple of those: Minecraft: The story of Mojang, Us and the game industry, and the only one I backed because of missing the deadline of the other two. Indie Game: The Movie.

Indie Game: The Movie, the only film I have a t-shirt of.

Indie Game: The Movie, the only film I have a t-shirt of.

Indie Game: The Movie, or IGTM, is a documentary following the struggles of Phil Fish, developer of FEZ, and Team Meat, creators of Super Meat Boy, as they try to finish their respective games. You get to see them going through the hardships that actually releasing a game entails, all this being put in context by some commentary by Jonathan Blow, creator of the successful Braid.

The film made quite a splash in the indie community at release, and so did it in the world at large, winning many awards, getting screening all around the world and even being considered for a series adaptation. Some praised it as a true success, while others, mainly indie game developers, found it sometimes a bit unrelatable, focusing only on ‘big names’, and not being representative of the ‘true’ life of indies.

Yet, I am of those who saw the film as a resounding success. Even if some criticism directed at it are justified, the film was one of the highlights of the year for me. I think that, for the first time, I was able to really communicate to people around me, for example my parents, what making video games is to me. Not that I think of my life as full of drama and affect like the portrayal made by the two film-makers, but  the intent. The drive. That is something that I had trouble conveying.

It also was a huge morale boost for me. Nowadays, the game soundtracks still stirs me and make me want to plop down code to try and create what I have in my head. I do not think I will make the next FEZ or the next Braid, but these, albeit extreme, examples inspire me greatly. And the deeper meaning of the film, which could be a film about almost any creative endeavour, has a big and universal resonance.

If you have not watched it, I cannot recommend Indie Game: The Movie, enough. You do not have to be familiar with the world of game development to enjoy it, so go for it. You can buy it here.

And I am already giddy at the thought of the Special Edition that is still in the works, and which promises to make IGTM whole by addressing many shortcomings of the original film.

The filmmakers, taken by @Jeriaska.

The filmmakers, taken by @Jeriaska.

I, for one, am very proud of counting myself amongst the film’s backers, and I deeply thank Lisanne Pajot and James Swirski for what they did, and how they did it.

You can follow IGTM on Twitter, check out its official website, and oh, if you are quick, IGTM is included in the latest Humble Indie Bundle!)