Movie Review – Indie Game – The Movie

by Gouanaco (aka Max Winzar)

Indie Game – The Movie does a very good job of presenting what the life of a few Indie Game developers is like. Not just showing their success but also there hardships and problems that they encounter. Proving that creating a polished Indie game isn’t as easy as bread and butter and can take up someone’s entire social life for many years.

The movie tells us that Indie games are not made by big time companies but rather by small teams of individuals that have banded together with a common idea to try and create something that is a piece of art in the gaming industry and be able to express themselves. In some cases Indie Games have bested the most popular of games that had came out that year, purely because the most successful indie games are unique and try to convey a message to player. Whether someone notices the true meaning of a game or not is sometimes not the key point. From what I’ve seen the developers are trying to express themselves and receive some level of acknowledgement from the community, so that they don’t feel that they have wasted all this time creating something that they have put there whole hearts into.

In Indie Game – The Movie, you follow the story of 3 indie game teams that are now widely renowned. However most people and players of said indie games do not know the difficulties and commitments that these developers had to make to create these masterpieces of gaming art. Within the movie one of the indie dev teams behind Super Meat Boy, spent over 500 days creating it. Almost everyday they would pour their heart into the game they where creating. The success of Super Meat Boy would come from it being placed on the front downloads page of Xbox Live. However on the release day their game didn’t even show up on the page for several hours. One of the devs was extremely affected by this (and I wouldn’t blame him) but later recovered. This game is their life, everyday they’re just thinking about the bugs in game or the next idea, stressing over how long this is going to take and then how much it will cost…ect

I really liked seeing the insight into how an indie team functions, with them actually committing to finishing it and how they would go about their daily tasks, one dev would keep a list and mark off everything he did until he spilt coffee on it. Another would look through his original drawings of when he was a child and use these as inspiration or ideas. These generic but interesting insights are simple but give you a look of what is going on inside the heads of these developers.

Within the movie, the creator of Fez, went through a very stressful first public showcase at PAX. His tech demo of Fez was riddled with bugs and his team had to keep resetting the games of the testers at there booth. The creator was absolutely freaking out but eventually managed to resolve it. Personally, I would of hated to be in that situation, I would of lost it. When a game that you had been working on for 4 years had issues on the 1st showcase, it would be a huge drama. The movie portrays this feeling perfectly, connecting you with every step of the way until the devs finally make their break.

This movie has actually inspired me to further push my own ideas of my indie games further, and try to make them more real goals and not just dreams. Even though there seems to be and mostly is, a lot of work and hardship, it is defiantly worth it in the end with the result of an amazing video game, an actual art piece. I originally assumed that amazing and inspiring Indie games like these could of only came from calm and totally relaxed lucky geniuses, but Indie Game – The Movie helped me to realise its a lot more surreal when it comes to creating a good Indie game. Unless you have heaps of money or a huge development team you’re going to have to invest your entire life for the next few years to be able to create something that comes from your imagination, especially if it is to be fully polished with some good level of detail. Even though there are Indie game devs out there that get extremely lucky and make heaps of money with but a simple idea, for example Flappy Bird grossed over a million dollars within a few days. The creator didn’t even want to money; he was simply creating a basic idea that came from his imagination.

However these Indie Games are not just video games or works of art, they’re representations of these developers lives, time, inspiration and sanity. To be able to create a good Indie game someone has to first come up with a brilliant original idea, have the effort to stick with the creation of it until the end, and also to be very… very… very lucky.

posted on behalf of with permission from Max Winzor

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