For those of you who are yet to see it: Indie Game: The Movie is a documentary available on Netflix, iTunes, and Steam (yes, that’s right, Steam – Valve’s digital distribution & gaming platform). It follows the developers behind three critically acclaimed independent (indie) puzzle platformers: Braid (released in August 2008), Super Meat Boy (October 2010), and Fez (April 2012).
Throughout the film, you are taken on what can only be described as a roller-coaster of a journey. There are downs, ups, more downs, a few more downs and then some more ups which overall paints a rather stressful, yet rewarding picture of what it can be like to work as an indie game developer.
Indie Game: The Movie tells three true stories and while they may not ring true for all games developers, not everyone will enjoy the success these devs did. Games don’t just ‘happen’ (if they do, then consider yourself incredibly lucky), a lot of work goes into them.
The majority of people don’t realise what developers sometimes sacrifice in order to make the games we love: social lives, sleeping patterns, diet, and more, are all effected when it comes to ‘crunching’ out a game, and not for the better. This can clearly be seen throughout the documentary in interviews with the developers as they talk about experiencing anxiety attacks and depression, overlaid on some of the imagery shown. Multiple times there is just one developer sat alone in a dark room at a computer, creating a real sense of isolation.
Yet there is always light at the end of the tunnel and after all they went through, three success stories were made. The most important message from this film is; while it can be a long journey on an occasionally harrowing road to make a game, in the end people do it because it’s what they love and for the satisfaction of seeing people playing their game and having fun makes it all worth-while. They simply wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t.
Ultimately, they are proud of what they’ve achieved, and rightly so.
Final Score: 87/100