Video games are tough. They are tough to play, sure, but moreover tough to make. The amount of work that goes into creating one game is unfathomable, but Indie Game: The Movie is here to help us to understand the gruelling process that developing a game is. Indie Game: The Movie has stirred up a lot of interest in the gaming community since it’s development was announced.
Funding was gained through two very successful Kickstarter (an independent, donation based funding system) campaigns, Canadian filmmakers James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot shot over 300 hours of footage of various figures in independent gaming. They then decided to edit it down to follow four indie video game developers, Jonathan Blow who recounts the development process for the mega smash hit Braid, Phil Fish, the developer for the game FEZ, notorious for being stuck in development hell for 5 years before it’s release in April 2012, and Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes, who we see during the creation of the game Super Meat Boy.
Indie Game: The Movie is quite a unique film. Gaming, especially behind the scenes, is very rarely shown in film, and if there’s any argument for it to be portrayed more in fiction and non-fiction, it’s this film. The pain, suffering, and stress these people have to go through to achieve their dream is, at times, very hard to watch. It’s an underdog story at heart, and a damn good one. The support they get from their families and friends is just wonderful to see, and their emotions are resonated by every shot and piece of music played. Even if you don’t 100% agree with everything they say (for instance, Tommy Refenes denouncing mainstream games such as Call of Duty and Halo as ‘shit’) you can still see where they are coming from and doesn’t affect their likeability in the slightest.
The music in the film is really fantastic. The tracks uplift the film and emphasise the emotions of the characters, especially at the end with the sheer happiness everyone feels. I did some research and found the guy who composed the music for this movie is Jim Guthrie, who has done a lot of solo work, and after listening to some of it, can say he is excellent. Look up some of his songs on Youtube, you won’t be disappointed.
Overall, Indie Game: The Movie is a must-see for anyone, not just gamers. It’s so accessible and interesting that it really is the underdog story. Swirsky and Pajot have created a masterpiece of documentary filmmaking here, and it really should be seen by everyone who loves games, and everyone who is sceptical of games as an art form. It was heart-warming to see and brought tears to my eyes.