Released last year, Indie Game: The Movie is a documentary that shows what it's really like to be an independent game developer. The film documents the hardships and struggles of Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes (Super Meat Boy), Phil Fish (Fez), and Jonathan Blow (Braid).
This short film will give gamers and non-gamers alike a new appreciation for indie game developers. You get a glimpse inside the lives of McMillen, Refenes, Fish and Blow and see how much personal expression goes into the games that they make.
McMillen and Refenes sought to make a game that brought them back to their childhoods. Like me, they grew up playing games and have a deep, personal connection with them. At one point, Refenes says he made Super Meat Boy for him, not for anyone else.
The film shows the struggles they went through to get Super Meat Boy out on time and shows people what things you have to sacrifice in order to create something spectacular.
During the making of this film, Fish was still working on Fez, which was announced in 2008. He was struggling to get it finished due to a legal battle with his former partner and his own personal struggles with perfectionism. The film documents all of his feelings, including depression, about trying to get Fez finished and on the Xbox Live Arcade.
Recently, Phil Fish has started taken a lot of heat for his comments made on Twitter (which is nothing new for him). Fez has recently been released on Steam, and people have complained that it is only being discounted $1 ($9 instead of $10 as it is on XBLA). His response:
Blow reflects on the development of Braid, which was released in 2008. He talks about how hard it was to finish the game and how he poured so much of himself into it, and then most people didn't "get it."
Gamers, especially ones who don't know much about indie games, should definitely take the time to watch this. It is available on Netflix, so no excuses. It provides a small glimpse into the world of indie game developers and will give you a new-found (or increased) appreciation for indie games and the people who make them.