Suicide and murder are not things often associated with the world of game design and rightfully so. Game designers are just people who sit up late at night playing games whilst growing odd facial hair and wearing wayfarer glasses right? Well sort of. Granted the people followed in this story all manage to fit a stereotype on first glance but as the story unfolds we get to see what really goes into game making, the stress it puts people under, the things they sacrifice and most importantly we see the real people behind the stereotypical image. Indie game the movie is the portrait of the artist as a game geek and it’s a fantastic watch.
The documentary tells the story of four independent game designers. One who has already released a best selling indie game, two who are working up to the release date of their game and the final one who is in the final stages of creating his game. The documentary examines the back story of all four men, how they have got to where they are now and what the future holds for them if they can find success with their games.
‘Its kind of silly, I kind of wish I didn’t care about this kinda stuff’ Phil, the designer of the indie game Fez declares in the film and he’s right, I don’t understand why he does care about this ‘kinda stuff’ but for two hours of my life I also cared about that kinda stuff as the characters grew and their lives were put on show I really began to care about the success of their games.
The nicest thing about this documentary is the people that are in it. The child like joy on the face of Edmund (The creator of indie game Meat Boy) as he watches online video reviews of his game on the release date is one of the films more touching moments. He then further describes how he knows there will have been a little boy who played the game all night and has to miss the school the next day, which is a lovely sentiment. His relation to his own childhood and isolation during that time is well documented throughout the film and his humble and honest approach is something very refreshing, especially considering his game has just become the second fastest selling game in the history of independent gaming on XBOX live.
Phillip Blow is the only detestable character in the whole documentary – his pretention borders on the level of being tedious as the movie progresses. At one point he declares the thing that annoys him most are the people who give his game bad reviews because he feels they don’t understand the meaning of the game, he then goes on to declare that he finds it offensive people call him pretentious. Go figure.
If the documentary has any flaws its that it does border on the fringe of being a bit melo dramatic at some stages. At some points in the movie the people involved discuss how they would physically murder people who could potentially get in the way of their game releases or how they would commit suicide if the game is a failure which does seem a tad extreme really.
The movie will please both young and old as the people talk of their love for retro gaming and one even describes working for EA as his worst nightmare but then it also gives a fascinating insight into the world of independent gaming and the online market which should be enough to please the younger generation of gamers.
Verdict: Not a huge fan of gaming myself I found this documentary fascinating and it is one of the best that has been released this year. Well worth a watch. Rating: ****