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Stewart Smith

Indie Game: The Movie

Indie Game: The Movie posterYes, I am a gamer. A gamer and a nerd. And you may find that odd or different, but when you think about it, it really isn’t. A great many of my generation spend considerable time playing games. The thing is, they play games in a different way than those that grew up in, say, the 1980s. Those kids took an interest in the way things worked, how the technology changed, how things progressed. Nowadays, children just try to shoot the head off of Nazis and monsters, sometimes even as the Nazis or monsters themselves!

Games are an art form, or rather, they can be. This is why I spend much of my time occupied with a completely different gaming community – the indie gamers. Indie games are, as their name suggests, games produced by an independent publisher. Independent games, much like independent films, are made completely separate from any kind of gigantic corporation – although they often rely on the large corporations’ platforms for distribution.

Usually indie games are the efforts of just a few people, and can be incredibly time consuming. When the creation of a game takes away years of your life, and becomes the single thing that an entire career is balanced upon, a lot more heart goes into it. Therefore, we revisit the idea of games as an art form.

Indie Game: The Movie is a documentary film that was released on June 12. Much in the spirit of its content, it is an independent film that relied on online sources such as crowd-sourced investment giant Kickstarter.com for funding. Following the long and endearing process of making indie games, this film focuses on the experiences of developers Edmund McMullen/Tommy Refenes (Super Meat Boy), Phil Fish (Fez), and Jonathan Blow (Braid).

These developers – nay, these artists – meet some tough times and some rough patches as they attempt to not only provide a wholesome gaming experience, but to tell a story directly from the heart.

The documentary has been met with overwhelming success, and sports a “100% Fresh” ranking on Rotten Tomatoes. As an indie gamer myself, I can safely say that the documentary not only excelled at capturing the medium, but also at capturing the very spirit of those involved. And it isn’t a movie made for gamers exclusively. Ordinary people may benefit from these stories as well. There are morals to be taken from the way that each character deals with hardship and even success, morals which can be applied to everyday life.


Age Recommendation: There is some swearing and some intense scenes – of course, programmers are like that. With puberty looming and the dawn of a new age, I recommend this film to anyone about my age and above. (13+)

Final Verdict: Indie Game: The Movie is an incredible documentary which demonstrates lessons that everyone should learn. I strongly urge anyone who can do so to watch it. 10/10

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