I recently attended a screening of an independent film called Indie Game: The Movie. The film features Tommy Refenes and Edmund McMillen of Team Meat the creators of Super Meat Boy, Phil Fish of Polytron Corportation the creators of Fez and Jonathan Blow the creator of Braid and the upcoming The Witness. I think the creators of the film describe it best:
With the twenty-first century comes a new breed of struggling independent artist: the indie game designer. Refusing to toil for major developers, these innovators independently conceive, design, and program their distinctly personal games in the hope that they, too, may find success.
After two years of painstaking work, designer Edmund McMillen and programmer Tommy Refenes await the release of their first major game for Xbox, Super Meat Boy—the adventures of a skinless boy in search of his girlfriend, who is made of bandages. At PAX, a major video-game expo, developer Phil Fish unveils his highly anticipated, four-years-in-the-making FEZ. Jonathan Blow considers beginning a new game after creating Braid, one of the highest-rated games of all time.
First-time filmmaking duo Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky capture the emotional journey of these meticulously obsessive artists who devote their lives to their interactive art. Four developers, three games, and one ultimate goal— to express oneself through a video game.
I found the film to be moving, informative and humorous. Quite often as a video game enthusiast I forget the blood, sweat and tears involved in creating the games that I enjoy. While large studios have teams of people dedicated to art, design, sound and all the other aspects of game creation these independent developers are often either alone or on a very small team. The day after the screening I decided to play Super Meat Boy and Braid again and not only did I enjoy the gameplay, story, art and all the things that I loved about them the first time I played them, I found myself with an even deeper appreciation for the personal touches implemented in the games. The movie is only screening in select theaters right now but you can pre-order the DVD/Blu-Ray or digital download here. Ultimately it is definitely a film I recommend watching.