Last night I was very excited to see Indie Game: The Movie in Phoenix.
This review has SPOILERS.
The movie exceeded my expectations. As a developer, I am definitely the target demographic for this movie. The directors realized a broader appeal, tho, beyond just something industry types could find interesting.
The over-arching story is a heartwarming tale of struggling, tortured artists trying to realize their personal vision against the odds. I identified with the game developers as people, and watched them fail, succeed and freak out when things don’t go as planned.
These stories feel very intimate, with the developers trying hard and somehow making it big. One of the best scenes is Edmund McMillen and his wife sitting on your standard, middle-class, worn-out sofa as they find out that they just exceeded the highest ever first-day sales for an XBox Live Arcade title. His wife starts crying, and says that she’s happy that people ‘get’ the game.
Besides the movie itself, the Q&A with the directors gave a lot of depth. The game devs worked hard in a vacuum, never really knowing if what they were doing was any good, just hoping what they worked on would be appreciated. In the end, the developers are vindicated, and loved for their personal vision.
The directors actually experienced an almost identical experience making the movie. They didn’t know what people would think about it, and were surprised after being declined from one festival that they actually got into Sundance. Then Brad Bird tweeted he loved the movie. And everyone wanted to see it. They didn’t know how to feel, a theme felt within the movie itself.
It also gives a better sense of scale of how games are perceived from ‘the outside’. When things went from being ‘indie’ to ‘holllywood’ for the directors, hollywood had some different views about the movie. A recurring response to the movie: ‘Its like you’re saying that people who make video games can be artists’.
I highly recommend seeing the movie if you get the chance. Hopefully a dvd will be released soon!