Indie Game: The Movie – A look inside the world of Video Game Development

indie-game-the-movieIndie Game: The Movie is a documentary film that came out in 2012. If follows 4 game developers and documents the blood, sweat and tears that they put into their independent video games. These guys decided to take the risk and develop the games on their own without being part of the big video game companies. This could be compared to the music industry, where you have indie bands that don’t care about the big music labels and prefer to break out on their own and plot their own course.

The film did a great job of showing what game developers Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes went through when developing Super Meat Boy. This game harkens back to the games I grew up with in the 80’s and 90’s. A time when you had more control of the characters on the screen. Too often modern games are so graphic laden that one move of your controller and 10 different things happen with your character on the screen. 

I sympathized with these game developers. They went through many highs and lows and it was a tough road to finishing their game.

The film also followed Phil Fish and the development of the game Fez. This story was a turbulent mix of emotions. The game took 4 years to develop and almost didn’t get released because of a legal battle. The movie also interviews Jonathan Blow, the creator of Braid. This game was a huge success and his story was a good counterpoint in the movie. This showed what can happen when you do break through and have a hugely successful indie game. You’ll have to watch the movie to find out if the other games featured became big hits or not.

I look back to my childhood and remember the games of the Atari 2600, the Sega Master System, Nintendo, and later on the Sega Genesis. I see in the design of today’s indie games a renaissance occurring that takes us back to the simplicity of the characters in those old video games. After watching the documentary, I’m considering learning how to create my own video games.  Even after watching all the highs and lows that these game developers went through, they still were the controllers of their own destiny. And they should all be proud of what they achieved.  They’ve opened my eyes to the possibilities of independent game development. I’ve even sketched out my first game design and will be learning how to use the Unity3D game engine to develop it. I’ll keep you posted on my progress…

We are living in an amazing time when anyone with determination and imagination can create their own video games, music and movies and release them for the world to see. It’s an exciting time for artists.

Indie Game: The Movie can be viewed on Netflix. Rent it on Amazon.

Watch the Indie Game: the Movie trailer:

To view more excerpts from the movie and more stories from other game developers, visit

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Indie Game: The Movie - Review
  • Interviews
  • Cinematography
  • Music Production
  • Film Editing

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