I recently heard about this documentary that did pretty well at Sundance. It’s called Indie Game: The Movie, and it follows the lives of some independent videogame designers as they fight deadlines and Internet haters to finally get their games done. That premise alone got my attention, but when I saw the trailer, I knew I had to watch this film.
And what a film it was!
I watched it with my wifey over the weekend. She started “watching” it like she does many other films that I want to watch, which is while she does something else like arrange her stuff or check Facebook etc. By about 20 mins into the film, we were huddled together with our eyes glued to the screen.
You see, this film might specifically be about indie game-designers, but it will appeal to so many more people than just industry folks and gamers. Anybody who has ever invested a part of themselves into anything, be it writing a book, working for a certain job, or even trying to win the affections of a cold-hearted Estella-like girl, will relate to the guys in this film. Why?
Because these are some guys who absolutely believe in what they’re doing and are sacrificing everything in their lives to achieve their goals – and that is something everyone should be able to relate to at some point in our lives.
The path to their goal is not an easy one, because for these guys, you’re either running the show by yourself or maybe at most you have one other partner. Money is tight because they’re not getting paid by some wealthy studio. They sacrifice their social lives because they don’t have the time (or money) to go out. And this is an ongoing process that lasts years for them!
For two out of the three stories in the film, we are privy to their lives and struggles as obstacle after obstacle hits them and threatens to derail their progress to their dreams (the third story is a retrospective one as the game was released before they started making the film). And if they do decide to bail, that would mean completely writing off and wasting the past few years!
One of the reasons why they’re so invested in their games is because it’s essentially a part of them, or pretty much defines them. They’re not making games for a giant company like EA or Blizzard, so for them this is not a product but an extension of themselves. Throughout the movie, you’ll see just how much of their own vulnerabilities and identities go into these games, and it’s just astounding. As a writer, you know that there are some works that have come straight from your heart, and it’s the same with the games for these guys.
As one of them puts it, “My identity is Fez (the game he’s making). I am the guy making Fez. That’s about it.”
It’s an amazingly touching documentary that just hits you right in the heart, just because the stories of these underdog game-designers fighting against all odds are incredibly uplifting. In my book, these guys are downright noble and heroic. Watching it will make you rethink just what you’re doing with your life, and whether you’ve found something that means as much to you as these games mean to them.
So please go out and watch this film! You can go to the site and download it right now for an incredibly low discounted price of US$4.99! I think the regular price is still a pretty low $10. It’s going to be the best few bucks you’ll spend recently.