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Indie Game: The Movie (2012)

by on 2013/09/09

Indie Game The Movie (2012)“It is terrifying, it is really, really scary …there’s no safety network there.”

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Right now, I feel an overwhelming urge to seek out each and every person profiled in Indie Game the Movie and give them a huge hug.

If you knew me, you would know something was wrong with that statement. Quite wrong. I mostly stay indoors, dislike meeting new people, and enjoy avoiding eye contact. I was not raised in a household that hugged. Even an angry handshake would be consider a little too much contact, and then only on holidays.

No, not even then – come to think of it.

But golly, I quite liked the folks profiled in this outstanding, gorgeously-filmed documentary. So much. I’ve watched Hacker Renders play their clever, successful video games (which I haven’t tried because I so desperately suck at platforming).

I want to tell them all that it is going to be okay. That people like us are with them. They are doing good …hell, great things. That I admire them so much.

This feeling grew three sizes when I read the Twitter pages of Edmund McMillen creator of mega hit Super Meat Boy, Tommy Refenes, co-creator of Super Meat Boy, Phil Fish creator of Fez and Jonathan Bloom creator of Braid (one of my favourite teenager Miss_Tree’s favourite games).

I worry they are being engulfed by hatred and criticism simply for creating something original and putting themselves out there in an honest and interesting way.

Mostly, god, the Internet sucks sometimes.

And I don’t think I could bear the idea anyone was being mean to Danielle, Edmund’s charming wife, fellow artist and cat …enthusiast. who is also featured in the movie. She’s cool and fascinating. Case in point, I just spent hours reading her blog, Tumblr and Twitter page, and watching her cat Vine videos. Adorable.

Canadian filmmakers James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot weave a compelling tale from candid interviews and fly-on-the-wall filming of mundane things like screens swimming with code, setting up trade show booths, Tommy giving himself insulin injections. It was all so compelling in fact, I found myself crying like a wee girl at several points.

What’s fascinating about this documentary is that everyone is so honest, so unvarnished, so raw. In a world of media key messages and the constant torrent of corporate bullshit, it is almost shocking to hear someone telling the truth.  The rawness was bracing, not always comfortable to hear, and reminded me why corporations speak in sandblasted double talk, so as to not offend anyone, or make an actual point about anything.

Watching people doggedly pursue their dreams (often at great personal cost) is always exhilarating. The results are, mostly satisfying. The game developers featured in this film have it all on the line, and you are rooting for them.

I also understood where the rawness came from. The work, the art, it is them. It is their expression of themselves. “It is me, my ego, my perception of myself is at risk,” says Phil Fish, Fez creator. I was sad to learn he announced he’s getting out of games development because he said he can’t stand the negativity any more.

I hope he doesn’t give up for good. I hope they all don’t let the bastards grind them down. The world needs their sharp edges and originality.

I’ll give the final word of this review to Edmund McMillen who explained it better than I could hope to: “My whole career has been me, trying to find new ways to communicate with people, because I desperately want to communicate with people, but I don’t want the messy interaction of having to make friends and talk to people, because I probably don’t like them.”

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96 minutes

Not rated

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  1. A Goth’s Month in Review: August 2013 | Geek vs Goth

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