Sundance 2012 Review: Indie Game: The Movie

Indie Game

To quote the Transformers, something that definitely helped craft my childhood, as well as that of the programmers in the film, Indie Game: The Movie is definitely more than meets the eye. At first look this is a glimpse into the world of independent programmers that most people don’t even know exists. But as you watch you begin to realize that the overall themes stretch far further than this simple premise. This is a story about any kind of entrepreneurial person that decides to follow their creative dreams and dedicate their life to following their passion. And as someone that fits that bill, this movie spoke to me on a very personal level. It’s perfect that Sundance, a showcase of independent filmmaking and proving ground for this kind of human being, chose it for its premiere.

Everything about this movie epitomizes independent. From the subjects in the film trying desperately to complete something extraordinary all by themselves, outside the “system”… to the filmmakers themselves, who used the crowd sourcing site Kickstarter as a way to actually get this movie made. Watching it from both points of view, you get a kind of postmodern look at true independence on two different levels. It’s the kind of thing that validates anyone who has gone through these trenches.

The movie itself follows a number of different independent programmers, but really hones in on three personal stories. One is the story of two, some might call them, “outcasts” who are trying to get their game Super Meat Boy released through the massive Microsoft XBox Marketplace. Another is the story of someone who literally puts his personal life stories into the game he’s making, and gets annoyed when people don’t see the deeper meaning he’s trying to portray. And the third is the gut-wrenching journey of a man who was throned a superstar with a bonafide hit on his hands far before the game was even finished. Now over four years later, he still hasn’t finished nor released it, due to his obsessive qualities and life changing trials. All three stories have more heart and soul than most Hollywood movies. We feel their trials. We experience every bump in the road. We are literally dragged through the mire time and time and time again. But we see these guys push through it all, and in the end, that’s what is so uplifting about this film. It shows people at their absolute most depressed and beaten down, but continue to courageously push through because it’s their passion. It’s seriously emotional stuff and one that I honestly feel most people could relate to in their own lives.

Indie Game: The Movie may not get as many older viewers because they could care less about gaming, but I’m here to spread the word. This movie at its core isn’t about gaming at all. It’s about struggle, following your dreams no matter how difficult, and staying true to yourself through it all. It’s really a powerful movie that comes out of what, at first, you think is a benign subject. But trust me, as you finish the film you realize there is nothing benign about these games at all. These games are essentially these people’s hearts poured out onto a screen. Truly fascinating and gripping. I highly recommend this film.

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