You don’t have to be a fanboy to get caught up in Indie Game. (Seriously. I’m speaking here as someone who hasn’t played videogames since Pong.)
—Alison Gillmor, CBC Reviewer
In this smart, engaging doc -- which has been making headlines for
months and is finally getting a hometown run -- Winnipeg filmmakers
Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky look at three indie game developers and
their stressed-out, sleep-deprived struggles to create.
We meet super-intense Montrealer Phil Fish, whose adorably retro video game, Fez, is stalled in a buggy, litigious, long-delayed development phase. Even as he labours to get the thing running, he keeps masochistically checking online forums to read complaints. ("What's taking so long?" "We hate you, Phil Fish.")
There's San Francisco-based Jonathan Blow, the touchy guy behind the time-twisting Braid, who lurks on the blogosphere combating negative reviews. Even positive reviews leave him feeling tragically misunderstood.
Indie Game: The Movie official trailer
And then there's Tommy Refenes. Working on what could potentially be a multimillion-dollar project - the launch of Super Meat Boy - he's living in his teenaged bedroom and eating at the Waffle House at 4:00 a.m., becoming increasingly overwhelmed by isolation, overwork and unbearable pressure.
The human stories are fascinating, but Swirsky and Pajot are playing with bigger ideas. Looking at quirky, committed creators who operate outside the blockbuster game system, they show how indie artists can bypass centralized, corporatized culture by working the hell out of new technologies, digital distribution platforms and social media. So yes, the movie is about games, but it also seems to be tracking a massive paradigm shift.