Movie Review – Indie Game: The Movie (2012)

Movie Synopsis: A documentary by Canadian filmmakers James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot, this film follows the trials and tribulations of indie game designers, developers, and programmers, who are trying to create imaginative and unique works and introduce them to the wider gaming world while holding true to personal beliefs around style and substance.

Movie Review:  This was a fascinating documentary, which was structured very nicely, as it followed three main games from three separate partners or individuals, that were facing different types of challenges and were in different areas of North America.  The filmmakers did a great job of highlighting some of the unique challenges of indie game developers, such as trying to be a mass marketer while still holding true to indie principals, legal challenges when games that take years means turnover of creators and designers, and the struggle for financial resources and capital.  The documentary allowed us into the lives of real people.  Some of the “stereotypes” of game developers and designers was presented to the audience early on, but then over time as the film progressed, the directors/writers of the film did a good job of breaking down some of those stereotypes, to show us some differences in the people working so hard on these games.  The film also did a nice job of showing us the passion and creative drive these folks have in their craft.  The one thing that was missing from the documentary, although it was a full-length feature and likely wouldn’t have had time to explore adequately, would have been more time to look at the market these games are begin sold to.  We had a short series of scenes in a convention where we could see the broad cross-section of “gamers” that are attracted to these sorts of diverse indie games.  It seemed the gamers were just as diverse a population as some of the genres of indie games.  This would seem to further break down some people’s stereotypes of who plays these games, and that they are a pretty homogeneous bunch of people, when it fact it may be much more diverse and broad.  However, we didn’t fully explore this topic, which would have added to the documentary and brought it full circle from design of the product to the sale of the product.  However, overall, this is a well written and well directed documentary that provided some interesting information and new clarity on the subject of indie games in North America.

Overall: 4 stars out of 5 stars.

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