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Pixel Artisans, Indie Game: The Movie

As of the past 5 years there has been a movement creeping into the games industry. With the onset of digital distribution and content creation, everyday Individuals are starting to take game development into their own hands.  Small teams of one to two people are now making games that they believe are truly innovative and new. Indie Game: The Movie is the voice behind this movement.

The film follows three indie game developers at different stages of the production process. Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes of Super Meat Boy, a platformer about a fleshless boy trying to save his girlfriend, Bandage Girl, from the evil clutches of Dr. Fetus. Phil Fish of Fez, a world bending puzzle platformer where a two dimensional creature, Gomez, realizes that he actually lives in a three dimensional world. And Jonathan Blow of Braid, another puzzle platformer where the player is taken on a metaphysical, time altering journey with a preppy lad trying to save the princess.

Despite the static nature of game development, the filmmakers were able to present the subject in a way that was not only entertaining but beautiful to watch. Cutting the film with a mix of captured, in-game, graphics and real world footage, the filmmakers were able to build a strong visual and emotional connection with the artist and their art. What could have been a vary long 94 minutes, watching code being typed into a computer, flew by as the real person behind these games came through.

One tends to paint the mental image in their head of the game nerd, tucked away in a basement coding for hours on end. Keeping as far a distance between them and the sun or social interaction. While some of this might appear to be true, the film was able to lift a veil into world where you saw their antisocial behavior as more of a sacrifice than a choice. The interviewees were all wonderful characters to watch as their story unfolded. They each had an infectious passion for creating games, a passion that could border on obsession or insanity. Regardless, It’s wonderful to see these artisans speak about their craft in such a heartfelt manner. It reminds you that there is heart and soul behind a video game.

Another treat of the movie was the score, composed by Jim Guthrie. Guthrie, more recently known for his involvement in 2011’s breakthrough ios hit Sword & Sworcery, was able to accompany the film with a range of sound that played perfect service to the games on screen. It could have been easy to do a straight chip tune track to a movie about video games but the maturity of Guthrie’s melodies reminds you that games have evolved as a medium and are now mature themselves.

Whether your into games or not, Indie Game: The Movie is more than a story about video games. It’s a story about craft and inspiration. And that’s something we can all relate too.

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