One of the biggest barriers to greater cultural understanding of the video game medium is the simple fact that most people don’t know how games get made and who makes them. People understand that actors memorize lines, musicians string together chords and writers make stuff up to create their works. Along with the skill sets each endeavor requires, the creators also draw on an emotional spectrum to craft a performance.
The technical aspect of game-making obscures the creativity and the personal investment that go into making a playable experience. That’s why the trailer for “Indie Game the Movie” is so exciting. The clip spotlights Jonathan Blow, Phil Fish, Edmund McMillan and Tommy Refenes as they talk about the reasons why they make games, as well as the stakes involved in being an indie developer. They’re all at interesting crossroads in their scenes, too. Blow’s work on “Braid” had already brought a strong spotlight not only to his individual efforts, but to the whole sphere of indie game development as well. He’s able to look back at his process while McMillen and Refenes are still knee-deep in making “Super Meat Boy,” which came out last year to near-universal acclaim. And “Fez“–Fish’s long-brewing mind-bending platformer–is only now rounding the bend towards completion, as evidenced by a recent trailer.
I’ve interviewed Lisanne Pajot and James Swirksy about their long-in-the-works film before but this trailer makes plain the dedication and access they brought to bear on the project. And they’ve announced that Jim Guthrie–who did the excellent soundwork and music on hit iOS game “Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery LP“–will be creating the soundtrack for “IGTM.” But, just like in indie game development, the Blinkworks team producing the movie wants to throw an extra bit of polish before they set the film out the door. To that end, they’ve started a Kickstarter campaign to fund the audio, color and mastering finishes for “IGTM.” Go to their Kickstarter campaign to throw some money their way and, depending on what you donate, you’ll get a digital copy of the film and other goodies. Honestly, it’s worth it to get the special edition of the movie, as there’s ton of great interviews and moments with loads of indie devs like Derek Yu that might not make it into the movie.
Pajot and Swirsky’s film represents a unique and apropos intersection of indie cultural production. Though they may appear to come out of nowhere, indie games aren’t products of spontaneous generation. Hopefully, “Indie Game the Movie” will enlighten gamers and non-gamers alike as to the passion, persistence and vision of the people who’ve made interactive entertainment their lives.