Unlike independent music or film, the independent video gaming industry rarely gets much recognition — and when it does, the pressure and criticism from the gaming community can be crushing.
Indie Game follows four indie developers — including designer Phil Fish, creator of the contentious indie hit Fez — as they develop their games prior to the launch of the Xbox Indie Games program. Say what you want about Fish, but you can't deny the guy is passionate. The documentary paints such a vivid picture of how much these developers struggle to get their products out into the world, watching it literally moved Fish to tears.
THIS WEEK'S DOC: Indie Game: The Movie
Indie Game goes beyond the technical and strategic side of game creation by delving into the stories of the developers who are more than just financially invested in the success of their games. For them, gaming is very personal. "It's why a writer writes, I guess," says Super Meat Boy designer Tommy Refenes in the documentary. "A video game is the most effective way I can express myself."
With so much invested in the success of their games, the struggle becomes too much for some developers. When asked what would happen if he can't finish Fez without hesitation Phil Fish states matter-of-factly, "I will kill myself." Okay, Fish — put the controller down, man. It doesn't need to end like this.
Stream this week's documentary on Netflix and then come back on Friday for a discussion of the film and the challenges facing the indie gaming industry.
Documentary Club is a weekly feature in which we watch and discuss the finest documentaries available to stream on Netflix. Put down the video game controller and join us.
Sonia Halbach is the winner of the Studio@Gawker Netflix competition. She lives in New York City and moonlights as a young adult writer with an emphasis on 19th-century historical fantasy.