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It is hard to sum up this documentary into something that can be quantifiably explained because like most documentaries Indie Game: The Movie delves into a mostly unknown topic. However unlike most of the documentaries out there, this one in particular hits the familiar chord of being something close to my heart. All the while being something of an anomaly within the universe of our understanding of video games since the people and process in which the game is created or even explained is at the bare bones, an arm’s length approach, explaining the concepts and features of a game rather than the meaning. Then again, for any footage out there on a game’s conception or creative process, one must understand that those games being presented are of a different echelon (and I use this word very lightly in its literal use), the AAA grade of games that like the documentary interviewees themselves explain, are very different from what they themselves are making.

While I think it is very important to commend Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky for directing a very well done film, both in its message and cinematography, (especially considering it is their first major release being funded fully through Kickstarter and also being awarded the Sundance Film Festival winner for World Cinema Documentary Editing) I find it more important to commend the interviewed developers themselves for opening up in front of the camera in a real visceral way. Independent games, much like independent anything, are made with a higher level of emotional investment as well as more personal risk given the budget and the lifestyle that they (the makers) must lead to survive. I know that I personally never gave much thought into the thought that went into a game at a young age. You see a guy on the screen, you evaluate what they must do, you do it, you win or lose. Playing a game for the most part can be summed into these four parts at a glance and when done so the overall vision and intention of the game can be lost (I say can for games that are very “gamey” not personal). So really what makes IGTM such a spectacular piece of work is that it can make everyone realize the simple truth that we know exists but never think of, people make games. Someone works hard to make something that we enjoy. Someone puts part of themselves into the game whether that is a message, a concept, a theme, or even background scenery. Someone makes art.

So where does this notion get lost? In these modern days with big budget releases with multiple year development cycles and 100+ manpower development studios with PR and Marketing and a 60$ price tag we don’t see the vision that we do in an indie game. As I have made it clear in my reviews before, I don’t dislike big title releases, I love them, but I want people to understand the distinction between something that is personal and something that is collective. IGTM is a true love letter to gaming and anyone who has ever made a personal connection to a game in any retrospect should be able watch this film and smile.