Wot I Think – Indie Game: The Movie

By Brendan Caldwell on June 12th, 2012 at 10:00 pm.

The long-awaited documentary about the creators of Super Meat Boy, Braid and Fez is out now and available for download from its own site, iTunes or Steam. Here’s Mr Brendy C to tell you a few things about it before you spend your digi-groats on this much-feted film. Warning: could be said to include spoilers, if a documentary about some guys making videogames can be said to be spoilable.

Indie Game: The Movie is in the unusual position of being able to say it was using Kickstarter “before it was cool, man.” So it’s already vulnerable to the kind of folk who shout ‘hipster!’ at every twenty-something in a pair of milk-bottle glasses. Of course, our readers know better than that. As children, most of you will have undoubtedly been told the tale of The Boy Who Cried Hipster, the moral of the story being ‘don’t lie about there being a dickhead around, in case a real dickhead should actually show up one day to subtly insult your decor, or eat you.’ Being so well brought-up, I believe we can look at Indie Game: The Movie somewhat more fairly and see it for what it actually is: a good documentary which occasionally lapses into artificiality.

The film follows the ups and downs (such as they are) of indie game development, focusing on Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes of Team Meat (creators of Super Meat Boy), Phil Fish, the controversy-clad head of Polytron Corporation (makers of Fez) and Jonathan Blow, the oft-styled philosopher-king of indie games (creator of Braid). They are each at different stages of development – Team Meat has pretty much finished work on SMB and is only waiting for release to go ahead, whereas Phil Fish and his programmer Renaud Bédard are still deep in development. Jon Blow, being super protective about his upcoming game, The Witness, limits his interviews to being about Braid or development in general. Ups come in the forms of good sales and five-star reviews. Downs come in the form of debt, obscure legal wrangling or in the formless throes of depression.

On first sight the setbacks that accost each dev seem preposterously inconsequential when compared to any other hard-hitting documentary. So much so that I sometimes felt like reaching into the screen and slapping these people (lightly) in the face before telling them to regain some perspective. If you were so inclined, you could probably re-label the entire film ‘First World Problems: The Movie’. But I think to do that might miss the point, which is that the over-active soul-searching borne out by the subjects is truly important to them, relative to their position in life. Even if it feels like some of the things bothering them should be told to a therapist, rather than a camera crew.

At this point, it’s important to distance criticism of the people in the movie from technical criticism of the movie itself, which is always ludicrously well-shot, slyly edited and peppered with neat animations. The story-telling can be disjointed at times – flipping from one dev to another too often or unnecessarily repeating things to remind the viewer of what’s happening. At one point the doc went off into a little bit of videogame history on the side, talking about Blow’s inspiration for Braid from Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. This was also kind of jarring in terms of narrative but actually a really interesting slice of creative inspiration that I secretly wished they’d explored more of. I think moments like this – the breakdown of a game’s design ideas – will be most interesting to people who follow indie games, whereas the majority of the movie focuses instead on appealing to a larger crowd by exploring the ‘human element’ of gamemaking.

Not that going for a more general, non-gaming audience bothers me. In fact, it’s good that games can be presented to The People as an art that its creators can and do suffer for, just like film or music. Of course, if you’re gonna watch it, RPS reader, be aware that you’ll probably already know half of what the movie tells you. But never mind – a bit of revision never hurt anyone.

On the human element, it became clear about halfway through the film that it was branching off into two main ‘stories’. Jon Blow (to me the most interesting of the lot) is put to one side while Team Meat and Phil Fish go through their respective crises. One of them comes out the other end triumphantly, while the other flounders in an existential pool of self-doubt (yes, literally). These two sides of the movie gradually become so different from each other, even in the way they’re shot, that it almost feels like you’re beginning to watch two different documentaries. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing and I’m about to explain why, in a way that will be dangerously close to over-analysis. But if you catch me doing that, just shout ‘HIPSTER.’ I’ll stop.

The difference between these branches comes mostly in the way the particular developers act. The segments with Team Meat feel the most genuine. Ed and Tommy talk to each other over Skype, Ed’s joy at getting good reviews is clear and Tommy’s anger and frustration when Microsoft fail to feature them on the XBLA dashboard is equally authentic. Whereas the Phil Fish segments are full of scenes of him apparently posturing or over-reacting to every little question. “What happens if you can’t finish the game?” the interviewer asks at one point. “I will kill myself,” he says confidently, without a moment’s hesitation. He even repeats it, for emphasis. “I will kill myself.”

The Fish storyline paints a picture of either a man with a real penchant for melodrama acting up to the camera, or a full-blown neurotic. I don’t know, maybe he’s both. I actually like Phil Fish on personal basis, having found him to be one of the most refreshingly frank people to talk to about games. But I can also tell this movie won’t endear him to anybody who has already made up their mind about his flaws.

The interesting thing is that as Fish becomes more and more extravagant, the stylishness and extravagance of the camerawork also increases. At one point he is left alone in a swish hotel waiting for PAX to kick off, wherein he enters a fit of anxiety, then rage, then ennui, whereupon the documentary decides to have some shots of him looking blasé and introspective from behind the bar, then in the lobby and finally swimming in a pool with his glasses still on. This is Indie Game: The Movie at its most deliberate and artificial, and no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t stop myself from thinking they were using an underwater camera specifically for this one painfully stylistic shot.

Meanwhile, back at Team Meat they’re counting up their day one sales with their respective families gathered around. What follows is a muted and cleverly edited – but also honest and touching – moment as the exhausted and genuinely depressed Tommy Refenes is brought back to life by the People of the Internet. I’d probably recommend Indie Game: The Movie for this scene alone.

And then! Back at PAX, the playable demo of Fez is beset by bugs and Phil Fish begins to scramble for the keys to the booth – the camera follows suit becoming a shakeycam, cutting like mad between shots of the broken game and Phil opening the cabinet to reset the console while shouting, “We’ve got an unstable build on our hands!” You half expect the following scene to be of him faced with a blue wire or a red wire, panicking over which one to cut, sweat dripping off the frames of his glasses onto the camera lens. Of course, it doesn’t go that far. He just has to continually reset the machine.

And that’s when you finally realise why the movie is so obviously splitting into two styles: the characters are beginning to be reflected in the camerawork. Phil Fish is infecting the documentary. All the while the subdued and naturalistic style of the Team Meat segments have remained bona fide.

Did one of you just cry ‘hipster’? Never mind then.

Let’s just say this. The difference between the Fish story and the Team Meat story – and how they’re shot – is the difference between a stylishly posed Polaroid of a lone man looking profound for an album cover and an imperfect but natural photograph of two guys having a beer and talking to each other at a kitchen table. I enjoy both kinds for different reasons but like many I come down more on the side of the naturalistic. Compare the shots of Fish looking painstakingly cool in his hotel with the brief glimpses of a tired Tommy Refenes injecting insulin while barely paying attention to anything but his computer screen. One of these feels instinctively more ‘real’ than the other.

My biggest concern before watching the movie was that it would turn into a hagiography, holding these indie game poster-boys up as The Exemplars of an art form. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. Their characters are probed slightly more keenly than that. The brief section about Jon Blow’s ability to “materialise” in the comments section of every article about him was a realistic testament to the man’s once-crippling defensive self-consciousness. Likewise, Fish’s outspokenness and theatricality (or what most people would term his loudmouthedness) is plainly there for everyone to see.

If the aim of Indie Game: The Movie is to poke about for vulnerabilities in the characters of its subjects (and it pretty much admits this is the point) then I’d say it succeeded. And if you can forgive it the moments when its stylishness gets the better of it, you’ll probably enjoy it too.

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103 Comments »

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  1. Bobtree says:

    Please tell me the action trailer was a spoof and the movie is nothing like it.

    • Zyrocz says:

      No. The action trailer definiletly represents the final product. It’s a good thing though, the part where he put all the photos into the game was heartbreaking.

      • Acorino says:

        yeah, the trailer is more representative than I would have liked it to be.
        It was good to hear Jonathan Blow talk, though he doesn’t have a big role in the movie since Braid was long finished and released when this was filmed and there isn’t anything about the development of The Witness in it.
        Too often the documentary seemed like a style over substance affair to me.
        It was a good character study of Phil Fish I guess, this self-loathing dickish type. By the way I was wondering for too long while watching who Fish was now working with on Fez after his business partner left, or if he worked alone now and just liked using the royal we. This link was missing for too long throughout the movie, I guess the editing was insufficient there. Otherwise it was…just not a great narrative I think. It’s okay to watch I guess.

        • Premium User Badge

          particlese says:

          Not sure if you still have a question that needs answering, but this might be interesting anyway:

          I got to see the movie on tour and haven’t rewatched it yet, so my memory’s a bit fuzzy, but I believe the filmmakers made a point, either in the movie or on stage, of not naming Phil’s original business partner. Phil clearly had a partner who was named early on, though, which confused at least me and a guy who asked a question about it. The filmmakers (who seemed like wonderful people, by the way) explained that the original business partner (who left the team and took forever to sign the legal papers) was left unnamed — I think — for protection’s sake (e.g. from creepy Internet rage); Renaud is the game’s programmer, and I forget if they named the new business partner. Phil and Renaud are still going at it together, the former posting to the blog last month, and the latter recently releasing an update to the game for Microsoft to scrutinize.

          As a side note, I had never before seen so many pairs of black-plastic thick-framed glasses in one place, but I’m not much of a city person, so maybe that’s normal. To be fair, my own glasses are hipster on the sides yet fairly normal at the front, like a sort of hipster mullet for my face, but in a good way…somehow….

          …Loved the movie, though, and good review — nicely articulated, I say!

        • phort99 says:

          By the way I was wondering for too long while watching who Fish was now working with on Fez after his business partner left, or if he worked alone now and just liked using the royal we.

          Polytron’s programmer, Renaud Bédard appears on camera briefly. However, the movie centers around Fish because that’s where all the drama is. The former business partner was supposed to be the musician. Ultimately, Disasterpiece did the music instead.

          • Acorino says:

            oh, thanks! I felt the movie wasn’t clear at all on this matter.

  2. Chakawi says:

    Brendan I feel you should put a “spoiler warning” at the top of your post though :)

    I really enjoyed the whole ride, including the long wait and the kickstarters and everything in between.

    The movie is not perfect, but I think that that’s perfect. It’s made in a way that reflects it’s subject. I do feel it took a bite out of something much to big to be eaten in one meal. Indie game development was something quite real before it got to be seen the way it is today. I feel that to cover the subject correctly, we should travel back a lot, but at least cover the evolution of flash games and flash gaming portals. I think they played a huge part in enticing players to engage with these indy games.

    Like Flash Element TD for instance… coming from a Warcraft 3 mod (that probably comes from somewhere else), being a huge hit, giving David Scott and Paul Pierce their wings and initiating the Casual Collective and etc.

    These games really pushed Indie Gaming to be “more mainstream” than the lurker it previously was.

    My vote? We need Indie game the series.

    Ohh btw I really liked the movie :)

    • djbriandamage says:

      I was just about to pose the question is it a spoiler if the movie is a documentary? This review is full of them.

  3. Cooper says:

    I’ve realised now why I’ve kinda not been at all bothered about the existence of this thing so far; totally ambivalent towards it.

    It’s because if I was to watch the “human story” of some indie devs, there are dozens more who I would chose above and beyond this lot. There are dozens more who have more interesting creative outputs and are more interesting people than this lot.

    • bjohndook says:

      Spoken like a true goddamn hipster.

      • DK says:

        Oh no, someone doesn’t like the media darling “Indie” dev, he must be a Hipster. Get over yourself – two out of three of the movies subjects are assholes getting far more attention and praise than they deserve.

    • fucrate says:

      Did an indie game dev piss in your cheerios?

  4. Premium User Badge

    kregg says:

    I think this review is spot on.

    I didn’t really have any opinions of the developers mentioned nor did I expect anything from the film. What I got was a unique slice of an insight into the world of indie gaming with its highs and lows.

    Unfortunately, it does come across as unbelievably stylistic, almost “poser” like, but I could forgive it since the content seemed interesting to hold it together.

    If you like indie gaming enough to want to see a window of indie game development, it’s available at $10.

  5. G_Man_007 says:

    Third pic, guy in the orange hoodie, those are some righteous mutton chops. Wolverine does indie gaming.

  6. Maldomel says:

    Interesting. I didn’t really know what to think about this movie, and I’m still not sure about focusing on a handful of people, but I’ll definitely watch it.

  7. Easy says:

    Great write up. It’s been on my “to-get” list ever since it was advertised on kickstarter. And I will, at some point, get it. But steam sales have turned me into a cheap bastard. Which is stoopid, since it doesn’t cost more than a movie night. Go figure.

  8. googoogjoob says:

    i don’t think i could bear watching this movie if even half of the described scenes with fish are in it, which is sad because i want to see the team meat stuff since they’re cool guys

  9. misterT0AST says:

    “Phil Fish is infecting the documentary. ”
    I have never even seen the guy’s face and I already want to punch it.
    Talking about suicide like that. That’s bad taste. I’m looking forward to watch this anyway:
    I like shouting insults at the screen.
    And Jon Blow seems an ok guy to me. If his pretentious platformer is half as good as Terry Cavanagh’s pretentious platformers, I might even consider getting Braid.

    • Jake Albano says:

      Jon Blow really seems to understand games and how to respect the player. He’s a cool guy. Braid is definitely worth getting, and it’s in the current Humble Bundle for another day or two.

  10. D3xter says:

    I’m a lot more excited about the prospect of MOVIES on Steam than the actual movie itself (since I wouldn’t give Apple any of my money and there’s not many competitors), so I pre-ordered it whiles ago, they built some nice Flash Interface for it that looks cool.
    I wonder if the guys that made the movie did that or if Steam did the player and menu/functionality etc. themselves to be able to (hopefully) do this some more in the future?
    http://www.abload.de/img/steam_movie1a5f53.png
    http://www.abload.de/img/steam_movie2wgc30.png

    Could someone ask them/do an interview about it? :P
    I’d be interested to know if this was more of a “one time” thing or if we can expect more soon and what Valves thoughts are on the matter.

  11. Terragot says:

    Phil fish just isn’t cool. He tries too hard to be a legend and he ends up being the joke of the industry. I think Leigh Alexander said it right when she tweeted a picture of them both, with the caption “the Kanye West of indie games, the Kanye West of journalism”. Such a perfect idiom, as none of these people realise how worthless the masses consider their personality. Phil is not his game, Leigh is not her words, Kanye is not his music. All are a product of hype and ignorance.

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    Sagan says:

    I watched this in Seattle, and watching it with a knowing crowd removed many of the flaws you talked about. When the developers would say something ridiculous or overly dramatic there would be laughter in the audience, sometimes knowing laughter. As in “yep, we’ve all had that stupid moment in game development.”

    I could see how taking the dramatic moments too serious could reduce enjoyment of the movie.

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      Sagan says:

      Oh and I am not saying that you those moments are intended to be funny or anything. They are intended to be serious. Just not as serious as you maybe think they are.

  13. somini says:

    IMHO, Wreck-It Ralph will be THE definitive film about games.

  14. unbiasedfanboy says:

    Watched this with a bunch of game devs in Atlanta, GA. It was a great night. This movie is well worth the $10.

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    piratmonkey says:

    I’m a sucker for documentaries. Do want.

  16. Daniel Klein says:

    But can movies be art?

  17. djbriandamage says:

    I really enjoyed this film. I actually teared up a little when Danielle did. It’s a story of uncertainty, perseverance, and triumph. It’s cohesive. It’s the truth, even if the presentation is embellished. (*buzz* text message)

    I’ve read and enjoyed many of Brendan Caldwell’s articles but I didn’t enjoy this one. The accusation of “Hipster” never crossed my mind – it’s just a clinical dissection of a film that I felt more than watched. It frustrates me that this movie gave me so much joy but Brendan’s review is intent to call it Frankenstein, snip its stitches, and leer disapprovingly at the unsightly pancreas on the floor.

    I come to RPS to read criticism and I respect it even if I don’t agree with it. I can’t say that any of Brendan’s comments are untrue – just that all the nits he picked, I never noticed.

  18. ribobura osserotto says:

    First World Problems: The Movie, starring people who take 2 to 5 years to make games that any decent programmer could make from scratch in a few hours.

    • Eclipse says:

      I’m quite a decent programmer I suppose, and few hours? not really, great games aren’t only about getting the mechanics done, but also about getting the levels just right, Super Meat Boy level design is something nothing short but amazing.

      About Fez, yes, I agree they took too much, but they started from scratch many times apparently, and it was their first game

      • ribobura osserotto says:

        The level design is one thing, which is likely not handled by programmer. Programming the engine is another. I like it how the SMB coder goes on saying how he’s a very, VERY good programmer and it took him to two years to polish a simple 2D physics engine. And given that at this point SMB STILL has simple bugs that were never fixed, shows just how much effort he really put into it. It’s not a bad game if you like trial and error, but it’s certainly something that could’ve been finished in 1/4 of the time it took.

        • fucrate says:

          It’s fun to say things that we’ve never done are easy, yeah? I could have built the Eiffel Tower in, like, a week tops.

          By the way, in case you’re wondering, yes I’m saying you’re an idiot.

          • ribobura osserotto says:

            >throws a strawman
            >wraps it up with an ad hominem
            >fails to present any counter argument

            I’m sorry if I hurt your sensitivity by being down to earth. I guess some people people are just unable to handle the truth about themselves when they see it in others.

            And I’ts a funny thing you use that Eiffel Tower argument. You know what was also made in roughly two years of time? The original Elite game, by David Braben and Ian Bell, in all of its 3D procedural complexity. That was back in 1984 and it was fully programmed in raw machine code. By two people only. In stone-age computers.

          • fucrate says:

            It’s not an ad homonym, I’m telling you you’re an idiot. What strawman did I throw up? You haven’t made a game like SMB, therefore your opinion on how long it should take is based in pure speculation. It’s interesting how many people throw up rhetorical terms without actually knowing what they mean in an attempt to win internet arguments.

            You’re not down to earth, you’re being a bitch because people you deem pretentious and whiny are more successful than you are. I understand how that’s rough on your ego, huge as it is.

          • ribobura osserotto says:

            >It’s not an ad homonym, I’m telling you you’re an idiot.

            B-but that’s an ad hominem

            >What strawman did I throw up?

            This:

            >It’s fun to say things that we’ve never done are easy, yeah? I could have built the Eiffel Tower in, like, a week tops.

            I never said it’s a matter of being easy. It’s a matter of taking way less time and resources to do something like that on an average basis than they make it seem. Obviously you still need to know your way around programming, but lazyness and talent can perfectly co-exist.

            >You haven’t made a game like SMB, therefore your opinion on how long it should take is based in pure speculation.

            I’m not a cook, but I can tell when food tastes bad or is poorly served. I might have not made a game, but I know how they are made, and I know people who, in fact, have made them, and they all have a similar opinion, regarding this matter. Besides, it’s not that you could simply deduct the same through sheer common sense.

            >It’s interesting how many people throw up rhetorical terms without actually knowing what they mean in an attempt to win internet arguments.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

            It’s funny how people still try to pass logical fallacies as valid points.

            >You’re not down to earth, you’re being a bitch because people you deem pretentious and whiny are more successful than you are. I understand how that’s rough on your ego, huge as it is.

            Right, so it’s just jealousy. It has nothing to do with the fact that I have played all these games, discussed them with plenty of people, and, based on that, formed an opinion that they are not that good, considering the praising that they have been getting. I’ll just return to my cardboard box and spend the rest of the day dreaming about hanging all indie devs for their success and abundance of beautiful woman surrounding them (except for Edmund McMillen).

        • Mctittles says:

          I’d have to agree here. I was amazed after finding out they used the monitor refresh for timing in their engine, after finding most of the levels broke with my monitor. It’s 60hz or broken. I’ve been programming since the Apple II and people learned back then not to base your game timing on anything but….time.
          I think they said it would be too difficult to fix to….what?

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            Crimsoneer says:

            Both of those teams produced some of the highest rated games on metacritic. I think they’ve done pretty much an okay job.

          • ribobura osserotto says:

            Metacritic scores do not account for quality or effort. They account for hype and fanboyism, for the most part. No one should trust metacritic (or any other major review site) as a reliable source.

          • MondSemmel says:

            I find that metacritic scores align quite well with my interests, much better than you describe here.
            For example, metacritic is already sufficiently useful when none of my favorite games (i.e. those games I think of when I say “This is why I’m a gamer!”) have metacritic scores below 75. Many of my favorite games have no scores at all (lack of reviews, which is a real problem), I’ll give you that. And a metacritic 86 game surely isn’t necessarily better than a metacritic 85 game. But the scores have _some_ predictive power.

            And rather than “trusting” major review sites on whether a game shows quality and effort, here’s a better idea: Play the games yourself. Not having a console, I haven’t played Fez. But I have played Super Meat Boy and Braid, and both games are among my favorite games out there – indie or otherwise. They also show great amounts of polish.

            And on the matter of development time:
            Here’s an interview/lecture where Jonathan Blow shows a prototype of Braid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwsi7TEQxKc
            That’s what the game looked like after ~10 days of work. Many aspects are recognizable even in the finished game. Is it so hard to acknowledge that polishing one’s game takes the overwhelming majority of time and effort?

          • ribobura osserotto says:

            @MondSemmel

            >But the scores have _some_ predictive power.

            If you’re focusing on mainstream games, that does make perfect sense as popular games are generally well-liked ones, although, like I just said, that does not really account for quality and effort. For instance, Mass Effect 3 has a 93 score, and we all know the controversies the game spawned, including hundreds of angry fans downvoting the user score at the Metacritic profile for the game.

            >Play the games yourself. Not having a console, I haven’t played Fez. But I have played Super Meat Boy and Braid, and both games are among my favorite games out there – indie or otherwise. They also show great amounts of polish.

            I did play all 3. But the matter here isn’t these being necessarily good or bad, but how the work involved to make these is grossly overblown in the movie, and even associated with feelings of depression. Making a platformer in a timespan as large as 2 to 5 years, can only be stressful if you have a second full time job and a truckload of personal problems to take away your time. There’s always effort involved, that’s for sure, but then again none of these games are exactly rocket science in terms of complexity and graphics. They’re in fact very simple games as far as their mechanics go.

            >That’s what the game looked like after ~10 days of work. Many aspects are recognizable even in the finished game. Is it so hard to acknowledge that polishing one’s game takes the overwhelming majority of time and effort?

            Blow is actually the one I give the more credit to since, he seemed to alter a lot of things for the game along the way. Now I’ll promise I will take a look at that video (1:45 hours is a lot and I need to muster the patience) but at this point there’s a very simple explanation for that: he’s simply not a very good programmer on his own. Compare that to how John Carmack managed to program the whole engine for Wolfenstein 3D in less than an year, while actually figuring out how the deal with the introduction of 3D perspective in videogames at the same time, (here’s a short video on the subject by the way: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amDtAPHH-zE ) and it certainly makes you wonder why these modern indie devs took so much time when they actually have more methods and resources at their disposal nowadays.

    • Skabooga says:

      people who take 2 to 5 years to make games that any decent programmer could make from scratch in a few hours.

      Perhaps, but this only reinforces the idea good games come from places of imagination and creativity, thus making these qualities as important as programming skills to game creators. Any decent programmer may be able to program a similar game, but the fact that none among the myriad programmers in the world did surely speaks to the necessity of these artistic qualities.

      To make an analogy, there may be many out there with the technical skills to draw or paint to exact specifications: perfectly round circles, triangles with sides of equal length and angles of equal degree, and hundreds of straight lines in parallel to each other with nary a one canting from its course, but it takes the spark of artistic vision to turn these skills into something of beauty: a vase of flowers or a moonlit landscape. Sometimes, even their lack of technical ability is compensated for by their abundance of artistic merit.

      • ribobura osserotto says:

        >Any decent programmer may be able to program a similar game, but the fact that none among the myriad programmers in the world did surely speaks to the necessity of these artistic qualities.

        There’s a difference between “doing something” and “not getting the PR for it”. There are plenty of people doing not only similar things, but in fact doing it better, more effectively and in less time, while these people take all the accolades for a whole generation. Look at the folks who did Frogatto and Wesnoth or the guy that made every single Touhou game. All of these are great, very well polished games no major gaming news blog gives a rats ass about.

        >but it takes the spark of artistic vision to turn these skills into something of beauty

        Are you serious? None of these games have anything sublime going for it. They sure have their dose of pretentiousness and hot air though. Meat Boy is decent, again, if you like Trial and Error, but Fez feels like playing a bunch of rooms full of nothing.

        • fucrate says:

          Lemme guess, you made a game and nobody wrote about it? Turns out your PR is just as good as Team Meats is, your game just sucked. Cry about it more.

          • Salt says:

            I’d be interested to hear how you explain Fez having a significant following from the first weeks of its development, when it was Phil Fish’s first ever game.

            It cannot be due to the pure quality of the game as no one had played it. It cannot be due to the quality of past games (as was the case of Super Meat Boy, which after all was a sequel to Meat Boy). It had fairly cute pixel graphics, but there are an awful lot of games that do. It had an interesting enough gimmick, but that had appeared in several games already. The extensive puzzles hidden throughout the game which turned out to be what was most interesting about it were only revealed after the game was released. At a point in time several years before that release, he posted a handful of screenshots and was showered with attention.

            Phil Fish is extremely good at getting attention, even if it’s often of the “any publicity if good publicity” kind.

            (P.S. if you’re going for the same approach, you need to make your insults more personal. Just telling people that their unseen game sucks isn’t going to get headlines.)

          • MadTinkerer says:

            “I’d be interested to hear how you explain Fez having a significant following from the first weeks of its development, when it was Phil Fish’s first ever game.”

            I can defend that easily (and I’m not a Phil Fish fan): Fez’s core mechanic looked and is awesome. Regardless of all the controversy and drama, the game itself is frickin’ awesome. This may have unfortunate consequences in the future, for example, the possibility of Phil pulling a John Romero and failing HUGE if/when he splits from his current team, but the game itself is extremely interesting and extremely well executed.

            EDIT: Okay, maybe the game wasn’t finished at the time, but if we’re talking about why a documentary was made featuring him, controversy and drama is a bonus for documentary directors, not a problem.

          • ribobura osserotto says:

            Projecting much brah? There isn’t much of a point in replying to strawmen, but still, no, I haven’t made a game. I do however know a lot of games that deserve more press coverage and their own documentaries than SMB, Fez and Braid all put together (and I’ve already mentioned some. could mention a lot more). These 3 are literally some the most underwhelming indie titles this generation has to offer. Most of their success is either due to community hype (SMB started as Newgrounds flash game, which granted it plenty of visibility) or plain visual gimmicks, like Fez’s perspective shift, which, albeit seemingly impressive at first glance (I myself remember being impressed by it when I first saw it) delivers very little in terms of gameplay and originality.

            There is also some controversy regarding the IGF awards jury, especially on the Fez case. From what I’ve heard Fish is close to some of the members of the jury. They’re just rumours, but it sounds kinda fishy when the same unfinished game manages to win two IGF awards in separate years, especially when there’s much to consider, in terms of ethics, the attitude of entering the same competition twice, after already having won awards on it once.

          • Premium User Badge

            RobF says:

            It’s a conspiracy now too? Man!

          • ribobura osserotto says:

            @RobF

            Oh, hey there mate, how’s the anal pain going for you? Still ignoring the essential points as usual and focusing on the negligible ones aight? Don’t worry mate, I have a source for you this time as well, just so you don’t think ol’ uncle Osserotto has gone crazy.

            http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/03/07/the-competition-the-story-behind-the-igfs-critics/

          • Premium User Badge

            RobF says:

            Dude, Fez won the IGF because people liked the game.

            You’re going to have to deal with that, man. Because that’s what happened.

          • ribobura osserotto says:

            >”B-but it’s just a silly theory and you’re silly”
            >show evidence
            >”b-but t-they won, so that must mean the game is good no matter what, and you just have to deal with it”

            haha, oh you.

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            RobF says:

            That’s not evidence of some form of conspiracy, the IGF is a competition where you get judged by your peers. Indie developers and people associated with the indie scene know each other is not news unless you’re a barmpot.

            Given how many other entrants will know members ofthe jury and/or Brandon (who if you’re calling corrupt, you’re more hilarious than I first thought) and who didn’t win…

            I’m afraid that yes, Fez won because people liked it. Soz man, it’s true.

          • ribobura osserotto says:

            I’m not saying it’s matter of straight corruption, but it’s not uncommon for judges to be biased towards hyped projects, regardless of the actual quality of the game, much like professional video game reviewers will all too often give insane scores to triple A titles, that turn out to be not that good on the audience’s eyes after release. Erik Kain has written some wonderful articles on this phenomenon for his Forbes magazine gaming blog, after the big PR disaster that was Mass Effect 3, touching this matter, which I highly recommend you to read, if you’re interested on the subject, (I’m not going to link this time, because they’re actually quite a few, and I don’t feel like digging around the archives ATM).

            So again, don’t always believe the winner is the most deserving candidate, especially when you’re competing with games such as Frozen Synapse (my personal favourite this year), Spelunky, and Dear Esther.

            But all things considered, you are also right to a certain degree because, much like I said before, this is mostly rumours and sociopsychology. What nevertheless stands as a cold hard fact, is that Fez entered the same god darned competition after having won awards on it once, which is a fairly rotten thing to do, if you ask me.

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            RobF says:

            It’s also not uncommon for people to like the game.

          • ribobura osserotto says:

            Certainly not, but it’s quite uncommon to like an award-winning game so much, you allow it to enter the same competition twice. Heck, that’s like a 2010 game getting GOTY 2012 awards.

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            RobF says:

            Which would be a reasonable-ish argument but for three points:

            1) Fez didn’t win the IGF twice. It won a prize for artwork early on in it’s development, not the IGF prize itself. So, it’s won two things at the IGF over the space of 5 years for entirely different things.

            2) Re-entering the IGF is not something sly and untoward. There are a good proportion of each years entrants made up of previous entrants. It is very much normal.

            3) The Fez that was entered previously only had the art style and flipping in common with the Fez that eventually won the grand prize. Unlike the majority of re-entrants, Fez was an entirely different game on second punt through.

            So, not “won the IGF twice”, even if it had it doesn’t matter as loads of people re-enter the same game and anyway, if it did matter, it was a vastly different game by re-entry anyway.

            Not that you’ll accept any of this, so determined are you to apply other motivation rather than the bleeding fucking obvious one that people just happened to like the game, mind you. But still, it comes down to it, Fez won the grand prize because people like it.

          • ribobura osserotto says:

            >Fez didn’t win the IGF twice. It won a prize for artwork early on in it’s development, not the IGF prize itself. So, it’s won two things at the IGF over the space of 5 years for entirely different things.

            An award is still an award, and it seems unfair for previous award winners to keep hoarding minor awards until they get the grand prize, which is theoretically possible. Not only this should be your queue not to re-enter the cerimony, from an ethical standpoint, it should also be part of the rules, given that a system that allows this can easily be exploited, much like Fez did. Keep in mind that the awards also include an associated cash prize, which makes the whole thing even more questionable.

            >Re-entering the IGF is not something sly and untoward. There are a good proportion of each years entrants made up of previous entrants. It is very much normal.

            Well, obviously, given that the rules allow it, and it makes sense for less-known, evolving projects that are truly trying to get some publicity. That doesn’t make it any more correct for previous award winners to re-enter the competition. In fact, after researching the archives of the IGF site, I believe Fez was the 1st game to ever do such a thing. And it wasn’t a project exactly lacking publicity and/or funds. Like it or not, this is still a rotten thing to do, and I sincerely hope they change the rules for good so this situation never happens again.

            >The Fez that was entered previously only had the art style and flipping in common with the Fez that eventually won the grand prize. Unlike the majority of re-entrants, Fez was an entirely different game on second punt through.

            But that’s literally all there is to Fez. The level design might have changed, but the mechanics remain the same. In the movie they even explain it that the main reason for it to take so long was that Phil redesigned most levels 3 times. So it was certainly not an entirely different game. It was the same game with different levels (even though that when comparing the current levels to most old screenshots and videos, I’m more inclined to say *slightly* different).

            >Not that you’ll accept any of this, so determined are you to apply other motivation rather than the bleeding fucking obvious one that people just happened to like the game, mind you. But still, it comes down to it, Fez won the grand prize because people like it.

            There seems to be a little misunderstanding here. I don’t think the game is that bad, nor do I censor other people for liking it. What really rustles my jimmies here is the fact that people are giving these games far more credit than they deserve, in almost every aspect. Fez is a fairly decent game, and an average puzzle-platformer at best, but it’s certainly not worth a 9.5 out of 10 and it’s certainly not an amazing or innovative achievement in terms of what it does, given that there are other games that did the flipping gimmick before. Again, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying it, but don’t come rubbing it on my face like if it was the second coming of jesus, or worse, having a whole damn movie dramatizing the whole development process, like if you went through hell and came back, just to make the game, because that is absolute bullshit. Plus, there’s the media attention which oh so often privileges the popular over the deserving. That is why all over the history of videogames, you have fantastic titles that hardly got any press, much less any acknowledgment, and opposite to that, you have plenty of horribly flawed or just plain average games getting great scores just because they hail from a big development house. When you get all this this hype around your project, in fact it’s hard not to lose, even when your game is an unfinished buggy mess, like how Minecraft managed to win the two major prizes on last year’s IGFs. Thinking that none of these things affected the judges’ decision, is a naive view at least.

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            RobF says:

            “What really rustles my jimmies here is the fact that people are giving these games far more credit than they deserve”

            If only they could see the truth! SHOW THEM THE WAY, SISTER.

          • ribobura osserotto says:

            Amen brutha.

        • Skabooga says:

          Oh, no, I wasn’t necessarily defending these games in the absolute, merely that I thought it was irrelevant that they took the amount of time they did to program, or that programming was not their creators’ first skill.

          • loud says:

            You can’t judge an engine without taking a look under the hood. From what I understand there are some pretty impressive features. Besides, have you ever released a game for mass market consumption? There is a level of polish required to be seen by the public as something substantial. The main ingredient is a magic formula that requires one to crush their own soul into powder and liquefying. It’s the only way to make a good game great. I’m sure he built a basic engine in a weekend too, but it takes a long time to polish.

            Unfortunately the internet at large doesn’t care to research a topic before making a snap judgement. It’s just easier to hurl vitriol. So pleasant.

            Edit: This was meant to be in reply to ribobura et al…

          • ribobura osserotto says:

            @Skabooga It is relevant when the creators THEMSELVES make it relevant. That’s the whole point of this movie, and that’s where it is blatantly tricking the audience! It’s all shot and scripted to give the impression it was a big gargantuan effort to make a game like Super Meat Boy, and make it all seem like a campy drama. There’s plenty of work, involved, I won’t argue that, but they’re straight bulshitting us when they claim they have to deal with a lot of pressure in a 2 to 5 year schedule, when I’ve seen single individuals or small teams, making better games, with superior graphics and more complex mechanics, in 1/4 of the time. Cave Story took roughly the same amount of time to make (4 years IIRC), but the difference is that the creator never mentioned how hard it was to make or, in fact, ever expected to receive praise from it. He literally did it for fun, in his free time. So, to sum it all up, what is wrong here is not how long it took to make, but rather that they use that time frame excuse to make it seem there was a lot more effort, work and pressure involved in the proccess than it actually was. If you spend two years making a game like SMB, you’re either an absolute amateur who is learning how to do basic things (and keep in mind Team Meat’s programmer make sure he mentions in the beginning of the film that he’s a VERY, VERY, GOOD PROGRAMMER) or you’re straight procrastinating half of the time. Hailing from a generation who saw the emergence of plenty of underrated videogame classics made by tiny dev teams and bedroom programmers, I find the whole attitude of this documentary to be almost insulting to those people.

            @loud

            >You can’t judge an engine without taking a look under the hood

            That’s a half-truth at best. You can judge an engine by looking at how the game makes use of its features. In this case, even if their engine exceeds the game’s demands by a large amount, then it shows poor managing and organization from the devs part for wasting time and resources by making something they don’t need (unless you’re aiming to sell your engine as a development platform, which is a different situation).

            >Besides, have you ever released a game for mass market consumption? There is a level of polish required to be seen by the public as something substantial.

            This is an all too common misconception. Even Triple A games fail to deliver bug-free games nowadays. In fact it’s a lot more frequent to see more polish from FOSS games than commercial ones, given that the latter are often rushed to meet deadlines and milestones. Also Team Meat never really fixed simple SMB bugs such as this:

            not to mention the grand database SNAFU

            http://gamingirresponsibly.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/itsfinetrustme.png

            >Unfortunately the internet at large doesn’t care to research a topic before making a snap judgement. It’s just easier to hurl vitriol.

            Frankly, that seems to be what you’re doing at the moment.

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            RobF says:

            Are you telling people who make games how much more you know about making them than them again?

            Never not funny!

          • loud says:

            You obviously must have released many games on a tight schedule in order to deem it so easy.

            When I talk about level of polish I’m talking about game feel, not lack of any and all bugs…

            But again, I will re-iterate that you cannot judge an engine by how it looks. There are system configurations to be considered. The SMB engine could export to PC / Wii / Xbox and I think even PS3 if I remember correctly. There are toolsets and editors to be created. It takes a long time to create an engine that you can hand to a designer with the full control and functionality that they require to create levels without needing to touch the game code. There are more considerations that I care to enumerate as obviously you get off on your own supposed superiority to consider that maybe you don’t know everything.

            No, you don’t create an engine that does this all of this in a weekend. No you don’t see any of these features without looking under the hood. Yes, that’s the full truth.

          • ribobura osserotto says:

            @RobF

            No man. I’m telling cheap iPhone game makers they’re not special little snowflakes just because they sell geometry wars clones on the appstore and suddenly think of themselves as artists.

            @loud

            >You obviously must have released many games on a tight schedule in order to deem it so easy.

            It’s not a matter of being easy. There’s always effort and talent involved, and I have no trouble acknowledging that. It’s a matter of taking a lot less time if you do your shit right. Now, they’re absolutely free to take whatever the time they want, I agree with that. But as I just replied to skabooga, it’s pure movie bullshit claiming there’s any time pressure when you take two years to make something like this, especially when you still manage to deliver a buggy release version.

            >But again, I will re-iterate that you cannot judge an engine by how it looks.

            And again I will re-iterate it’s not a matter of how it looks, but the matter of what it does. “Game feel” is something esoteric to talk about on such grounds, as it is the ensemble of both mechanics graphics and sound, which is something I’m not discussing here. However if by feel you mean about control smoothness, than it’s something that’s quite easy to analyze and replicate with a great degree of accuracy.

            >The SMB engine could export to PC / Wii / Xbox and I think even PS3 if I remember correctly. There are toolsets and editors to be created.

            As if that is minimally impressive. The editors do require some extra effort, so I gotta agree with you on that. Still hardly accounts for two years of work, though.

            >There are more considerations that I care to enumerate as obviously you get off on your own supposed superiority to consider that maybe you don’t know everything.

            I do not think of myself as knowing everything, but I sure do know the blatantly obvious. And what is obvious in this case is that taking 2 to 5 years to make a game like Fez or SMB and make it sound like you were working every minute of it, is absolutely preposterous, especially when there are similar games made by same-sized crews made in a lot less time, for free, with less bugs that are still supported and patched nowadays. Meanwhile SMB still suffers from simple collision bugs.

            >No, you don’t create an engine that does this all of this in a weekend. No you don’t see any of these features without looking under the hood. Yes, that’s the full truth.

            You do create an engine that does what Meat Boy’s Engine does in over the weekend in terms of gameplay, that is running, jumping, associated phsyics, and basic collision (in fact there’s even a competition for 48 hour games you might have heard of: Ludum Dare). And yes, you can analyze and even replicate these features by observing how the controls work, how the physics play, and how the collisions are detected. So please get your head out of your arse and realize we are talking about a simple 2D platformer with nothing particularly complex or unique going for it. It would credible and even acceptable if they said they spent most of the time working on level design, doing and redoing levels, but the movie itself shows that two weeks before release, the programmer is still behind schedule. Now considering that he claimed that he is a very good programmer right from the start, there’s only two options here: 1 – he was lying, and 2 – he spent most of time doing things other than programming.

      • Mctittles says:

        Point is if you are going to gloat about how great you are at programming, you should actually be great at it.

    • Kaira- says:

      >any decent programmer in few hours

      Yeeaaaaah, how about no? Unless you want hardcoded spaghetti with one resolution and no rebindable keys, bugs out of wazoo and just general mess, you are talking out of your ass.

      • ribobura osserotto says:

        The groundwork for a simple 2D platformer engine could be done in a few hours by an experienced programmer, that I guarantee. Also hyperbole, etc, etc, etc.

    • mintman says:

      You’re kidding, right?

      As a programmer who has actually competed in Ludum Dare – you’re full of shit. If any experienced programmer could make himself a millionaire by coding Super Meat Boy in a few hours he would do it.

      Here’s a subset of the systems that were probably needed to build Super Meat Boy. I’ve found some of this information in the Super Meat Boy postmortem on Gamasutra. And remember that these features were implemented in C++, from scratch. (The Flash version of Meat Boy was built by a different developer, and even then it pales in comparison to the final game.)

      – Tools
      – An in-game level editor
      – A flash exporter for art and sound assets

      – Loading content
      – Cutscenes
      – Sprites

      – Rendering
      – Animated sprite rendering
      – Tilemap rendering
      – Parallax backgrounds
      – Particles
      – Effects (Lighting)
      – Transitions
      – Text rendering

      – Sound and Music

      – Gameplay
      – Core platforming gameplay
      – Player
      – Floor Jumping
      – Squishing
      – Wall jumping
      – In-air movement
      – Platforms
      – Hazards
      – Goals
      – Scripted events
      – Bosses
      – Special maps
      – Replay logic
      – Special characters
      – Animation logic

      – UI
      – Main menu
      – Level selection
      – High scores

      – Multiplatform requirements
      – Memory limitations
      – Input specifics

      – Network
      – Score server code
      – Level host code
      – Client code for both of these services

      And I’m probably not even halfway there.

      We’re not talking about some iOS devs who used Unity or Cocos2D to build a mediocre game in four months – he wrote this code himself because of the level of control he wanted. Also, you keep quoting 2 years when it was 1.5.

      A single programmer like Tommy Refenes finishing a game in 18 months is a pretty incredible accomplishment. He also had the requirement to create tools for Edmund to use during development, while talking with Microsoft to meet requirements for launching on XBLA.

      I don’t know how the internet got so fucking entitled but it drives me insane – that database shit where everyone got up in arms was stupid. I would understand the freakout if the database held any kind of important data, but that wasn’t the case. It was high scores and levels. And some asshole comes along and decides to mess with it –

      It’s like running up to a cyclist in a park who isn’t wearing a helmet.
      “Hey, you’re not wearing a helmet.”
      “I’m in a park, and I don’t imagine I’ll be hurt if I fall.”
      “But something could happen.”
      “Seriously, it’s fine, I’ve done this kind of thing before -”
      And then punching him to the ground.

      I have a great deal of respect for these developers – they reached for the stars and actually achieved it. Tommy and Edmund took a year and a half. Jonathan Blow took three years. Phil Fish took five, but he still got there.

      I’m pretty sure that any experienced programmer, and one who isn’t a total cock would probably have a similar level of respect for the programmers in this film.

      Seriously, try actually programming and finishing a polished game sometime. Get experienced, and then you can call bullshit on me instead of speaking from a position of ignorance.

      • ribobura osserotto says:

        Except I’m not implying the whole thing could be done in a few hours/days, but rather the basics of gameplay, with no art/sound/levels included, as I’ve already discussed that in other posts. Nevertheless, three years for a platformer is only a lot of time if you’re either an amateur or if you’re doing it in your spare time, and in fact, I’ve known hobbyists who have done in less time. If you have respect for this people, I humbly suggest you build a shrine for John Carmack ASAP, because the man managed to program the entirety of Wolfenstein 3D in about 6 months with half the means and support modern devs have nowadays.

  19. Eclipse says:

    Well the movie just shows Ed and Tommy are awesome guys while Fish looks a bit of a douche, I’d like to have less about him and more about Fez’s coder, that did an hell of a job and is never truly recognized (this tells a lot about Fish too I suppose). Overall a pleasant experience, well directed, all those little animations really adds up a lot

  20. Buemba says:

    I really dug it it. Maybe my love of SMB is tainting my view, but I thought the Team Meat segments were spectacular and almost got me teared up and the brief Jon Blow segments were very interesting.

    I agree some of the Phil Fish segments were kinda goofy and the pool scene made my eyes roll so hard I got a bit dizzy (Plus it’s hard to care about the antagonism between him and his mysterious ex business partner when I already know how it ends), but there were some good moments there as well and Fish came across as a pretty passionate fellow, which is something I can’t fault him for.

    Edit: Calling it “First World Problems: The Movie” is a bit sensationalistic, isn’t it? What did the author of the article expect out of a movie about people creating what is ostensibly luxury entertainment for personal gain? Working hard on something for months or years hoping it’s good enough and can earn enough money to sustain you and your family on a market dominated by large companies that spend millions developing and focus testing their products to make them as appealing to as large an audience as possible isn’t dramatic enough?

    Nobody goes into game development to save an impoverished community from destruction or to change the world, not to mention that to even think about developing a game you need programing knowledge, access to (What in several parts of the world still is) expensive hardware and, if you want your game to be good, a passing familiarity with older games, so it would be hard to make it about third world problems.

    • Premium User Badge

      Saul says:

      I saw it on a big screen as part of an IGDA event, and I really enjoyed it, while remaining slightly concerned that the general public will now believe that every Indie dev in the world really needs a therapist. I’m certainly not going to hate on Fish. He’s a messed up guy, and I wouldn’t want him as a friend, but he has clearly had some bad stuff go down in his life, and he came acros as very vulnerable. Ed McMillan, on the other hand, was the heart of the film – he came across as a beautiful human being. I’d love to count him as a friend!

  21. Hatsworth says:

    8€ for only 94 minutes of playtime? Total ripoff I say.

  22. wazups2x says:

    Out of ALL of the indie devs out there these are the last ones I want to watch a movie based on.

    That Fez guy and his stupid PC comment and Team Meat being annoying and making false promises.

    There’s so many awesome indie devs out there. It really is too bad that they chose to base the movie off of two of the only indie devs I don’t like.

  23. Viod says:

    I enjoyed the film. It was really good, even in its “artificial” parts.
    I don’t know what’s your problem guys, being so rude to them and saying “hurr 3 years of work, i can do that in 3 days durr!!11!!1one!”.
    It’s really stupid, you know that, don’t you?

    Maybe those aren’t first world problem for me or for you, but they are for them.
    I mean, the perception of our problems in life is really subjective, so how can you judge?
    They are doing a good work with their games, at the end of the film i was really happy for them.

    They opened themselves as they are: crazy, paranoid, depressed and really tired, but not for show, not for money, just to tell their story and show the people-behind-side of indie gaming.

    I can summarize the whole film in: “Don’t be mean to those who make mistakes, they are people with their lives, problems, emotions and we are talking about videogames, not medical equipment”.
    Come on, just enjoy a good film. =)

    • Premium User Badge

      kregg says:

      I agree. Well said.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      The perception of a problem may be subjective, but if you are wearing a bloated belly from near-starvation and perpetually dizzy from not getting enough water and cancer from the fumes of the burning PC graveyard shit around you, then that is not something you can “choose to feel” about.

      Fuck all this self-righteousness. There is a difference between being born and living in shit and squalor and “woe-is-me”-ing in the first world with healthcare, stocked supermarkets and more income from begging in the street than others make in 16 hour workday sweatshops.

      If you want to argue that, then I pity the fool.

      Sure its subjective whether or not you have to cry when you break a nail, but draw a line somewhere dude.

  24. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    I think we all want to know whether this film finally blows the lid off the truth as to exactly how many more shirts than armpits Jonathan Blow has.

  25. RegisteredUser says:

    Jeez, I never even heard anything about Fish before, but just reading this one article makes me think he’s a walking representation of “How to be a pretentious douche 101″.
    And this with it being from a guy who LIKES him.

  26. Jimbo says:

    GamesMaster, I shave and don’t wear glasses – can I still be an indie dev?

  27. DeanLearner says:

    I enjoyed the Super Meat Boy parts and was genuinely happy for them at the end. I feel for Tommy, I got the impression he got no emotional satisfaction from finishing the game and its success (though I am sure him being able to pay off his parents mortgage was a nice feeling). I hope this was just because the vibe the movie gave off and he did enjoy it.

    On the other hand, I felt it quite difficult to have any sympathy for the troubles Phil had. His rant about the ex partner felt forced and it seemed that either he or the makers of IGTM thought “Ok, I want to make sure the viewer senses anger in this scene!” or “Right, we really need them to know you’re upset now” instead of him just being angry or upset. The shot taken from behind the bar/underwater felt tacky to me, it seemed forced. Also complaining about the unstable build… this was your build, you fucked it up.

    This probably comes from some personal bitterness because I can’t yet do this myself but… I didn’t like hearing complaints about working on a game 24/7 and not really doing anything else. I speak as someone who hasn’t done it, but I’d love to have the opportunity to do this and consider it a gift that they’re able to.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      “I didn’t like hearing complaints about working on a game 24/7 and not really doing anything else”

      Well, if you’re a misanthrope and exceptionally single-minded, I suppose it wouldn’t be a big deal giving up any sort of social life and whatever hobbies and recreational activities you engage in. Otherwise, I can see how it’s not entirely positive.

  28. Enikuo says:

    I really enjoyed it, but I’d like to see more around the actual process of making the games. I guess that’s difficult at the indie level, given that a lot of the process is in their heads, as opposed to working on a big team where design decisions have to be vetted by a team. There were some really good bits from Jon Blow and I enjoyed when Ed was talking about how they designed the first chapter. I would have liked more of that and less pool shots.

  29. Sunjammer says:

    The hard part about making a game is not writing the engine or writing the mechanics. It is finishing the game and delivering a complete object.

    Any bitching and moaning about code quality or time spent is utterly irrelevant. The game is done, you done your job. I’ve been programming for 12 years and I have started and aborted so many games I can’t even count them. At a point now where something looks to really gain some momentum, but carrying a day job and a normal life AND finishing this game? It’s a simple project, but *maybe* it’ll be done this year. Reality.

  30. zeekthegeek says:

    One thing I’ve heard that’s concerning: the stuff RE: Phil Fish’s ex business partner is fraudulent straight up. He actually asked to be in the film and tell his story, but the filmmakers decided to frame him as more of an asshole for the sake of Drama.

  31. PPOY52 says:

    I thought the movie was really good, and Phil Fish felt genuine to me. More of Jonathan would have stepped it up a notch though since he’s brilliant.

  32. Lucky Main Street says:

    I really would like a movie that explains game design principles with examples, philosophy, etc. Does anything like this exist?