Indie Game: The Movie

By: Derek Yu

On: May 19th, 2010

Lisanne Pajot and James Swirksy, the directors who filmed the impressive short about Alec Holowka and Infinite Ammo, are working on a feature length film about indie games, the aptly titled Indie Game: The Movie. The movie aims to explore the human side of independent game development by filming and interviewing “close to 10-15 (maybe more) game developers, critics, and industry personalities”. The full list of people who will be in the movie has not been announced, although Flashbang Studios, Enemy Airship, Polytron, Team Meat (see the above video), and Infinite Ammo have had footage gathered of them already. Actual filming of the documentary will begin in the Fall. In the meantime, people interested in supporting this lovely project can check out the Indie Game: The Movie Kickstarter page.

  • Eclipse

    *shots an arrow with a scroll attached*
    pffft… a movie?! you guys are too mainstream
    *rides into the sunrise*

  • Frank

    This looks like it's going to be great. Well done guys.

  • Tekno

    It shall be projected on the side of a mountain in the desert as part of Coachindie, where we shall gather and dance round pixels.


  • bateleur

    Edmund films really well. If I ever get filmed, every other word will be “erm”.

  • makoto

    wow, edmund is one ugly dude. i dunno what's worse, the emo glasses, the obesity or the neckbeard. and jesus christ he has the most annoying voice ever.

    you know what, i don't want to meet the developers. just show me their games and I'm fine. I don't need to know them beyond that, hell I'd rather prefer not to after seeing this.

  • Alec Holowka

    @makoto I think Edmund looks like a big cuddly teddy bear, personally.

    But let's see a picture of you, so that we have an idea of what an indie game adonis is supposed to look like. I'm a bit tired after spanking it to Edmund's sexy beard, but I bet have enough energy to give you a bonus round. ^_-

  • cavestory


    Tigsource, please add a “Dislike” feature. This comment is a perfect example why.

  • jisou

    am i the only one who thought that the title screen wasted a perfectly good snes controller? i mean the snipit is great but i cant help but think of that snes controller…

  • Edmund

    My glasses arnt emo!

  • AdamButcher

    Very good, professional.

    It's the sort of thing I might be able to show my Mum or something and they'd get a better sense why games and game design is worthwhile. Good luck with the whole “movie”!

  • JuJu

    I was gonna say something really mean, how I think you're a stupid ugly…but then I couldnt stop crying. I wish I was handsome with a rad voice, I wish I was making what looks like it's gonna be a pretty successful game with my friend, I wish someone thought I was remotely interesting enough to include me in their film…I wish a lot of stuff. I wish I had a girlfriend, I wish my pubes didn't get tangled :( I'm linking a picture of myself maybe someone out there wants to be my friend.

  • Wenis Martin

    Dolly pans aren't indie!!!!

  • Dodger


    Yes cavestory, you're right, because I really dislike your comment. Putz.

  • Dodger

    Don't worry Edmund, makoto is just suffering from penis envy and erectile dysfunction. Why else would someone make a rude comment while hiding behind anonymity… Yes, it's safe to say makoto can't get it up… though the Japanese name makoto can be given to both males and females… in this case it's obviously a male with dysfunctional male physical reproductive organs.

  • alastair_jack

    Neck beards are for men.

  • Dodger

    I wish you'd shuddap!

  • Connor

    Really interesting movie and segment. It must really suck losing the one person that really supports you and sees you as a “golden boy”

  • loch ness monster

    Well, “Makoto”, you obviously think that anyone other than a perfectly drawn anime character is ugly! Real people aren't photoshopped.

  • Edmund

    i am so photoshopped

  • notahater

    edmund make another video complaining about haters plz

  • rinkuhero

    what are you talking about, the guy from wolfire is the one with the weird voice

  • alastair john jack

    Wasn't a waste, those controllers look ugly.
    This SNES one looks nice:

  • bombboy

    Haters gonna hate, this stuff is good. Edmund embodies so many qualities of 'nice guy' it's more or less silly. I found enjoyment in this video! The constant glorifying of 'TEH INDIE GAMES' might or might not annoy some, and it might or it might not be good for the term 'indie' and what it starts to mean to people and what people it will encompass, etc.

    But this is still well done and entertaining. A guy talking about personal stuff can be incredibly boring or uncomfortable, but this was neither. I like people and personal stuff so I like it. Thumbs up etc!

  • bombboy

    Why did you post this? Is being rude a goal in itself for you? Curious.

    Anyways, don't watch the movie then. Do things you enjoy instead.

  • twofortea

    An SNES controller?

    So how many indie games were released on the SNES again?

  • Mr. Yapper

    Maybe it's because some indie devs are influenced by games of that era?

    I dunno.

  • earmenow

    I watched the video because of makato's comment and was disappoint to find… a perfectly normal looking person wearing a Melvins t-shirt, in fact I think Edmund has good style. Dammit I wanted to see some FREAAKS >=-|

  • Greg Vanderbeek

    It alludes to an era where game design as a global whole was still being fabricated, where creativity and things other than space marines in shiny bumpmapped suits were welcomed and embraced in gaming.

    Symbols. Lrn em'.

  • zillion

    “Maybe it's because some indie devs are influenced by games of that era?”

    Hardly, most indie games use sprite sizes of 16 x 16 (zoomed by 2, due to resolution constraints. 320×240 is no longer a supported video mode these days).

    An NES controller would've been more appropriate.

  • rich

    “Maybe it's because some indie devs are influenced by games of that era?”

    Indie seems a lot more inspired by the 8-bit and pre 8-bit era more than 16 bit like SNES. Some examples are the small sprite sizes, really limited use of color. Especially when it comes to music, you hear a lot more beeps and bloops than you hear orchestrated samples.

  • Alec Holowka

    I was inspired mostly by Amiga and SNES stuff. :)

  • Secret Admirer

    I'm really psyched for this.

  • Ignatius

    I was in Santa Cruz the other day, thinking how awesome it would be if I ran into Edmund McMillen.
    Anyway, movie looks cool, really well done.

  • Edmund

    you could live in SC for years and never see me, especially this year…

  • Mr. Yapper

    I don't really know much since I never had a SNES or a NES. Yeah, I missed out…

    But anyway, I didn't mean anything technical. I just meant manybe they had fond memories of playing those games?

  • PsychedelicWolf

    I'm going to say something here that's going to make Ed feel a little awkward. What I'm going to say is this: What on [insert your favourite deity that may or may not exist here]'s blue-green bauble are you babbling on about, man (or possibly woman)? As a gay bloke, I can honestly say that Ed has a very nice voice, and that he's softly spoken and eloquent are large bonuses, too. You're just so jealous. I would be, too, but I'm better than that.

    Of course, if you'd said that his voice is great but it's not quite as great as Steve Blum's, theeen… that I could agree with. Steve Blum's voice is my hero, and everything my voice aspires to be.

    Plus, I wish I looked or sounded that good on camera!

    Also of note: Apparently an inanimate object can possess the quality of being “emo” whilst also being nondescript and everyday. Fascinating! I'm sensing a little projection, there. That I am.

  • Laura

    I didn't realize Team Meat was from Santa Cruz, that's cool… I grew up about 40 minutes away from there. My friends and I used to go to First Night every New Year's. Anyways, the video looks great so far. I like how the various details about his childhood and family are edited together. And that shot of Edmund doing a funny pose with his niece is awesome :)

  • Edmund

    technically we are from SC and North Carolina, Tommy goes back and forth every other month.

    There are 3 other indie dev studios here though, Gaijin games, Cryptic Sea and Chronic logic. Also a few awesome indies run and attend the UCSC game design courses.

  • Laura

    Ah, that's cool you guys are able to make it work despite the distance. I've always felt like it's been so convenient to be able to work in the bay area since there are so many video game folks out here.

    Oh, now I remember why I thought you were from AZ… because I was talking with Danny about SMB and he's from there, oops :P

  • moi

    I like indie games, but this was not a very interesting documentary for me. Still a bit more bearable than a documentary about Jason Rorher though. I managed to watch a full 15 seconds. Mostly spent watching the funny beard and the seagulls.

  • Alec Holowka

    Yay, good for you! *claps*

  • chuan_l

    Finding it all a bit narcissistic and just another example of the worst aspects of indie games / re: overblown PR and marketing centered around a “canon” of developers who seem to be more famous for their personalities than game design. Reminds me a bit of the Robert Evans documentary “The Kid Stays in the Picture” in the way it seems to be trying to chronicle a movement and the people behind it, though I'm left thinking just what have these indie developers done to progress game design to make me give a shit?

    Slow claps to you all who've struck out and are able to support yourselves. That's fantastic and props for that but I think its premature to be trying to capture this movement if you will call it that when alot of the potentially interesting [ and difficult ] problems in game design are still largely unattempted. Following the example above of Paramount in the 70s, that was a big deal because those films felt like a corner had been turned and were inspirational enough to change how people wanted to make films. What have we to hold up to draw that same line in the sand instead, that makes us recognise that “we ain't in Kansas any more”?

    I do think that turning point is inevitable but there aren't enough people trying to get there. Rather there seems to be an emphasis on putting out something that is going to be a commercial success or suited to trying to top the app chart with some mindless gimmick instead of approaching questions of say procedural content, player agency, new experiences and ways to engage that are unique to interactive work. We have so much to do / stop staring at yourself in the mirror ..!

    — Chuan

  • Derek Yu

    These guys work insane hours on their games. It's like you're standing in the doorway going “chop chop, we have SO much work to do!” and they're all hunched over their keyboards with cobwebby beards, working on games they've already invested years in.

    Edmund alone has released a metric crapton of unique games and artwork in the 10 YEARS he's been an indie developer:

    So yeah, I don't know what you're going on about.

  • Derek Yu

    These guys work insane hours on their games. It's like you're standing in the doorway going “chop chop, we have SO much work to do!” and they're all hunched over their keyboards with cobwebby beards, working on games they've already invested years in.

    Edmund alone has released a metric crapton of experimental games and artwork in the 10 YEARS he's been an indie developer:

    So yeah, I don't know what you're going on about.

  • chuan_l

    I'm sure they do work insane hours, as do the people who make the games that score 50 – 60 on Metacritic and get laughed at. My opinion though, standing on the outside and from playing those games is that they aren't so different from stuff that was being made on the Amiga some 20 years ago and in terms of game design the same ideas keep getting re-hashed.

    At risk of upsetting the priests in the temple: how are those games / artwork experimental in nature? They look really nice and there's alot of skill inolved but how are they really trying to be something new and interesting? If anything its the opposite of experimental because you're going down the same route that you're good at all the time / and I suppose people are privileging the cult of personality and making a living off this stuff over really prodding and poking at game design issues ..

    — Chuan

  • MMM

    I can agree with what Chuan is saying, but I think a documentary about indies is relevant and interesting irregardless of whether they've changed the entire history of video games or not. It's still interesting, you know.

  • Derek Yu

    I see. Well, yeah, I think they are trying to be new and interesting, even if you're measuring “game design issues” as straight up mechanical innovation (personally, I think that's doing a bit of a disservice to video games). Gish was pretty innovative when it came out, long before Loco Roco and all the other imitators. Coil, Aether, and Time Fcuk all have some interesting mechanics, too. And there is only one Twin Hobo Rocket! But also, thematically and artwise all those games are pretty different, both from each other (I dunno, compare Aether and Time Fcuk) and from games made by other developers. Even Super Meat Boy feels pretty different when you actually play it.

    You make having a personality that people like seem like a bad thing… when really it's the heart and soul of indie games. It's an absolute blast to be able to play someone's game and feel them on the other end of it (no homo). And that's a big part of how indie games have “turned a corner”, so to speak. Auteur theory or whatever.

    But yeah, I hope they cover all kinds of creators in this film. You mentioned procedural content earlier – well, indie developers are doing stuff with it. Take Dwarf Fortress, for example, the most complex procedural roguelike/RPG/sim out there, bar none. I'd love to see Tarn interviewed for this. There are plenty of indie developers out there that BOTH have an interesting personality AND make innovative games, and actually, I find that not only are the two things not mutually exclusive, they go hand in hand. Let's not pretend that just because I like Edmund as a person that that somehow invalidates all of the work he's done.

    Anyway, I think calling it a “cult of personality” is a cop-out, that's all. Maybe I could say you're in a “cult of non-personality” – you hate on games that are made by popular people. How constructive would that be?

  • johnny

    let me guess, derek yu is mentioned in the movie?

  • lithander

    If I understand you correctly you accuse the indie developers not to think outside the box enough. Reiterating the same old gamedesign patterns instead of pushing the envelope.

    Two objections:

    First of all there are innovative indie games (like Sleep is Death to name a recent example) and they even influence the “big” commercial titles. Think of all the Warcraft 3 mods like DOTA or Tower Defense that spawned their own genre or Portal which has started out as an indie game.

    Secondly I think what's interesting about Indie game “movement” is that it liberates the media. Instead of being a closed, company-controlled type of media that you as an average guy only consume it turns into a media that you can express yourselves in. And in a meaningful way that reaches and influences a considerable number of people. That maybe even earns you a living.

    At the moment “game development” transforms from something only a group of professionals can do to something the average interested guy can start doing. Just like playing music in a band or writing poems or painting. I think that development is more important than seeing an evolution in game design. Digital distribution of content, cheaper and more powerfull tools but also an increased awareness of the games authors are the driving forces of this. If you care for the games you should care for the people involved creating them – people do that to an almost crazy degree in more traditional media like movies. (all the famous stars and directors…)

  • Peevish

    Dolly: a physical movement of the camera along tracks.
    Pan: a sideways swivel of the head of a camera wherein the camera stays stationary.