On the train ride home from NYC last week I watched Indie Game: The Movie. I had heard about it when Kevin Marks mentioned it on This Week in Google. To their credit, Indie Game picked up on it as well and wrote about it on their blog. They also saw my tweet and responded right away, which also impressed me:
It was initially a Kickstarter project, that went on to get funded in 48 hours. Since the film’s release it has won countless awards, including best documentary at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. You can buy the movie DRM free on their site for $9.99. It’s hard not to get behind an awesome project like this.
So what’s the movie about? Exactly what the title infers. They follow three groups of indie game makers as they push to release games that will make or break them. As a lifelong gamer, I was fascinated. But what really captivated me was how similar it was to starting a web venture. These guys are broke, stressed, working absurd hours, and unsure whether what they’re producing will be a success or not.
I can very much relate to that feeling. Just as it seems impossible for a two-man team to compete with a game released by EA, it’s just as impossible for a small team to create LockerPulse and compete with ESPN.com, or create DetailedImage and compete with incumbents in the auto industry.
As I was watching it, I could feel their pain. It wasn’t all that long ago that I was living at my parents house, working those ungodly hours, close to broke, staking my future on projects that I had no idea whether they’d pan out . That’s something that never quite leaves you. Watching this movie brought it all back, both the highs and the lows. If you want to feel what that’s like without actually feeling it, watch this movie.
There was a great quote was from Edmund McMillen, designer of the game Super Meat Boy, that kind of sums up the feeling:
I have to work until it’s done, and if it doesn’t get done I’m fucked. So no pressure.
If you’re an entrepreneur, a gamer, or both, I can’t recommend this documentary highly enough.
I’ve embedded the trailer below. Watch it, then watch the movie. You won’t regret it.