Indie Game: The Movie is a documentary made in 2012 by James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot, Canadian filmmakers who sought to find out just what makes independent game developers tick. Three games and their developers are showcased:
- Super Meat Boy by Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes;
- Fez by Phil Fish and Renaud Bédard; and
- Braid by Jonathan Blow.
The movie is set, after a brief Flash Forward at the beginning to Tommy's incredulity and disgust at absolutely no marketing for Super Meat Boy on the day of its release, about a year before Super Meat Boy's release, and follows the last stages of its development; while also chronicling the five-year cycle of Fez and Phil's near-suicidal depression as development stagnates and people keep complaining about delays; and then talks about Jonathan's efforts to inject a real story and feelings into this strange little game about time manipulation.
Be warned: some elements of these peoples' lives, such as the background behind Edmund's many games or Phil's aforementioned ardor to get Fez out, or the continuation of the Flash Forward from the beginning in which it's found that Microsoft failed to give Super Meat Boy a promised feature placement on the Games Marketplace on Xbox Live could border on Tear Jerker territory. Not to mention Phil's very palpable angst towards his unnamed former partner in his company, without whose signature on a release the showcase of Fez at PAX can't go forward.
On July 24, 2013, Lisanne and James came out with the Special Edition DLC for Steam, containing over an hour and a half of new content, more than the original movie! Epilogues, special insights and more for our consumption and education. BlinkWorks also came out with a super special Limited Edition boxed set containing over five hours of content on three DVDs or Blu-rays!
This documentary film contains examples of:
- Artistic License Law: Phil Fish may have some issues, apparently thinking that the worst that could happen if he "cold blooded fucking murdered" his ex-business partner is he could get everyone in trouble and get kicked out of PAX.
- Badass Beard: Edmund! At one point during the "Team Meat" audio commentary, Tommy's mom is said to have mentioned Edmund had a beautiful face.
- Blatant Lies: What the aforementioned "Team Meat" commentary primarily consists of; Tommy and Edmund trying to out-snark one another and tell outrageous (and hilarious) lies about the people in the film and their involvement in various games.Edmund: If you meet Jonathan Blow in real life and insult him, he will straight up punch you in the chest and kill you.Tommy: True fact: I actually made Fez. (seeing Phil Fish's first game on an outdated Apple Macintosh Classic) This is actually Fez, this is what Fez looks like.
- Censored for Comedy: Spammed to Overly Long Gag extent on the "Edmund and teh Internets" commentary.
- Cluster Bleep-Bomb: On the Commentary, when Ed and Tommy talk about how much money could have exchanged hands for Microsoft to have more of a guarantee to do the promotion, that never happened. Of course they can't be talking about that stuff; it's legal-related.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Understandable at the very beginning, when Tommy discovers that Microsoft didn't put a promised Super Meat Boy ad up on the day of release, as well as when this is revisited. Smaller ones throughout.
- DVD Commentary: You can select the "Team Meat" commentary. According to the movie's description, "Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes provide their various insights throughout the film. Hilarious, informative and sometimes outright lies."
- Foregone Conclusion: It's a bit odd watching the documentary a few months after the fact when you know all three of the games are huge successes.
- Foreshadowing: A seemingly inconsequential dialogue has Phil mentioning to Jerry Holkins how he wanted Fez to cause the kind of conversations over in-game secrets that older games like Mario once had. At the time of the film's release, no one knew of the disturbingly well hidden cryptography puzzles in Fez that would have numerous forums conversing to find and solve.
- G.I.F.T.: Deconstructed in "Edmund and teh Internets," in which Ed showcases a video he made two years before Super Meat Boy, in which he rips into those Trolls who insist that particular indie games aren't as good as people say they are without providing any constructive feedback.
- Kindhearted Cat Lover: Shown in Edmund and Danielle's spots in the main movie, but made clearer in Danielle's Epilogue in the SE.
- Manly Tears:
- Tommy talks about having these while thinking about having them when his game's about to come out, and looks about to have them right then.
- Near the very end, Edmund talks about how he knows that there was one kid who stayed up all night waiting for the game to be released, and didn't go to school the next day because he was so into playing it; and the game affecting him on a creative level, like, "Hey, I know two guys made this; maybe I can make something too!" ".... It's just a really cool feeling. It's a cool feeling."
- Mood Whiplash: Soulja Boy reviewing Braid and Comically Missing the Point, while Jonathan talks about how he got really depressed, not only because of a natural "post-partum" depression after being committed to a project for so long, but because people failed to see what he thought was most special about the game.
- Obvious Beta: What Phil showed at PAX 2011 due to a last-minute code change; despite his best efforts, the development build of Fez crashed multiple times, some crashes locking the whole system; fortunately, people were able to play enough of it to know its worth.