This is just a goldmine of a documentary. It’s available on Netflix and I believe it is on Steam as well. They were able to capture Super Meat Boy’s first day with the creators, the development process of Fez, and the reaction to Braid’s success with Jonathan Blow. It brings you through the drama, the fallouts, the sheer joy, and everything in between of creating these larger than life indie games. Phil Fish makes such a solid point when he talks about how games like GTA take 5 to 6 years for development with a thousand people and people won’t stay off these indie guys to hurry up when there is only 1 or 2 of them.
It was interesting to see the developer’s different reactions to the overwhelming success of their games. Edmund McMillan (Super Meat Boy) was mostly just very pleased at finally seeing this great pay off for all of his hard work. While Tommy Refenes (Super Meat Boy) & Johnathan Blow (Braid, The Witness) were more confused or daunted by the huge success they achieved. Blow said that he saw this twisted image of himself being portrayed in the public eye that he had no way of fixing, and that they really didn’t see all of the parts of the game that were the most important to him personally.
It was really driven home about the difference between indie and triple A games. Huge blockbuster games have the money backing them to go for the highest resolution, the best quality, and reach the largest possible audience. Indie developers have to really have a special meaning and an interesting game style to make up for the lack of a juggernaut companies budget backing their project. Obviously the guys in this movie were able to pull that off better than most anybody else ever has in the indie scene.
I really enjoyed getting a peak behind the curtain and seeing the real human emotion that goes into these games. The anguish that Tommy Refenes went through as Meat Boy wasn’t up and being advertised on the release date in the XBOX market place as it was supposed to be. Or the way that Phil Fish was going through mental trauma to make it through PAX West with an early and buggy version of his game Fez. I also most definitely enjoyed getting to see their dreams turn into the overwhelming success that we all know them to be. McMillan mentions how Super Meat Boy made more in the first day than he had made personally in the last 6 years. That is truly an amazing story, and this movie captures so many different emotional moments. From McMillan proposing while accepting a game award to Fish pushing through what seemed to be a disaster at PAX west and hitting it off with Penny Arcade (& PAX) co-creator Jerry Holkins. It is a total triumph of a documentary, and a must see for any indie game fan.