I want to first start off this article by saying I hope everyone has had a happy and wonderful New Years. Since I had a day off today I decided to take a break from work (which is promoting GamingU) and turn on Netflix. On the first page I saw a movie called “Indie Game: The Movie” which immediately got my attention, no way in hell they did a movie on the development of indie games. Well I was wrong, the documentary is about two hours long and I have to say it was one of the best documentary’s I’ve ever seen in my life. It inspired me to do a couple of things, one hustle even harder when it came to promoting GamingU, two even though I have ZERO knowledge on coding and game development it made me want to learn how to… so I started my first class tonight on how to create a video game through Unity, third it made me realize how hard these developers work and I why we need to start giving these indie games more credit then they’ve earned.
In the documentary it talks about the journey of three successful indie games. Braid which was released in 2008 by Jonathan Blow, it then covers the release for Super Meat Boy which was created by Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes, and then there was the journey of Fez who was being developed by Phil Fish.
As I was watching the documentary I learned a lot about Indie Games, I didn’t know that most of the Indie Games created were by a one or two man team. In the past I just thought Indie Games were created by smaller companies that just haven’t made it before…you know ones that have around 20+ employees in some cases that might be true but in this documentary it wasn’t.
I didn’t even know these guys that were developing these games but for some reason I felt connected with them. I’m not sure why, maybe because I’m pushing my app and I love it as much as they loved their games? Who knows, the point of the matter is these guys were straight hustling and grinding. There were scenes where I looked at Tommy Refenes (Super Meat Boy Developer) and I literally thought he was just going to fall over and fall asleep, I mean this guy looked drained. The reason for his exhaustion was this, Microsoft gave Tom and Edmund a deadline of a month to finish Super Meat Boy. When they agreed to take the deal they quickly realized they weren’t even close to finishing the game which is why both of them felt like they didn’t sleep for a straight month. It’s awesome and crazy how much work and dedication these developers put themselves through, which makes you have to respect them. Tom and Edmund ended up selling over 20,000 units the first day and later hit the 1,000,000 million unit mark. Edward goes on to say that in one day Super Meat Boy helped him earn more than he has in the past 6 years, just goes to show with patience and passion your dreams come true.
Fez had it’s own story, Phil Fish literally went through hell and back during his development of Fez. The man suffered so much, his fans were hating on his game for months because he kept delaying the release. They thought it was because he had to recode/redesign things, they were right and wrong. Phil was dealing with so many issues behind the scene that no one knew about and he still fought through and was able to release Fez.
Braid had a different story than the other two, it was an instant success selling over 10k units the first day. What you quickly learn about in the documentary is how much Jonathan Blow cared about what people thought of his game. They show scenes of him commenting on peoples reviews on Braid positive and negative. This developed a negative cloud over his name which ended up giving him a bad reputation it seemed like in the industry. Jonathan goes on and explains that he was frustrated people weren’t diving deeper into Braid and instead looking at the bigger picture. His goal was to connect to people through the story and gameplay and instead gamers focused on the concept of the game and the features that came with it.
This Is Art
The one thing I did hear each developer constantly bring up was this, creating a game is an art but most importantly the game represents the people that are developing it. They then go on to explain how these bigger title games (which they think suck) create all this content to keep a large amount of players playing their game. With Indie Games they create an environment that tells a story but most importantly represents the developer. Edmund talks about how he always drew Mario cartoons as a kid, the older classic games also inspired him to create video games. He then talks about how Super Meat Boy is a resemblance of Mario but also represents him and his partner Tommy. They all talk about how they put their emotions into each game and that each game goes deeper than it just being a new video game on the market.
I was so happy to see 2016 blow up for Indie Games, 2017 is going to be an even bigger year for this market. Just remember the next Indie Game you do play realize how much time and effort has been put into before you hate on it. These developers put their time and passion into these games, yes some of them might suck, some of them might be amazing, but you have to look at the bigger picture and try to connect to these developers who’ve created them.
Like they constantly say:
It’s more than just a game
– The GamingU Team
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