Before you ask "Why is a movie on Steam?!", allow for me to give you an explanation:
Indie Game The Movie is so much more than a movie or a game. It's a tool that allows ANYONE even remotely interested in the gaming industry to gain some powerful insight into the world of programming and creativeness as well as the obstacles that often come with it. What makes this so much more special is that it's all coming from indie developers (indie = independent).
Video games today are becoming arguably less interesting, unique or fun. A prominent example would be the Call of Duty series. This is often due to corporations or big companies pressuring developers to not take risks, to follow a formula or to indulge in what has been termed "shady game practices". I'm talking about controversial DLC or downloadable content (now associated with small content cut from the main game and sold for a large price afterwards), lack of support after a title's release, paid reviews, and more. Go back roughly 2 decades and there was a time when: developers were always seeking to create unique experiences for all platforms, there was never any hesitation to release free additional expansion packs and the consumer base weren't treated like buffoons and were engaged with directly.
Indie games or indie developers are essentially a revival of that golden age of gaming. It's true, the indie scene have been around even in the early 1990s but due to advancing technology, growing expectations and an increasingly competitive market (consoles, PCs and other gaming platforms) -- small teams have become big teams and these teams have since sought companies that will fund their large projects. Viewed initially by many as a good thing, it's attributed to what the majority now term a "gradual decline in game ingenuity". Indie is the response to that.
So that's what Indie Game The Movie is all about. It showcases what it means to be indie and some of the big names behind the indie rebirth in the late 2000s. Braid; Super Meat Boy; Fez. Video games which are now extremely recognizable but only because of how different they were to what else was being offered to gamers at the time. "Different" comes at a cost though. Risk. The teams behind these 3 video games contained groups as big as 5 people or as small as just 2. Not only was their life sacrificed but money, wellbeing and in most cases, time, that could have been spent looking for a job elsewhere (that wasn't dominated by well-known series and developers).
You will personally see the payoff in making something that's your own and that you can share; despite how impossible it may seem at first or the light at the end of the tunnel appearing dimmer than ever. This is especially true with Fez. Fez took 5 long years and a large chunk is spent on Phil Fish. Sympathy, disappointment and joy is what I felt when I saw the development journey or rather, development hell, of Fez. At the same time, Fish is also tackling the ongoing stigma against video games and hoping to prove it wrong. For example: video games are often viewed as a lower form of entertainment and that they can't express ideas and concepts as well as any other medium.
Incredibly, all 3 indie games later go on to be some of the most critically-acclaimed video games of all time. You may never have heard of them before or never realized that something like Minecraft or Amnesia was made with very little manpower but after this experience: you will hopefully begin to respect and appreciate this great twist in the gaming industry. I've always supported indie games and my expectations are time and time again blown away due to the chances taken by the amazing people behind these typically ambitious projects. Being indie was something that was initially laughed at or not taken as seriously as it should've been, and Indie Game The Movie goes to great lengths to make you believe and feel like you're a part of the indie scene.
That's why Indie Game The Movie is so good. I've never witnessed anything like it before, let alone for something video game-related. It's professionally made, has a great soundtrack and if you buy the Steam version: has tons of extras, additional commentary (from the developers themselves) and a hidden video game! If you do like Indie Game The Movie: buy the DLC "Special Edition DLC". It focuses on more lesser known indies and also follows up the 3 main indie game teams after Indie Game The Movie was finished in production.TL;DR
- If you're even remotely interested in the gaming industry and want to know what it's like to be indie -- get this now. The $10 price tag is perfect and shouldn't be a barrier for anyone.