Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

HBO is limbering up for a television drama tackling the most harrowing and difficult subject it's approached yet: indie video games. It's early days yet, but the American cable channel has unexpectedly optioned documentary Indie Game: The Movie to make a half-hour series. And in true indie style, it's already been misunderstood.

The initial report from Deadline said that Home Box Office's series would be a comedy, raising more than a few eyebrows in the indie community. However, the original documentary's makers Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky insist that's not the case.

"HBO has optioned IGTM for the basis of a (fictional) series. It is NOT a comedy. It is NOT a sitcom," the pair explained on Facebook.

The documentary follows the trials and tribulations of the developers behind Fez, Braid and Super Meat Boy. Presumably HBO's series will be inspired more by the tone and struggle than the developers themselves, though we must say James Van Der Beek would make a mean Phil Fish.

The series is being produced by Scott Rudin, who's backed The Social Network, Moneyball, True Grit, No Country for Old Men, and heaps of other fine things.

"The people involved, the network involved - all are, BY FAR, the best people possible to make this show," Pajot and Swirsky say. "We are ecstatic about the possibilities of working with this team. All you need to do is look at the list of HBO series titles & Scott Rudin's IMDB and you can see why we think this is a brilliant thing. We want to see this show happen. We want to watch this show."

Do remember that optioning something doesn't guarantee it'll be made, merely that it could. The documentary made its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, then will have a theatrical release followed by the DVD. Here's a peek at it:

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

Team Meat's indie darling, Super Meat Boy, has now joined the elite video gaming ranks reaching "Platinum" status last month. While the game debuted on Xbox Live Arcade, it's likely that the game is still showing its best performance on PC. The title raced past one million sales, as it recently expanded to Mac, and eventually found its way on the fourth Humble Indie Bundle.

The PS3 is one of the highest-profile platforms Meat Boy hasn't touched, and unfortunately, it doesn't appear that's going to change any time soon. "SMB will never be on PS3 sorry," the team's Twitter apologizes. However, it's likely the team's next game will manage to show on Sony's black box. "We will dev for the PS3 eventually!," a recent tweet proclaims.

While little is known about Team Meat's next game, it promises to be less "straightforward" than Meat Boy. "I think it's going to be more ambitious design-wise and it's going to be more of a challenge for us. It's a bigger project. It's going to be fun and that's exactly why we're into it. It's going to be pretty fresh."

And no, "there will never be a SMB2!," the dev told the world, in case you're asking.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Team Meat has finally finished the Mac version of Super Meat Boy, so your iComputers can make your fingers bleed with the rest of us. The Mac port is Steamplay enabled, allowing you to play on both PC and Mac using the same account. In addition, Team Meat is celebrating the game's one-year anniversary on Steam, by unlocking Super Meat World for everyone, and offering a bundle of discounted indie games.

The Mac version is currently unavailable due to "upload problems," but should be up later today. Tomorrow, the game will unlock Super Meat World for everyone who's bought the game on Steam. The SMW portal lets you play new user-generated stages, but was previously locked behind 20 bandages. Now you won't have to earn your way into the thousands of extra stages.

If you don't yet own SMB, you can grab the bundle for both the PC and Mac versions. It will also get you Bit.Trip Beat, Bit.Trip Runner, World of Goo, Braid, Gish, Aquaria, VVVVVV, Machinarium, and Half-Life 2. along with the soundtracks to Super Meat Boy, Braid, Bit.Trip Beat/Runner, and Machinarium.

If you just want the game or the soundtrack, both have been reduced by 50% during the anniversary period. If you already own SMB and some of the included games, Team Meat recommends you give them as Steam gifts for "your hobo friends." Which is just silly, because we all know hobos have an innate fear of computers.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Super Meat Boy developer Team Meat is already working away on its next game, which the indie describes as being of a more "experimental" and "ambitious" design than its breakout hit.

"I think it's safe to say that Meat Boy was a very straightforward game. We didn't really reach outside the box in terms of design," co-founder Edmund McMillen told Eurogamer. "I think with the new game we definitely get a bit more experimental with the design."

Team Meat's Super Meat Boy

"I think it's going to be more ambitious design-wise and it's going to be more of a challenge for us. It's a bigger project. It's going to be fun and that's exactly why we're into it. It's going to be pretty fresh."

While Team Meat is a registered Nintendo 3DS developer, the new game's being made with no particular platform in mind, and McMillen suspects it might not be a good fit for the handheld. Besides, Team Meat doesn't have a 3DS dev kit yet anyway.

"Not many people do. At least that's what we heard. Who knows, maybe they're lying to us," McMillen said. "We've asked about when we could get one and they said there's stock coming, but we probably shouldn't even talk about this."

McMillen also revealed that Team Meat was "originally kind of into porting Meat Boy" to 3DS, but isn't working on that anymore. There's still hope for Mac gamers, though, as fellow Team Meat member Tommy Refenes confirmed that the platformer's Mac version is still in the works.

"I'm doing my absolute best. It's something that's bugging the s*** out of me, that I want to get finished," Refenes said, presumably not censoring his own profanity. "It's a lot of mental effort getting back into working on a game that I worked on for 18 months straight. The difficulty is not in the work, the difficulty is in the motivation and the desire to open up the code again and work on it when I'd rather work on new stuff. I'm doing it, it's just taking a while."

Super Meat Boy's development is covered in upcoming documentary Indie Game: The Movie, which also revolves around several other high-profile indie developers and games.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Indie gaming's been revitalised in recent years with the explosion of digital distribution and renewed mainstream attention, and one group of film-makers has been documenting a little of all this. Indie Game: The Movie by BlinkWorks is entering the final stages of production, and finally has a proper trailer to show off.

Indie Game: The Movie revolves around Super Meat Boy developer Team Meat, Braid maker Jonathan Blow, and Phil Fish of Fez developer Polytron. It covers the trials and tribulations of their games' development, their fears, their motivations, their triumphs--all that documentary jazz. There are also appearances by a whole host of indie gaming luminaries.

If you like what you see, BlinkWorks is seeking a second round of funding through Kickstarter to help with the audio, colour and mastering. With a goal of $35,000 and 31 days left, the total received currently stands at $11,571. Pledging $15 or more will get you a copy of the finished documentary, with extra bonuses coming as you give more.

Indie Game: The Movie is expected to launch "by the end of this year or very early in 2012." BlinkWorks plans to show the film at festivals and special event screenings this fall.

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