Saturday, September 3, 2016

Art For Gamers' Sake

by Drew Martin
Almost three years ago I wrote a raving review about Indie Game: The Movie. It is a really interesting and beautifully made documentary from 2012 about young, indie video game developers. Phil Fish, the developer of FEZ best expresses the sentiment of the phenomenon of video games,

"It's the sum total of every expressive medium of all times, made interactive."

Yesterday, I was very happy to see that there was a sequel documentary, Indie Game: Life After, which is an interesting follow up. It is more of a hodgepodge of clips and interviews a couple years after the first film. There are the epilogues of the formerly struggling indie video game developers who have all cashed in on their successes. Instead of working in messy apartments they now have tidy homes and fancy cars. You are happy for them but kind of miss their angst, which gave the first movie its character.

One nice thing about the follow-up movie is that it interviews David Hellman who did the artwork for Braid. This was one of the featured games in the first movie but only the coding creator was interviewed. Hellman talks about the process of creating the artwork for Braid, which has a hand-drawn quality to it and is one of the more famous indie video games. (pictured top) 

Another great thing about this sequel documentary is that it features many other indie video game makers and shows a bit more of the community. Steph Thirion, for example, is the creator of Eliss, which is a "puzzle video game" in the spirit of Tetris but is a touchscreen interface and revolves around filling "squeesars" with planets of like color and size. Eliss is a blend of the artist name El Lissitzky (Lazar Markovich Lissitzky, Ла́зарь Ма́ркович Лиси́цкий) a Russian avant-garde artist, who with his mentor, Kazimir Malevich, helped develop suprematism. Their work influenced the Bauhaus and constructivist movements, which dominated 20th-century graphic design. (pictured bottom)

Click here to read my first review of Indie Game: The Movie, "The Sum Total of Every Expressive Medium of All Times"