MEGATech Reviews: Gameloading: Rise of the Indies Dylan Duarte May 6, 2015 MEGATech Reviews Ive been playing videogames my entire life. My first gaming memory is of me hogging a console (based on the time frame, likely a Commodore 64) at my cousins house to play Mario Bros. And I dont mean Super Mario, I mean Mario Bros., the one that took place in one dark, pipe-filled room. Since then Ive owned at least one console from every generation, but it wasnt until Steam had been around for a few years that I finally took the time to really explore the indie gaming scene. Now when I flip through my mental catalogue of games that Ive loved over the years, games like Braid, Rogue Legacy, and Papers, Please appear right alongside some of my all-time favorites like Max Payne 3 and Alan Wake. Still, Im perfectly aware that theres a lot more to explore in indie gaming and Gameloading: Rise of the Indies makes me want to explore it all. Theres a lot of talk and complaining about the staleness of flagship titles, specifically the abundance of military shooters, and just the overall lack of inspiration when it comes to AAA games. Some of it is warranted and some of it isnt, but theres no denying that theres more passion on display in the indie gaming scene. And I didnt say theres more passion, I said theres more passion on display. Theres a lot of secrecy surrounding big budget game development, and a lot of that is no doubt for the sake of security, but that lack of transparency makes it easy to develop a cynical viewpoint towards those big budget titles. Indie developers, on the other hand, wear their enthusiasm and passion on their sleeve and that general excitement comes through in the games. That passion is what Gameloading: Rise of the Indies is all about. Passion in All Forms You meet plenty of different personalities in Gameloading, and while some of the developers get along quite well, others dont. Youll see types of people that could never co-exist without that shared enthusiasm for videogames. Some of them dont even seem comfortable appearing on camera, but here they are, because they love what they do and they want you to love it, too. Its hard not to admire everyone involved and even harder not to sympathize with the stress involved in what theyre doing. Indie game design is not a career path someone chooses for financial reasons. One of the games that the documentary centers around is The Stanley Parable, which begun as a Half-Life 2 mod developed by Davey Wreden, before he expanded the concept into its own game and released it in October 2013 to critical and commercial success. We get to see Wreden release the game and the psychological toll it takes on him as he waits for the initial feedback, wondering if theres going to be feedback at all. We then get to see his reaction to Jim Sterling of Desctructoid giving the game a ten out of ten. If youre not emotionally engaged with Gameloading by that point, you will be after that. The late, great Roger Ebert infamously said that games could never be art, but these people are artists, so what does that make the things they create? These games are their everything, much more than just the product of their hard work. A Gamergate Derail One of the developers spotlighted in Gameloading is Zoey Quinn, who found herself front and center in the Gamergate controversy that popped up last year. For those who arent familiar with Gamergate, consider yourselves lucky, but you can read the Wikipedia article if you simply must know what its about. Regardless of the specifics, its jarring when its brought up and slightly derails the documentary for the brief time spent talking about it. I understand that with Quinn in the documentary, it may have felt odd to not bring it up, especially when its directly intertwined with her game development, but the tone gets very somber out of nowhere and then regains its levity just as abruptly. While I applaud the filmmakers for not simply glossing over a very serious event in the game development scene, like I said, its jarring, and the film suffers for it. Its hard to ease back into the joyous celebration of videogames on the heels of Quinn talking about the violent threats she received, but then again maybe thats the point. Quinn is no doubt a very strong individual for bouncing back after that and continuing to do what she loves, and I suppose in that way the segment continues the theme of passion. From a more technical standpoint, however, its just a bizarre tonal shift. Are You Not Enthused? Gameloading accomplished two major things. One, it gave me continued hope for the future of gaming. Two, it enthused me about the now of gaming. Ive already sought out one of the games discussed in the film and I will likely hunt down more of them. With the exception of the above-mentioned Quinn segment, Gameloading: Rise of the Indies coasts on enthusiasm and passion and will encourage you to not only play a wider variety of games, but to explore your own passions as well. Share This With The World!