Sundance 2012's must-see movies: 'Sleepwalk With Me,' 'Bachelorette,' 'Safety Not Guaranteed,' more

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Movies are full of stories about painters, musicians, and filmmakers striving to create. The documentary Indie Game chronicles a few real-life programmers and the labor of love they pour into homemade interactive storytelling.

The shelves of Best Buy and Target are full of titles from massive videogame studios, churning out Calls of Duty and Grand Theft Autos and Uncharted adventures, but digital distribution has made it easier than ever for one lone guy to create a game on his own computer and, with a little luck, have it be discovered by the world.

“All you need to make the game you want is an idea, a computer, talent and determination,” says James Swirsky, who codirected the doc with Lisanne Pajot. “So when you are a developer whose main goal is to express yourself and communicate through your game, the process is a little less than satisfying when you can’t get your game out there.  An un-played game isn’t much of a game.”

That potential adds as much stress to the situation as it does promise. “The advent of large scale online distribution like Steam and Xbox Live took away the last big barrier in independent gaming,” says Pajot. “From an artistic-communication standpoint, they can reach more people with their games, which obviously helps validate the process. [But] this potential definitely raises the stakes and increases the pressures.”

As you can see from the trailer, these designers strive not just for fame and fortune, but to create something that expresses a little of who they are — just like artists working in any medium.

NEXT: Mary Elizabeth Winstead gets Smashed

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