I cannot touch on the topic of Machinima without mentioning the music videos. It’s a storytelling format which the MTV-generation understands so well and they’re able to use their literacy of music videos to create their own. It’s a wonderful way to be a fan of both the games and the music. I have a soft spot for the music Machinima that doesn’t have a glossy feel – but rather amateur love.
I showed two very old music Machinima films. The first one is from a very well known machinima artist, who I’m sure wishes that I showed some of his newer stuff. B. Kiddo has been creating machinima for years and his artful skills in The Sims and Second Life are just awesome. But this Machinima film is one of the first I ever saw. I was so touhed by it. Although it isn’t smoothly made – it’s very emotional. I showed this to a girl friend of mine who thinks I’m totally weird for being interested in this stuff and would rather I focus my attention on finding a man and go shopping – and she welled up. Which of course gave me immense satisfaction!
The other music Machinima I played is actually Chinese and made Everquest. I stumbled upon it by chance. It is very simple – but the song is just so catchy I can’t help but love it! I’m told the song was a number one hit in China about 10 years ago (thanks KML) and I can understand why. I find myself humming the song several times a day and I enjoy simplisity of the Machinima film.
Peter Tan – Look Over Here!
If you ask me it’s a beautiful way of being a fan. A true testament to the participatory culture that is evolving on the net. It’s therefore such a shame that the music industry is constantly hassling these artists and taking their films, their fan worshipping of sites like YouTube.
Here’s another – which just combines the ticklish fun that Little Big Planet’s gameplay produces and Daft Punk.
Danteneverdies – Little Daft Punk
And lastly I want to mention the overly dramatic nature of Music Machinima made in The Sims. I have a theory that it’s because of the dramatic gestures of the avatars that just makes them so perfect for drama that involves crying and pain. These gestures and The Sims Goth I’m sure are responsible for the massive amounts of The Sims Music Machinima with the music of Evanescence. I cannot tell you how many Machinima films I’ve seen with this soundtrack! So far, I’ve spared the audience – but I had decided that this year that I would expose them to some of the torture I go through by finding Machinima films for these evenings. Luckily for them, the video was broken so I couldn’t show it – but you can now!
As Machinima advances so do the stories. There’s some brilliant storytelling coming out of these games and they’re just so beautifully told.
My all time favourite is Among Fables and Men by Dopefish. Someday I will write a paper on this film. The way he’s made a three dimensional space take on the the form of paper and 2 dimensions is just gobsmackingly beautiful.
Tobias “Dopefish” Lundmark – Among Fables and Men
I think this film is the first to take the artform a step further. This is far beyond fan fiction or even participatory art – this is a well told story.
And there’s plenty of good stuff coming out from several games. At this point I realised that I was running out of time. So I skipped Shelf Life – although I absolutely adore it. It’s just too long for a showing on a night like this event. But it’s definitely a sign of how evolved the medium of Machinima is becoming. It’s hard to look at Shelf Life and think that it’s made in a game. It therefore becomes rather difficult in appreciating the puppet mastery or the communication between artist and artificial intelligence. The focus becomes the story.
PixelEyesProductions – Shelf Life
MACHINIMA MASHUP STORYTELLING?
I’m not sure I can all it this. Mash-up storytelling? Hmm. Anyways – the last segment of the first part of the evening is about combining different games and game – dare I say – narratives.
Clear Skies is one of the best Machinima films I have ever seen. I’m noticing the same thing with this film as with Shelf Life – I forget to appreciate the gameplay mastery. It’s hardly there – I get too wrapped up in the story to even think about the work involved behind it. And yet the creator, Ian Chisolm spent about a year just collecting footage of gameplay to this wonderful Machinima film. It’s a combination of Half Life and EVE Online. I’m only going to embedd the trailer here – links for downloading the whole thing can be found at Rock Paper Shotgun.
Ian Chisholm – Clear Skies Trailer
And lastly – we have this absolutely brilliant Machinima film which comments on today’s tv programs, media culture, game narratives and is just pure fun. Again – I’m forgetting the mastery of game mechanics and just really enjoying the story. Thanks for the “heads-up” Neils!
Lagspike – Top FPS
This is a very rough introduction to what machinima is or what I perceive machinima to be. I tried having “the machine” as a theme throughout – but as you can see, I strayed off topic some. This is just me being a fan. I would love to look more into researching, writing and talking about Machinima. I need to read up on narratology as well. I’m constantly learning new things about this medium and I love learning about it.