machinima articles

For as popular and up-and-coming as these articles made Machinima seem, it is surprising that so few of us have heard of the craft/genre. To think that, “there are people out there who would never have heard about Halo without ‘Red vs. Blue'” (Thompson) is odd to me – I feel like the opposite is true. It is interesting too that major corporations like Microsoft have utilized Rooster Teeth, despite the fact that Rooster Teeth “ripped off Microsoft’s intellectual property.” Rooster Teeth has provided Microsoft with a “whiff of countercultural coolness, the sort of grass-roots street cred that major corporations desperately crave but can never manufacture” (Thompson). The broader implications of productions like “Red vs. Blue” would suggest a furthering of technology toward the usage of virtual space. In the video clip, “This Spartan Life,” Katie Salen comments on the nature of Machinima and video games. She is asked if video games are like early training for the virtual life of the future, to which, she replies that it is indeed. There is this idea of inhabiting multiple spaces (both real and virtual) simultaneously, she says. People are coming to view the real world and virtual space as blended. This sort of reminds me of when we discussed the “Rape in Cyberspace” article, in which we distinguished between cyber-rape and rape, and how (if at all) the two should be treated disparately. There are some who view cyber-rape as such a real experience that it deserves to be treated as such, and thus cyber-rapists should be punished in much the same way that a rapist would be. But then, should an offender be punished in real life for an act that was committed virtually? The lack of parallelism is bothersome, and is something that Salen speaks to in her interview clip. That people are beginning to see the real world and virtual space as blended is a curious if not dangerous concept.  

Also in “This Spartan Life” was an interview clip with Malcolm McLaren. In a rather irritated tone, he asks rhetorically, “Can you imagine a world in which 13-year-olds are in control?” He is bothered by this prospect, and by the fact that the “video game industry is suddenly being infected by rock n’ roll hooligans.” I’m intrigued by his commentary, largely because he was the manager of the Sex Pistols and seems to be a boundary-breaking, provocative, bold figure. It’s surprising to me that he meets these strides in the video game industry with such distaste. The idea that thirteen year olds have the capacity to create Machinima reminds me of the article we just read by Henry Jenkins, “Why Heather Can Write.” Both instances speak to the concept that young teenagers are, with the advent of recent technologies, permeating the internet and virtual spaces with their own insight. Fan fiction has enabled young writers to publish their material, and the relative ease of Machinima has enabled young cinematographers to do the same. Adults, like McLaren, see this as a threat to the status quo, an alarming shift of attention to society’s youth. But are they capable of achieving, with the same amount of professionalism and experience, that which adult creators (writers, filmmakers, artists) have achieved? The question is still being debated.

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