08 01/09

Machinima case: Wrath of couch potato

my first chapter finally has reached a draft status, meaning it is in its final revision. Soon, I will share my conclusions, currently my ongoing work deals with a film analysis of one machinima that later I will comment it here, too. By now I want to open 2009 with two definitely worth watching machinima pieces from AFK pl@yers, a machinima studio from Taiwan. They work with World of Warcraft to produce their movies. Though right now I’m not going to mention their productions in my thesis they have shown me a completely different aesthetic of machinima, one closer to junk-TV than to film making. A sign of the irreverent potential hidden in this rhizomatic movement.

Junk TV and WoW
Is it a Remediation of junk TV in World of Warcraft or a conversion of World of Warcraft in junk TV?

An answer not as easy as it seems at first glance. On the one hand anyone who has wasted time watching TV would agree that most of it is rather similar to junk food, deliciously insipid and brilliantly empty. World of Warcraft is a baroque MMORPG game with hundred of thousand of players and guilds. In any case both are massive entertainment media being hybridized in AFK’s movies.

Wrath of couch potato

Azeroth Movie Top 3, this one was nominated for the “Best Short Film” in the Machinima Film Festival 2008.

16 12/08

Machinima movie: Blahbalicious (1997)

HI, in the first chapter of my thesis I wanted to do a special mention to Blahbalicious (1997) by Avatar & Indigo, however right now is somehow not fixing in the text. So I just decided to use this short words here.

This movie was not only of the most awarded of Quake movies but also took skinning and parodying to an upper level. Its directors Avatar & Indigo used in Blabalicious a unique game-character specially designed for this movie (the fat guy). They identified themselves as puppeteers rather than film makers. It is easier to recognise in machinima the techniques and well established conventions of film grammar like camera angles, camera positions and camera movements; particularly because of its output as movies that are shot inside a 3D game engine. However, it is more foggy to identify that in machinima there is no actors, and that what occurs in machinima is rather an extended performance of puppets, a sort of supermarionation [Kelland 2005, p.76].

A machinima maker utilises the game characters or avatars as marionettes. The game models are dressed, made up and their movements controlled externally by the player. Strings are replaced either by keystrokes or scripts and voices are synchronised externally in the same manner is done puppet theatre. This feature permitted Avatar & Indigo a high degree of parody, irreverence and caricaturisation, an aesthetic rarely seen in mainstream animation nowadays.

Here the movie.