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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Oh you pretty things

What a wonderful, wonderful find. Further confirmation of my theory that the real/virtual divide is rather permeable.

We're all familiar with the fascinating emergent behaviour that is blurring the boundaries between movies and games. Kids play games such as Halo, where they can log in from around the world and battle it out. My sons and I have excellent fun taking our clan in battles on servers around the globe. Then, some people decided to use the game as movie set. They began to write scripts and act them out in the game. A well-known example, again in Halo, is the Red vs. Blue series. At miniscule cost, but maximum imagination, the games has been repurposed as a shared creative space.

The game designers did not have this in mind when they created the game yet now and entire genre of machinema is growing, developing in crazy directions and capturing interaction and inventiveness that makes our current mainstream media look like, well, current mainstream media actually. I can't imagine any circumstances under which my eldest son would rather watch Pets Win Prizes or Coronation Street rather do what he was going when I got home from work yesterday, which was building a movie set out of Lego so that he and his best friend could make their own Halo movie. They were using the superb Boinx iStopMotion to capture stop-motion video via a JVC camcorder and firewire, then using iMovie to edit it and add laser (etc) special effects using the Virtix plugin. One of their plans for the weekend is to figure out how to add a soundtrack they are making in Garageband.

The genre moves on.

A guy has created his own talk show. No big deal. Except that he interviews the guests on a network of XBoxes playing Halo2. The guests (who are real) join the in the game as other space marines on another planet. While the guests are being interviewed, space marines and aliens are battling it out around them.

You have to see it to fully appreciate it. Run, don't walk, to This Spartan Life.

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