Sunday, October 15, 2006

World of Warcraft Machinima

I hear the argument all the time about whether video games have reached the same level of art as movies and music. The argument is usually won on the specifics of which game is being discussed. Does Grand Theft Auto constitute art? Well most people think not but what about a game like Myst? Both sides can throw around different game titles in an attempt to prove of disprove the new age question.

One point they can’t argue about is that a video game world can be used as a stage to create art. Thousands of fans throughout the world use cut scenes and media capture tools to turn video game footage into short films. Known as machinima, the process has started to become immensely popular in several different MMORPG communities. The films range from short comedy skits to long and dramatic epics. Blizzard and Xfire have encouraged the budding machinima community by sponsoring several different contests and providing cash rewards and recognition.

Just recently World of Warcraft machinima made an appearance in South Park where over half the show was done with in-game footage. Even more interesting was that Blizzard and Comedy Central used a machinima studio to do most of the footage for the show. Its nice to see what is basically an indie industry getting probably its first network exposure. For some of the studio’s other work go to and check out some of their contest submissions.

Recently while out sick with a toothache I had time to find some of my favorite pieces of machinima using Google Video and YouTube. Most of my favorites are based in World of Warcraft but I hear several other virtual worlds are also popular stages. A word of warning I mostly enjoy comedies and my taste in machinima reflects that.

Big Blue Dress
This piece of machinima is set perfectly to a song written about mages in World of Warcraft. It seems as if the band Destromath was a big fan of the game and decided to write a song about one of their favorite pastimes. The song really synchronizes well with the in game footage which is mostly provided by a well known PvP persona named Cranius.

The Hardware Store
This is a fan made machinima music video to the Weird Al song “The Hardware Store” I was surprised at the amount of editing and special effects used in this song which goes way beyond most non studio machinima films. It’s very humorous and fits the lyrics of the song

Zinwraith the Movie
This is a well thought out and humorous machinima film produced by the myndflame studio. The plot follows members of a guild called Illegal Danish and uses many in-game references. Still its hilarious to most players and even has several songs produced just for the film. There is a decent amount of editing used in the film and the plot is in the style of an Adult Swim cartoon.

Super Snacks – the Sequel

The Internet is for Pron

Another hilarious example of machinima with several in-game characters having a singing battle over the purpose of the internet. This is a very basic machinima with little editing but contains good use of in-game emotes to create a sort of over the top Broadway style. Contains some vulgarity but nothing above PG-13.

If anyone else has favorites fell free to list them in the comments.


Fox said...

Suprised The Brothers Tauren isn't in this list. It ranks up there with Illegal Danish and Zinwraith.

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