Our in-class discussion of various examples of game ‘archaeology’; establishing a context surrounding a media form/item to help account for it’s success or demise, moved from discussion about devices to more contemporary examples, like emerging online platforms and different mediums like that of ‘machinima’ and fan-films of games. Despite having existed since the start of the online era, the practice of making machinima (cinematic videos constructed using video game footage) and live-action videos has been sullied by commercialization and distanced itself from it’s humble beginnings.
I speculate that this hijacking can be attributed to the rapid growth of the internet, and the subsequent capitalization. The main channel once expected to house these films was the ‘Machinima’ YouTube channel. Now however, the channel with the name-sake of this form of video-making has evolved into a puerile, exploitative media outlet that’s more intent on drip feeding misleading, hyperbolic news and soulless, uninspired commentated gameplay. From a media archaeology perspective, the marketability and profitability of news means it makes much more sense to produce that, instead of the rare amount of commissioned (so arguably not ‘fan‘ films at all) series and original content. After discussing this apparent demise with Chris, he mentioned he’d love to see some actual machinima created by us, and I began thinking of my options.
I own a few different games that would be sufficient for telling a story with, the recent Battlefield games are pretty friendly to those wanting to make a machinima video, featuring a spectator mode and the ability to use console commands to rid the game screen of various in-engine effects and ‘gamey’ elements. The Uncharted games have a dedicated, labeled machinima mode for this express purpose, but with Uncharted 4 still being a ways off, and inability to record with the PS3’s limitations, that leaves me with Rainbow Six: Siege with which I can use the in-game environments, the diverse range of animations, and grounded human setting to effectively create a degree of suspense and hopefully some humor to avoid taking it too seriously.
As for game design ideas for the final project, I’m less sure of that but spoke to a number of classmates and will likely form a group next lesson. I’ve started looking at some free game engines on YouTube and will see if something comes from poking about with them.
How hard can it be?