Machinima

The name Machinima comes from the combination of the two words: machine and cinema. Machinima refers to the 3-D digital animation created in real time using game engines (Jenkins, 156). This movement began in 1993 with the release of Doom, a game with a program that involved the recording and playback of in-game interactivity. The idea was that people or gamers might want to watch their own game-play experiences as mini action movies (Jenkins, 156). This movement influenced a generation of amateur and professional animators alike.

Machinima allows people to step out of the boundaries of interactivity and begin to participate in the construction of their characters and the game world. It allows people to redesign the game to create the characters and settings they need to stage their own stories (Jenkins, 157). Machinima films are a main part and still remain grounded mostly to the gaming culture. An example is My Trip to Liberty City. This is a travelogue of the world represented in Grand Theft Auto 3 (Jenkins, 157). Another example of this process at work was shown in the 2001 animated film Final Fantasy. Every strand of hair on the character's heads moved independently. Without Machinima, time pressures would likely force them to be treated as a single unit (1). Another game to adopt this process is the popular football game NFL Madden. Instead of making mini action films, players use the characters already provided and create their own destiny or outcome of the game.

Machinima's biggest impact so far has been on commercial culture. The History channel, for example, has a successful series called Decisive Battles which restages events such as the Battle of Marathon, using Creative Assembly's Rome: Total War as its basic animation tool. Likewise, MTV2 uses the Sims program to produce music videos of popular bands (Jenkins, 158). With Machinima, amateurs can produce their own movies using the programs characters and back-lots, basically equipping them with their own studio. Machinima allows amateurs to do this at lower costs and decreased production times than with traditional film making.




Henry Jenkins, Convergence Culture, Where Old and New Media Collide

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machinima