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Found 6 results

  1. Some games stand the test of time and remain rooted in the public consciousness years after they've been introduced to the world. Team Fortress 2 and Portal both celebrate their 10th anniversary this year, both could be considered one of the best games of all-time. To celebrate the longevity of these franchises, Funko has planned to release collections of their Pop! figures for each game. Team Fortress 2 will receive figures of the Heavy, Medic, and Scout. Meanwhile, the Portal franchise will have a line of figures that include Chell (with the ever lovely Companion Cube), Atlas, P-Body, and a Turret. The puffy-headed figures will be available this October. In the meantime, you can see previews of the full line of figures over on the official Funko blog.
  2. Some games stand the test of time and remain rooted in the public consciousness years after they've been introduced to the world. Team Fortress 2 and Portal both celebrate their 10th anniversary this year, both could be considered one of the best games of all-time. To celebrate the longevity of these franchises, Funko has planned to release collections of their Pop! figures for each game. Team Fortress 2 will receive figures of the Heavy, Medic, and Scout. Meanwhile, the Portal franchise will have a line of figures that include Chell (with the ever lovely Companion Cube), Atlas, P-Body, and a Turret. The puffy-headed figures will be available this October. In the meantime, you can see previews of the full line of figures over on the official Funko blog. View full article
  3. This week we tackle our first multiplayer-only and first free-to-play title, Valve's Team Fortress 2. The online FPS has been around for almost a decade and still sees an incredibly active community, due in no small part to the decision to make it free-to-play in 2011. Graciously joining us in our discussion this week is Jack Packard, former Funny or Die funnyman, Red Letter Media staple, and co-host of the YouTube channel Previously Recorded. Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Since we had such a great time recording this episode and Jack was so up for genuine conversation, we recorded more than we bargained for and it seemed easier to break it up into two parts for listening convenience. In part one, we all take our sweet time to get to anything related to Team Fortress 2, instead discussing Jack's twisting career path, Dark Souls 3, Stardew Valley, and the life of an internet creator. Maybe we were having a good time or maybe we were mirroring the 9 year development process that Team Fortress 2 went through. Who can say? Outro music: Double Dragon III: Sacred Stones 'Trouble in Japan' by Nostalvania (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03307) Rimshot sound effect "rimshot" uploaded by Archive.org user Gotta_Laff under Creative Commons 3.0 copyright (https://archive.org/details/rimshot_739) Part 2 centers almost entirely on Team Fortress 2. The aesthetic, comedy, emergent narratives, and even the cross marketing. Have you ever wondered if a conga line can ruin a video game? Jack Packard's argument certainly might make you think differently about the seemingly innocuous party dance. Outro music: Tiny Barbarian DX 'Vators Gonna Bait' by Hylian Lemon (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03298) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! You can also follow the show on Twitter: @BestGamesPeriod You can find the dashing Jack Packard on Twitter: @Harlack as well as on episodes or streams of Previously Recorded and sometimes over on Red Letter Media. New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
  4. This week we tackle our first multiplayer-only and first free-to-play title, Valve's Team Fortress 2. The online FPS has been around for almost a decade and still sees an incredibly active community, due in no small part to the decision to make it free-to-play in 2011. Graciously joining us in our discussion this week is Jack Packard, former Funny or Die funnyman, Red Letter Media staple, and co-host of the YouTube channel Previously Recorded. Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Since we had such a great time recording this episode and Jack was so up for genuine conversation, we recorded more than we bargained for and it seemed easier to break it up into two parts for listening convenience. In part one, we all take our sweet time to get to anything related to Team Fortress 2, instead discussing Jack's twisting career path, Dark Souls 3, Stardew Valley, and the life of an internet creator. Maybe we were having a good time or maybe we were mirroring the 9 year development process that Team Fortress 2 went through. Who can say? Outro music: Double Dragon III: Sacred Stones 'Trouble in Japan' by Nostalvania (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03307) Rimshot sound effect "rimshot" uploaded by Archive.org user Gotta_Laff under Creative Commons 3.0 copyright (https://archive.org/details/rimshot_739) Part 2 centers almost entirely on Team Fortress 2. The aesthetic, comedy, emergent narratives, and even the cross marketing. Have you ever wondered if a conga line can ruin a video game? Jack Packard's argument certainly might make you think differently about the seemingly innocuous party dance. Outro music: Tiny Barbarian DX 'Vators Gonna Bait' by Hylian Lemon (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03298) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! You can also follow the show on Twitter: @BestGamesPeriod You can find the dashing Jack Packard on Twitter: @Harlack as well as on episodes or streams of Previously Recorded and sometimes over on Red Letter Media. New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  5. Contrary to popular belief, machinima (pronounced muh-sheen-uh-muh) is not just the name of one of YouTube’s largest content publishing channels, it is also the name of a specific film genre. Created by combining the words “machine” and “cinema,” machinima refers to movies or short films that are animated and recorded within a video game engine. While certainly unconventional, machinima films share many elements with traditional film making. Actors are used to manipulate in-game avatars while cameramen move and record the actions of the actors. Voice-over artists provide vocalization for the characters and animators create non-traditional animations for character models. Filming requires coordination and often involves using in-game glitches to achieve unique and compelling camera angles. The idea that meaningful, independent narratives might be told using a video game might seem laughable to some people. However, creative filmmakers have been able to bring up important questions on topics as diverse as: disability, escapism, loneliness, the costs of war, vigilantism, fate, individuality, and more. While some of the machinima on this list make use of a more lighthearted tone and others have a darker emphasis, they are all well-made, engaging, and fun to watch, providing new perspectives on the games in which they were made. The genre, though certainly very niche, has much to offer those who can accept such a non-traditional storytelling method. 10. Ignis Solus Two forts stand on either side of a body of water, a single bridge connects them. One Pyro wanders aimlessly between the two. He stops, looking at the sky, and sighs. Ignis Solus tells the story of a lonely Pyro in Team Fortress 2 who experiences loss. It is beautifully made and features an original song of the same name as the video. Ignis Solus was made by Lit Fuse Films, a talented studio that specializes in machinima filmmaking. Be sure to check out more of Lit Fuse Films’ work over on their website. 9. Deviation As a Counter-Strike team prepares to go up through a manhole, one member begins to wonder if they’ve done this before. Created by Jon Griggs in 2006, Deviation deals with questions of fate and blindly following orders. The fact that the film is self-aware and riffs on the repetition inherent in online multiplayer shooters just makes it that much more enjoyable and pertinent, as such game mechanics are still used today. To see more of Griggs’ work, head over to his website. 8. The Journey What do you get when you combine an Orwellian dystopian future, stick-figures, Unreal Tournament, and poetry? I don’t really know, but I’d imagine it would be something very much like The Journey. Filmed in Unreal Tournament 2003, The Journey won the “Make Something Unreal Contest” put on by Epic Games. It very abstractly tells the story of a stick-figure person that breaks away from the norm and by doing so finds a unique voice, vision, and heart. For more information, feel free to visit journey.machinimag.com. 7. Portal: A Day in the Life of a Turret This short film focuses on the lives of two turrets in the game Portal. There isn’t much to say about this one, almost the entirety of the short is spent watching the stationary turrets talking with each other. They share jokes, insults, frustrations, discuss the meaning life, and then... well, you will just have to watch. A Day in the Life of a Turret is brought to you by the same people behind the well-known series The Leet World, a parody of The Real World that places the terrorists and counter-terrorists from Counter-Strike in a house together. 6. Mercy of the Sea A high fantasy adventure filmed using World of Warcraft, J. Joshua Diltz’s Mercy of the Sea focuses on a mother’s quest to retrieve her child from the clutches of her former husband. The voice acting and action are top-notch and supplemented by a genuinely creepy atmosphere. Though there are a few terms used in the film that those unfamiliar with the lore and gameplay of World of Warcraft might find difficult to understand, but they aren’t terribly important to the narrative. Finally, the visuals are stunning. How the various shots and effects were made in-game, I will never understand, yet Mercy of the Sea pulls it off. 5. Better Life Creator Rob Wright perfectly captures the power of escapism in this short film shot within Second Life. Better Life tells the story of a paraplegic stuck in a wheelchair who escapes into a virtual world free of his disability. The film is directly complemented by the song “Better Life” by the band Angry Man. I know people who play video games for this exact reason, people who have disabilities that physically prevent them from doing everything they want to accomplish. For them, video games (and MMOs in particular) allow them to feel free and not be defined by their physical limitations. You can see more of Rob’s work over at his blog Digital Double. 4. 6 Days J. Joshua Diltz makes this list for the second time for his collaborative work with artist Joseph DeLappe in the experimental documentary 6 Days. Recorded over six consecutive days within Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, the film is a tribute to the military and civilian lives lost during the second battle of Fallujah. Though lacking a set narrative, this short, nine-minute video winds up packing a surprising emotional punch and raises questions about the costs and gamification of war. Three cameras show events unfolding simultaneously. One camera focuses on the action, another gives an overarching view of the battlefield, while the last rests on the rising death toll of the conflict. 3. Red vs. Blue Easily the best known Machinima series around, Rooster Teeth’s groundbreaking show is what introduced many people to the genre. Fun, light-hearted, and accessible, Red Vs. Blue is a comedy series about two warring factions in the boxed canyon of Blood Gulch filmed within Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo: Reach, and most recently Halo 4. Though the series officially ended with its 100th episode in 2007, the Rooster Teeth team has continued releasing content and are currently gearing up for an 11th season. Just a heads up that the series does contain some strong language. Check out the series on Rooster Teeth. 2. Maintenance Man Ever wonder how members of the Overwatch act behind closed doors in Half-Life 2? Lit Fuse Films’ second movie to make this list, Maintenance Man answers that question with equal parts comedy and action. While Gordon Freeman and a group of rebels are attacking the Citadel, catastrophic damage is done to the facility’s energy core. Only one man can prevent a total disaster and that man is Hank... the janitor. There are plenty of references that will have you laughing and some well-executed slapstick humor as well as some really nicely done action sequences and character building. As before, be sure to check out more of Lit Fuse Films’ work over on their website. 1. The Trashmaster All of the other machinima films on this list have been short films, but The Trashmaster takes things to the next level with a full-blown feature film with an 88-minute running time. This would be impressive by itself, but the fact that The Trashmaster is well executed and compelling for the entirety of those 88-minutes is astounding. If anyone doubts that full-length movies can be made inside of a game, The Trashmaster will prove them wrong. Set in New York City, the film follows a garbage man who moonlights as a vigilante. The movie features some pretty intense violence, more than you would expect even within the GTA IV engine, and winds up nailing the gritty crime thriller vibe. Matthieu Weschler produced something really special with this project. Any machinima projects that you feel deserve to be on this list? Let us know in the comments! Top 10 Machinima Films Contrary to popular belief, machinima (pronounced muh-sheen-uh-muh) is not just the name of one of YouTube’s largest content publishing channels, it is also the name of a specific film genre. Machinima is a combination of the words “machine” and “cinema” and is used to refer to movies or short films that are animated and recorded within a video game engine. Machinima is similar in many respects to traditional filmmaking. Actors are used to manipulate in-game avatars while cameramen move and record the actions of the actors. Voice-over artists provide vocalization for the characters and animators create non-traditional animations for character models. Filming requires coordination and often involves using in-game glitches to achieve unique and compelling camera angles. The idea that meaningful, independent narratives might be told using a video game might seem laughable to some people. However, the films bring up important questions on topics as diverse as: disability, escapism, loneliness, the costs of war, vigilantism, fate, individuality, and more. While some of the machinima on this list make use of a more light-hearted tone and others have a darker emphasis, they are all well-made, engaging, and fun to watch, providing new perspectives on the games in which they were made. The genre, though certainly very much niche, has much to offer those who can accept such a non-traditional storytelling method. 10. Ignis Solus Two forts stand on either side of a body of water, a single bridge connects them. One Pyro wanders aimlessly between the two. He stops, looking at the sky, and sighs. Ignis Solus tells the story of a lonely Pyro in Team Fortress 2 who experiences loss. It is beautifully made and features an original song of the same name as the video. Ignis Solus was made by Lit Fuse Films, a talented studio that specializes in machinima filmmaking. Be sure to check out more of Lit Fuse Films’ work over on their website. 9. Deviation As a Counter-Strike team prepares to go up through a manhole, one member begins to wonder if they’ve done this before. Created by Jon Griggs in 2006, Deviation deals with questions of fate and blindly following orders. The fact that the film is self-aware and riffs on the repetition inherent in online multiplayer shooters just makes it that much more enjoyable and pertinent, as such game mechanics are still used today. To see more of Griggs’ work, head over to his website. 8. The Journey What do you get when you combine an Orwellian dystopian future, stick-figures, Unreal Tournament, and poetry? I don’t really know, but I’d imagine it would be something very much like The Journey. Filmed in Unreal Tournament 2003, The Journey won the “Make Something Unreal Contest” put on by Epic Games. It very abstractly tells the story of a stick-figure person that breaks away from the norm and by doing so finds a unique voice, vision, and heart. For more information, feel free to visit journey.machinimag.com. 7. Portal: A Day in the Life of a Turret This short film focuses on the lives of two turrets in the game Portal. There isn’t much to say about this one, almost the entirety of the short is spent watching the stationary turrets talking with each other. They share jokes, insults, frustrations, discuss the meaning life, and then... well, you will just have to watch. A Day in the Life of a Turret is brought to you by the same people behind the well-known series The Leet World, a parody of The Real World that places the terrorists and counter-terrorists from Counter-Strike in a house together. 6. Mercy of the Sea A high fantasy adventure filmed using World of Warcraft, J. Joshua Diltz’s Mercy of the Sea focuses on a mother’s quest to retrieve her child from the clutches of her former husband. The voice acting and action are top-notch and supplemented by a genuinely creepy atmosphere. Though there are a few terms used in the film that those unfamiliar with the lore and gameplay of World of Warcraft might find difficult to understand, but they aren’t terribly important to the narrative. Finally, the visuals are stunning. How the various shots and effects were made in-game, I will never understand, yet Mercy of the Sea pulls it off. 5. Better Life Creator Rob Wright perfectly captures the power of escapism in this short film shot within Second Life. Better Life tells the story of a paraplegic stuck in a wheelchair who escapes into a virtual world free of his disability. The film is directly complemented by the song “Better Life” by the band Angry Man. I know people who play video games for this exact reason, people who have disabilities that physically prevent them from doing everything they want to accomplish. For them, video games (and MMOs in particular) allow them to feel free and not be defined by their physical limitations. You can see more of Rob’s work over at his blog Digital Double. 4. 6 Days J. Joshua Diltz makes this list for the second time for his collaborative work with artist Joseph DeLappe in the experimental documentary 6 Days. Recorded over six consecutive days within Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, the film is a tribute to the military and civilian lives lost during the second battle of Fallujah. Though lacking a set narrative, this short, nine-minute video winds up packing a surprising emotional punch and raises questions about the costs and gamification of war. Three cameras show events unfolding simultaneously. One camera focuses on the action, another gives an overarching view of the battlefield, while the last rests on the rising death toll of the conflict. 3. Red Vs. Blue Easily the best known Machinima series around, Rooster Teeth’s groundbreaking show is what introduced many people to the genre. Fun, light-hearted, and accessible, Red Vs. Blue is a comedy series about two warring factions in the boxed canyon of Blood Gulch filmed within Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo: Reach, and most recently Halo 4. Though the series officially ended with its 100th episode in 2007, the Rooster Teeth team has continued releasing content and are currently gearing up for an 11th season. Check out the series on Rooster Teeth. 2. Maintenance Man Ever wonder how members of the Overwatch act behind closed doors in Half-Life 2? Lit Fuse Films’ second movie to make this list, Maintenance Man answers that question with equal parts comedy and action. While Gordon Freeman and a group of rebels are attacking the Citadel, catastrophic damage is done to the facility’s energy core. Only one man can prevent a total disaster and that man is Hank... the janitor. There are plenty of references that will have you laughing and some well-executed slapstick humor as well as some really nicely done action sequences and character building. As before, be sure to check out more of Lit Fuse Films’ work over on their website. 1. The Trashmaster All of the other machinima films on this list have been short films, but The Trashmaster takes things to the next level with a full-blown feature film with an 88-minute running time. This would be impressive by itself, but the fact that The Trashmaster is well executed and compelling for the entirety of those 88-minutes is astounding. If anyone doubts that full-length movies can be made inside of a game, The Trashmaster will prove them wrong. Set in New York City, the film follows a garbageman who moonlights as a vigilante. The movie features some pretty intense violence, more than you would expect even within the GTA IV engine, and winds up nailing the gritty crime thriller vibe. Matthieu Weschler produced something really special with this project.
  6. Contrary to popular belief, machinima (pronounced muh-sheen-uh-muh) is not just the name of one of YouTube’s largest content publishing channels, it is also the name of a specific film genre. Created by combining the words “machine” and “cinema,” machinima refers to movies or short films that are animated and recorded within a video game engine. While certainly unconventional, machinima films share many elements with traditional film making. Actors are used to manipulate in-game avatars while cameramen move and record the actions of the actors. Voice-over artists provide vocalization for the characters and animators create non-traditional animations for character models. Filming requires coordination and often involves using in-game glitches to achieve unique and compelling camera angles. The idea that meaningful, independent narratives might be told using a video game might seem laughable to some people. However, creative filmmakers have been able to bring up important questions on topics as diverse as: disability, escapism, loneliness, the costs of war, vigilantism, fate, individuality, and more. While some of the machinima on this list make use of a more lighthearted tone and others have a darker emphasis, they are all well-made, engaging, and fun to watch, providing new perspectives on the games in which they were made. The genre, though certainly very niche, has much to offer those who can accept such a non-traditional storytelling method. 10. Ignis Solus Two forts stand on either side of a body of water, a single bridge connects them. One Pyro wanders aimlessly between the two. He stops, looking at the sky, and sighs. Ignis Solus tells the story of a lonely Pyro in Team Fortress 2 who experiences loss. It is beautifully made and features an original song of the same name as the video. Ignis Solus was made by Lit Fuse Films, a talented studio that specializes in machinima filmmaking. Be sure to check out more of Lit Fuse Films’ work over on their website. 9. Deviation As a Counter-Strike team prepares to go up through a manhole, one member begins to wonder if they’ve done this before. Created by Jon Griggs in 2006, Deviation deals with questions of fate and blindly following orders. The fact that the film is self-aware and riffs on the repetition inherent in online multiplayer shooters just makes it that much more enjoyable and pertinent, as such game mechanics are still used today. To see more of Griggs’ work, head over to his website. 8. The Journey What do you get when you combine an Orwellian dystopian future, stick-figures, Unreal Tournament, and poetry? I don’t really know, but I’d imagine it would be something very much like The Journey. Filmed in Unreal Tournament 2003, The Journey won the “Make Something Unreal Contest” put on by Epic Games. It very abstractly tells the story of a stick-figure person that breaks away from the norm and by doing so finds a unique voice, vision, and heart. For more information, feel free to visit journey.machinimag.com. 7. Portal: A Day in the Life of a Turret This short film focuses on the lives of two turrets in the game Portal. There isn’t much to say about this one, almost the entirety of the short is spent watching the stationary turrets talking with each other. They share jokes, insults, frustrations, discuss the meaning life, and then... well, you will just have to watch. A Day in the Life of a Turret is brought to you by the same people behind the well-known series The Leet World, a parody of The Real World that places the terrorists and counter-terrorists from Counter-Strike in a house together. 6. Mercy of the Sea A high fantasy adventure filmed using World of Warcraft, J. Joshua Diltz’s Mercy of the Sea focuses on a mother’s quest to retrieve her child from the clutches of her former husband. The voice acting and action are top-notch and supplemented by a genuinely creepy atmosphere. Though there are a few terms used in the film that those unfamiliar with the lore and gameplay of World of Warcraft might find difficult to understand, but they aren’t terribly important to the narrative. Finally, the visuals are stunning. How the various shots and effects were made in-game, I will never understand, yet Mercy of the Sea pulls it off. 5. Better Life Creator Rob Wright perfectly captures the power of escapism in this short film shot within Second Life. Better Life tells the story of a paraplegic stuck in a wheelchair who escapes into a virtual world free of his disability. The film is directly complemented by the song “Better Life” by the band Angry Man. I know people who play video games for this exact reason, people who have disabilities that physically prevent them from doing everything they want to accomplish. For them, video games (and MMOs in particular) allow them to feel free and not be defined by their physical limitations. You can see more of Rob’s work over at his blog Digital Double. 4. 6 Days J. Joshua Diltz makes this list for the second time for his collaborative work with artist Joseph DeLappe in the experimental documentary 6 Days. Recorded over six consecutive days within Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, the film is a tribute to the military and civilian lives lost during the second battle of Fallujah. Though lacking a set narrative, this short, nine-minute video winds up packing a surprising emotional punch and raises questions about the costs and gamification of war. Three cameras show events unfolding simultaneously. One camera focuses on the action, another gives an overarching view of the battlefield, while the last rests on the rising death toll of the conflict. 3. Red vs. Blue Easily the best known Machinima series around, Rooster Teeth’s groundbreaking show is what introduced many people to the genre. Fun, light-hearted, and accessible, Red Vs. Blue is a comedy series about two warring factions in the boxed canyon of Blood Gulch filmed within Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo: Reach, and most recently Halo 4. Though the series officially ended with its 100th episode in 2007, the Rooster Teeth team has continued releasing content and are currently gearing up for an 11th season. Just a heads up that the series does contain some strong language. Check out the series on Rooster Teeth. 2. Maintenance Man Ever wonder how members of the Overwatch act behind closed doors in Half-Life 2? Lit Fuse Films’ second movie to make this list, Maintenance Man answers that question with equal parts comedy and action. While Gordon Freeman and a group of rebels are attacking the Citadel, catastrophic damage is done to the facility’s energy core. Only one man can prevent a total disaster and that man is Hank... the janitor. There are plenty of references that will have you laughing and some well-executed slapstick humor as well as some really nicely done action sequences and character building. As before, be sure to check out more of Lit Fuse Films’ work over on their website. 1. The Trashmaster All of the other machinima films on this list have been short films, but The Trashmaster takes things to the next level with a full-blown feature film with an 88-minute running time. This would be impressive by itself, but the fact that The Trashmaster is well executed and compelling for the entirety of those 88-minutes is astounding. If anyone doubts that full-length movies can be made inside of a game, The Trashmaster will prove them wrong. Set in New York City, the film follows a garbage man who moonlights as a vigilante. The movie features some pretty intense violence, more than you would expect even within the GTA IV engine, and winds up nailing the gritty crime thriller vibe. Matthieu Weschler produced something really special with this project. Any machinima projects that you feel deserve to be on this list? Let us know in the comments! Top 10 Machinima Films Contrary to popular belief, machinima (pronounced muh-sheen-uh-muh) is not just the name of one of YouTube’s largest content publishing channels, it is also the name of a specific film genre. Machinima is a combination of the words “machine” and “cinema” and is used to refer to movies or short films that are animated and recorded within a video game engine. Machinima is similar in many respects to traditional filmmaking. Actors are used to manipulate in-game avatars while cameramen move and record the actions of the actors. Voice-over artists provide vocalization for the characters and animators create non-traditional animations for character models. Filming requires coordination and often involves using in-game glitches to achieve unique and compelling camera angles. The idea that meaningful, independent narratives might be told using a video game might seem laughable to some people. However, the films bring up important questions on topics as diverse as: disability, escapism, loneliness, the costs of war, vigilantism, fate, individuality, and more. While some of the machinima on this list make use of a more light-hearted tone and others have a darker emphasis, they are all well-made, engaging, and fun to watch, providing new perspectives on the games in which they were made. The genre, though certainly very much niche, has much to offer those who can accept such a non-traditional storytelling method. 10. Ignis Solus Two forts stand on either side of a body of water, a single bridge connects them. One Pyro wanders aimlessly between the two. He stops, looking at the sky, and sighs. Ignis Solus tells the story of a lonely Pyro in Team Fortress 2 who experiences loss. It is beautifully made and features an original song of the same name as the video. Ignis Solus was made by Lit Fuse Films, a talented studio that specializes in machinima filmmaking. Be sure to check out more of Lit Fuse Films’ work over on their website. 9. Deviation As a Counter-Strike team prepares to go up through a manhole, one member begins to wonder if they’ve done this before. Created by Jon Griggs in 2006, Deviation deals with questions of fate and blindly following orders. The fact that the film is self-aware and riffs on the repetition inherent in online multiplayer shooters just makes it that much more enjoyable and pertinent, as such game mechanics are still used today. To see more of Griggs’ work, head over to his website. 8. The Journey What do you get when you combine an Orwellian dystopian future, stick-figures, Unreal Tournament, and poetry? I don’t really know, but I’d imagine it would be something very much like The Journey. Filmed in Unreal Tournament 2003, The Journey won the “Make Something Unreal Contest” put on by Epic Games. It very abstractly tells the story of a stick-figure person that breaks away from the norm and by doing so finds a unique voice, vision, and heart. For more information, feel free to visit journey.machinimag.com. 7. Portal: A Day in the Life of a Turret This short film focuses on the lives of two turrets in the game Portal. There isn’t much to say about this one, almost the entirety of the short is spent watching the stationary turrets talking with each other. They share jokes, insults, frustrations, discuss the meaning life, and then... well, you will just have to watch. A Day in the Life of a Turret is brought to you by the same people behind the well-known series The Leet World, a parody of The Real World that places the terrorists and counter-terrorists from Counter-Strike in a house together. 6. Mercy of the Sea A high fantasy adventure filmed using World of Warcraft, J. Joshua Diltz’s Mercy of the Sea focuses on a mother’s quest to retrieve her child from the clutches of her former husband. The voice acting and action are top-notch and supplemented by a genuinely creepy atmosphere. Though there are a few terms used in the film that those unfamiliar with the lore and gameplay of World of Warcraft might find difficult to understand, but they aren’t terribly important to the narrative. Finally, the visuals are stunning. How the various shots and effects were made in-game, I will never understand, yet Mercy of the Sea pulls it off. 5. Better Life Creator Rob Wright perfectly captures the power of escapism in this short film shot within Second Life. Better Life tells the story of a paraplegic stuck in a wheelchair who escapes into a virtual world free of his disability. The film is directly complemented by the song “Better Life” by the band Angry Man. I know people who play video games for this exact reason, people who have disabilities that physically prevent them from doing everything they want to accomplish. For them, video games (and MMOs in particular) allow them to feel free and not be defined by their physical limitations. You can see more of Rob’s work over at his blog Digital Double. 4. 6 Days J. Joshua Diltz makes this list for the second time for his collaborative work with artist Joseph DeLappe in the experimental documentary 6 Days. Recorded over six consecutive days within Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, the film is a tribute to the military and civilian lives lost during the second battle of Fallujah. Though lacking a set narrative, this short, nine-minute video winds up packing a surprising emotional punch and raises questions about the costs and gamification of war. Three cameras show events unfolding simultaneously. One camera focuses on the action, another gives an overarching view of the battlefield, while the last rests on the rising death toll of the conflict. 3. Red Vs. Blue Easily the best known Machinima series around, Rooster Teeth’s groundbreaking show is what introduced many people to the genre. Fun, light-hearted, and accessible, Red Vs. Blue is a comedy series about two warring factions in the boxed canyon of Blood Gulch filmed within Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo: Reach, and most recently Halo 4. Though the series officially ended with its 100th episode in 2007, the Rooster Teeth team has continued releasing content and are currently gearing up for an 11th season. Check out the series on Rooster Teeth. 2. Maintenance Man Ever wonder how members of the Overwatch act behind closed doors in Half-Life 2? Lit Fuse Films’ second movie to make this list, Maintenance Man answers that question with equal parts comedy and action. While Gordon Freeman and a group of rebels are attacking the Citadel, catastrophic damage is done to the facility’s energy core. Only one man can prevent a total disaster and that man is Hank... the janitor. There are plenty of references that will have you laughing and some well-executed slapstick humor as well as some really nicely done action sequences and character building. As before, be sure to check out more of Lit Fuse Films’ work over on their website. 1. The Trashmaster All of the other machinima films on this list have been short films, but The Trashmaster takes things to the next level with a full-blown feature film with an 88-minute running time. This would be impressive by itself, but the fact that The Trashmaster is well executed and compelling for the entirety of those 88-minutes is astounding. If anyone doubts that full-length movies can be made inside of a game, The Trashmaster will prove them wrong. Set in New York City, the film follows a garbageman who moonlights as a vigilante. The movie features some pretty intense violence, more than you would expect even within the GTA IV engine, and winds up nailing the gritty crime thriller vibe. Matthieu Weschler produced something really special with this project. View full article
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