humanity to the production: human

beings are behind the characters movements and actions rather than faceless computer technology. ‘l‘ve seen machinima that actually has better emotional interaction between the characters because it’s being done in real time. it’s directly controlled by a human as opposed to having two or three key frames that the computer is deciding how to interpret.~

The new genre was first popularised via Quake. Fans were recording short films made in the game and there was a community forming around these movies. It wasn’t until machinimacom that these disparate communities had a hub. a meeting point to share their films as well as new ideas and techniques to expand what was possible in the medium. ‘I thought it would grow over two or three years as word got out. But in the first month we over-stepped our bandwidth allowance by about five times. One of our hosts threw us out because we were using too much bandwidth. I believe some poor people who agreed to mirror our files had to leave the country to avoid bandwidth bills. The initial impact was astonishing.’

Obviously machinimacom is the best place to start if you’d like to see the level of creativity that is emerging. The aforementioned Red vs Blue is a tightly scripted tale of grunts from Halo in their downtime (and perhaps the most popular machinima series yet). Of course for gamers there are a few in jokes and an instant recognition factor but films like The Highwayman, a piece based on Alfred Noyes’ poem, show a different side to the genre. TV companies (in particular MTV)

have picked up on machinima. Another important example is the lovingly crafted video for Zero 7’s single ‘In the Waiting Line’. It‘s something Hollywood is taking seriously, Lucas Arts has just announced that it is going to be using machinima technology while Hancock has been giving talks at the Annecy Animation Festival (the biggest animation festival in the world) and Paul Marion. Hancock’s American counterpart, was at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. And of course there’s Blood Spell, Strange Company’s full length

feature (‘a combination of 11ml of I

the Rings, Indiana Jones and the Sex Pistols‘). Their production diary blog on gives a pretty detailed look at exactly what's involved in a big machinima project.

Of course there are disadvantages. ‘Obviously it doesn’t look as good as a very high budget production.‘ says Hancock. ‘But that’s universal across all film. It is the equivalent of digital video to 35mm film.

Machinima is a third way of j

making film; it‘s not live action. it’s not animation. Like animation you can go anywhere and do anything and it has film’s ability to shoot fast

~ and shoot from the hip but it doesn’t look as good as something

Pixar would produce.’

It‘s a new democratic method of

filmmaking that. while in its infancy. could be the tip of the

iceberg of a completely new way of

thinking through all the arts. ‘1 think what we‘re seeing is part of a wider phenomenon.’ says Hancock. ‘1 think we‘re moving into an age where creativity will be ubiquitous. We‘ve already seen it with desktop publishing, blogging and desktop music. It‘s getting to the point where there are many less financial restraints on creating your own art. And I think machinima is another step where soon anyone who wants to can make any kind of film or art they want to and release it. Obviously the intemet is a big part of that. In 50 or 60 years there will be kids who have never been aware that at one point it cost £10()—2()() million to make a film because

they‘ll be able to make one on their ;

computer.‘ Welcome to the revolution.



Why do compute games dream of being movies? What do you play console games on? What other medium provides entertainment series that last five to 25 hours? What other medium features quizzes. adventures. real stories. topical events, historical lessons and a variety of choice that games would kill for? Yep. Television. Why do games not want to be television? Fahrenheit uses all television's tricks. from in depth characterisation to that split-screen thing that 24 uses. And if it wasn't for the quick-time events and some adventure game puzzles keeping you connected to the controller, Fahrenheit would be a TV thriller. Thankfully, a hugely enjoyable thriller with only the odd episode of bad dialogue. It holds the attention, shocks and intrigues. making the ten or so hours worth every minute and even invites replay. If only all television repeats were as welcome.

(Iain Davidson)


Jings, criwens and help ma boab . . . aren't stereotypes smashing? Total Overdose is dripping with them. As one dimensional as

Speedy Gonzales. it features every single tOrtiIIa-munching central American stereotype and. strangely, is all the better for it. As a third person action adventurer it plunders every gaming cliche too. But such is the exaggerated, innocently idiotic tone that getting annoyed or insulted by it

is not an option. How can you get angry at a game that allows you to hang out the door of a pickup truck, shooting at the bad guys. before leaping to safety while watching as it ploughs into a drug lord's farmstead? So don‘t be embarrassed by the well worn formula revel in it. Arrrriba.

(lain Davidson)



Moto GP was one of the first games to fully utilise the online capabilities of the XBox. Its infectious head-to-head racing mixed a beautifully balanced racing game with the chance to metaphorically beat up American teenagers. Now we have number three. Again. the online

COMEDY ;- The Dolmio ads re-done in pure l Glasgow style. Humour at its crudest and all the better for it. as the muppet family probably get closer to the truth of the contents : of the red sauce than the real ads. ; /07/pasta-sauce-adverts.html : l

5'3." :4" um. 10;“.


Scarin obsessive list of juggling in films. Highlights include that in Back to the Future III: “at the celebration in the evening. at one point someone does some four-ball juggling. i which is out of focus'. And in Mad Max: ; “about 15 minutes into the film, Mel Gibson 1 does ab0ut four throws of three apples. and ' then gives up and starts eating them'. i

aspect has been enhanced, with more races. a clever seeding system to keep races tighter and the chance to play y0ur solo campaign against other players. Away from online there is little new. except for the off-track road races. but they are excellent. For some reason it feels so much more fun to race a bike

3 on the streets than on a track. and when the

racing is as fluidly

; pleasant as this, you'll wish there was so much

more. (lain Davidson)



; (Capcom) 00

As all the PS2 owners in the land sit around salivating about RE4's

1 imminent port across

systems. Capcom chucks us a bone to

chow down on in the mean time. More

zombies, more survivors and another scramble to safety. This is more File #16 than a full sequel.

; feeling more like an expansion pack of extra

levels than anything

else. There are a few

tweaks in the controls

' but it's still fiddly and

involves far too much

inventory shuffling. The

online communication is

still limited and can lead

l to huge frustration. The ' new scenarios are cool

(especially the undead beasts found in the 200)

L and. as always. the graphics are grotesque. ' (Henry Northmore)

92 THE LIST 6—20 Oct 2005