Understanding Machinima

Chapter 1

Chapter Machinima: Cinema in a minor or multitudinous key?



Machinima is a new media practice that began with the self-directed experiments and explorations of enthusiastic gamers and hackers. Over its comparatively short history, machinima has become an accessible and vibrant participatory media, fuelling a desire for creative investigation into its possibilities as an expressive and communicative media art form. Machinima has produced a variety of modes and genres, from the knowing anti-war humor (Starrs 2010) of the Red vs Blue series (Rooster Teeth Productions, 2003-present) (DF 1) to the competitive action of e-sports gamebattles on Major League Gaming (DF 2), or the dystopic combat action of Drakortha’s The DC Chronicles series (2011) (DF 3). While some have used machinima to convey educational messages or retell literary works, the full potential of machinima as a pedagogical tool is yet to be determined. In this chapter, we discuss a trial of the machinima production of a version of a Chaucer tale as part of the learning activities of tertiary students in two humanities disciplines. The interdisciplinary and collaborative making of machinima was intended to support the students’ development of digital literacy skills and understandings relevant to their disciplines. As an interdisciplinary participatory media practice, we argue that machinima can encourage a fruitful collaboration across multiple disciplines through the processes of remediation, adaptation and review.


The French Democracy
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Not Just Another Love Story
Part 1
Part 2
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Red Dead Redemption: The Man from Blackwater
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Bates IV, Marlon C., and Kathleen Bruce. 2010. "The Monstrous in Miniature: The Use of Machinima to Defeat Real and ur-Real Monsters." http://www.jurn.org/ejournal/vol2-no1.html
Two interviews with Alex Chan http://vimeo.com/17727384
Salen, Katie. 2010. "Arrested Development: Why Machinima Can’t (or Shouldn’t) Grow Up." http://www.jurn.org/ejournal/vol2-no1.html