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Playing Games as Films and Spectator ‘Sport’

Link: Wonderland: Red vs Blue deets.
This is mental [and also no doubt as old as the air I breathe but there you go]: a bunch of people have been making ‘films’ from their Halo games.  Red versus Blue are a series of films created from Halo ‘games’ where the ‘directors’ [a group of friends] strangely enough ‘direct’ characters, set scenes and, crucially, add their own audio over the top – to give it that Jon Motson action feel 😉
That’s just geeky shit, right?  Well yep, but evidence that the world is getting geekier: approx. 1 million people a *week* download and watch this high drama [well, drunken comedy actually]!  But a week!:

Every week, Mr. Burns gathers Geoff Fink, 28, and Jason Saldaña, 25, and some other friends to play a videogame called Halo. They edit the on-screen images into roughly five-minute videos that have plots, recurring characters and original soundtracks. Like puppeteers, each man controls a computer-generated character on the screen. They also provide the voices along with friends in other cities, who send in their audio tracks over the Internet. The group distributes the series online and on DVDs. Now on its 29th episode, the low-budget production has attracted a cult following and shows signs of crossing over to a broader audience.
From The San Fransisco Chronicle [PDF copy].

Now I know that broadcasting video game content is not new but this amateurisation of the mass market is quite incredible.  The Red versus Blue production team was set to do the same for Sims 2 with it’s movie making function.  How soon will it be before films of games become the object of gaming in their own right? A productive outcome to having fun – creating and sharing videos?

And then there’s Blinkenlights.  Ben just showed me this.  Awesome – playing Pong, Tetris and Pac-Man using the lights of public buildings [all done in association with the buildings owners].  Now this is plainly not scalable but it raises the question of games as a public spectacle.  We used to work on the premise of games as only providing personal enjoyment.  Being in control was perceived to provide the main form of utility.  Is this still true?  Some games are so good as to be filmic quality whilst others, like the mobile games that Blinkenlight produce on public buildings are a proper public spectacle to rate with any other.  Fascinating where this could lead – shop windows as interactive games walls?  Project your own gaming at home onto your window, ‘watch’ you favourite gamers on TV/mobile/PC/games platform [which are all merging as products and experiences anyway. non?]….