Monday, April 10, 2006

From Michael Aronson: A sighting of interesting new media

This is a "talk show" about new media issues produced inside Halo 2, a live online wargame environment. I've sent the quicktime links to the first episode, which explains the set up, and the newest interview, with Malcolm McLaren.

http://www.thisspartanlife.com/1001_mod1.html

http://thisspartanlife.com/1003_mod5.html

Michael Aronson
Dept. of English
University of Oregon

7 Comments:

At 11:37 AM, Blogger Michael Faris said...

Wow. This was fascinating! Thanks for the link. I'll definitely have to keep watching this.

 
At 9:13 AM, Blogger Lisa said...

I also found this fascinating, but I'm not sure what I'm watching. Here's my question. Are those creating this talk show working within pre-set game perameters--ie are they just using the game as is--or are they manipulating the game.

I'm thinking about the moment in module 3 (I think it's three) when the first talk show guest appears and his car drives off a cliff. This is presented as something that the talk show host hadn't planned for, but I'm not sure.

I've seen something like this before where people use game environments to create their own art, and I think there's a name for it--but I've forgotten what it is. Does anyone know?

 
At 5:06 PM, Blogger Kom Kunyosying said...

Hi Lisa,

I think the word you are looking for is "Machinima." However, a lot of Machinima has scripted dialogue, so I have heard "This Spartan Life" be called a "Machinima talk show" since Machinima by itself evokes an in-game skit.

I am not a Halo player so I mostly know about it second-hand.

Indirectly related to your first question, I know that in Halo, you can set your environment to be password access only, so the interviews could have occurred unmolested had the producers chosen.

So, the decision to allow strangers to snipe at the interviews was purposeful. As far as the car driving off of the cliff, it's hard to tell, but they sold me on it. I think the intended stunt was a canyon jump or some such, which then would have been staged.

As far as using the game or manipulating the game, they are doing things that anyone could potentially do in that environment (no strenuous re-programming as far as I can tell). However they do go to great lenghts to repurpose their avatars to appear to be doing things they weren't designed for. For example, I imagine they had to have the solid gold dancers actually rehearse on their controls together to get in synch like that, and I don't think the device they make look like a DJ's turn-table was ever supposed to be one.

Perhaps also of note, the talk show's dancers and DJ belong to an alien "race" that is a nemesis to the humans' in the game. This casting seems to reference talk show conventions.

 
At 5:22 PM, Blogger Michael Faris said...

Has anyone seen the old show Space Ghost Coast to Coast? It takes the cartoon characters from Space Ghost and puts them into a talk-show format. Space Ghost is the host, and the enemy aliens are the DJ and supporting crew - it's quite humorous, and like this show, plays with the trope of there being some form of tension between the host and the crew.

I agree that the car falling off is accidental. It appears that they do this "live," besides the dancer part, which to me is pretty incredible.

 
At 4:46 PM, Blogger Kom Kunyosying said...

I have seen Space Ghost Coast to Coast and agree that it is relevant to This Spartan Life as it is one of the earliest forms of this kind of remediation (does anyone have something earlier?) launching in 1994, and likely influenced This Spartan Life.

Another likely antecedent of TSL is the excellent series, and more purely machinima, Red vs Blue.

http://rvb.roosterteeth.com/home.php

Like TSL, it remediates the Halo environment, but its goals and how it accomplishes them are different. For one, it's scripted (more specifically, very well scripted).

Here's one of my favorite episodes, whose subject matter seems relevant to the summit. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this episode is how it plays on the form of public service announcements while simultaneously presenting the type of info one would want from a PSA. It is totally a must-watch if you haven't seen it before! :

Red Vs Blue: PSA#9 - Reallife Vs Internet:

http://www.machinima.com/films.php?id=717

 
At 1:17 AM, Blogger Michael Faris said...

Thanks for the link to Red Vs. Blue. I think this'll be something that definitely sucks away time from homework!

 
At 1:25 AM, Blogger Michael Faris said...

Thanks for the link to Red Vs. Blue. I think this'll definitely take away some time from my homework!

 

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