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'Machinima & Gamespaces (2000 - present)'

Machinima is the practice of making movie documents using videogames. It's origins are in the 'ready-made' (Marcel Duchamp) or in appropriating existing audio/video material for your own purposes. early examples of AV appropriation or 'sampling' are:

Joseph Cornell who in 1936 created his own found-film montage and made the cinema work Rose Hobart from existing material.

Bruce Connor's film from 1958 “A Movie” is another early example of what is seen as commonplace today:

An early excellent example of machinima (using a game engine to animate characters/scenes to create a film rather than a playable game) is 'Red vs. Blue'

Episode 1 Why Are We Here?:

It poses existential questions that the game characters have some trouble answering.

Much of the information and links are based on the work of Berlin artist 'Julian Oliver: '

Julian Oliver has well described 'Machinima and Game Modding': 1. Machinima is the practice of making movie documents using videogames. 2. Machinima began with the Quake engines and used the still existant 'demo' file format to record battles. 3. Machinima usually employs 'in-game actors' and camera operators, that use themselves or cameras in the scene as viewpoints. 4. Some games have started to ship with tools to help the making of Machinima ('Doom3' and 'The Movies' are examples). 5. Content is usually captured out to a video camera or saved in the 'demo' file format. 6. Machinima has grown quickly. Now an established art-form in itself with several film festivals supporting the medium.

'Trends in Machinima:' Music Videos / Choreography Anomalies of gameplay Experiments in virtual being Comedy Historical re-enactments Appropriations of TV shows and films.

An early example of an experimental filmmaker using machinima is NYC based 'Peggy Ahwesh's She Puppet' [].

Wikipedia gives a good overview:

'Game Mods:'

'level editing ('mapping')'

1. involves creating (editing) game levels and perhaps some modelling, sound and texture creation. 2. artist only, generally without programming required. 3. practice arguably initiated by Bard's Tale Construction Set and popularised by idSoftware's Quake series. 4. with Quake, the user became a developer. first entry point for user driven, community distributed content creation. 5. Pragmatic to release tools to do this - extends the shelf-life of the game 6. 'Maps' and other art are distributed in an archive format. 7. Creator is copyright holder of the map only. map creator cannot distribute the game with their work.


1. Modify an existing game, working with gamecode and scripts (if available) to produce gameplay features otherwise non-existant in the existing game. 2. Programming required, will also engage level-editing 3. Some games ship a Software Development Kit (SDK) to make Modding easier. 4. 'Total Conversions' are an expression of the challenge to defy the inheritance of the original game. 5. Mods are usually distributed within the community as archives containing the art, scripts and binary modules required to play the modification. 6. The existing game engine must already be installed.

Modifications typically engage modiication to rendering and/or audio engine performance creation of new gameplay dynamics manipulation of existing gameplay dynamics Example artistic/exploratory modifications

Here is a video documenting a workshop that allowed beginners to learn how to modify a simple pong type game:

Wikipedia gives a good overview of the field

'Brody Condon'

Worship Suicide Solution

Much of his work with video games are no longer online but his work should be explored. He has also experimented with role playing games, uses 3D animation in may of his 'paintings', etc.

Alan Sondheim has used 2nd Life to site powerful performance works:

'Quilted Thought Organ ('QTHOTH')' Game based performance environment, 1999 - 2001:

'Maps and Legends' using a gamespace to navigate a multi-channel sound system CCRMA:

'Fijuu2 by Julian Oliver & Stephen Pickles' fijuu is a 3D, audio/visual installation. Using a PlayStation-style gamepad, the player(s) of fijuu dynamically manipulate 3D instruments to make improvised music. fijuu is built using the open source rendering engine OGRE and runs on Linux.

'NPR Quake'

self playing game:

Julian Oliver's 2nd person shooter: The object of the game? Shoot yourself to live!

'Stole My Car:' 1000 cars in modded game space

'An Unfair War:' An animated film made entirely in Sims2 depicting the monologue of a victim of the American invasion of Iraq.

absolutely prolific game modder:

Rube Goldberg device:

Ben Fry (creator of Processing) code in Atari Games:


'Desert Bus' [] perhaps the world's slowest most boring video game. Used to raise money for charity.

'1378 (km)' [] is a first person shooter game released on the 20th anniversary of German reunification that lets players take on the roles of East German border guards or political fugitives running for their lives.

Helena Bendova suggests:

'1) machinima'

'2) game art' (= works created by fine artists who use (sometimes misuse) computer games and their features to create art; it includes mainly mods, installations in galleries, performances, paintings and videos)

'3) art games or independent games'

'4) AAA games' (mainstream games, created by big companies, but they can be also art).

'Machinima' - first example of machinima is The Diary of a Camper (1996) by Rangers group, made with the Quake engine (Quake (1996) is important game because it allowed the players to record the play)

good sources: Henry Lowood (ed.): The Machinima Reader. MIT Press, 2011. Jenna Ng (ed.): Understanding machinima. Bloomsbury, 2013.

  'Game art' - JODI - SOD (1999)

- Cory Archangel - Super Mario Clouds (2002)

- Joseph DeLappe - Death in Iraq (2006) or Howl: Elite Force Voyager Online (2001) - both examples of in-game performances, with political and ethical meaning

- Anne-Marie Schleiner, Brody Condon and others -  Velvet Strike (2002)

good sources: Matteo Bittanti: Gamescenes: Art in the age of videogames. johan and levi, 2009. (it is in the famu library) Andy Clarke, Grethe Mitchell (eds.): Videogames and Art. Intellectltd., 2007.

'·  Art / independent games

- Tetsuya Mizoguchi - Rez (2001)

- Gonzalo Frasca - September 12th (2003)

- Amanita Design - Samorost (2003) or Machinarium (2009)

- Danny Ledone - Super Columbine Massacre RPG (2005)

- Rod Humble - The Marriage (2006)

- Jason Rohrer - Passage (2007) or Sleep is Death (2010)

- Jonathan Blow - Braid (2008)

- Molleindustria (Paolo Podercini) - McDonalds Videogame (2006) or Operation: Pedopriest (2007) or Every Day the Same Dream (2010)

- Vectorpark - Feed the head (2007) or Windosill (2009)

- thatgamecompany - Flower (2009) or Journey (2012)

- Davey Wreden and Galactic Café - The Stanley Parable (2011)

- Anna Anthropy - Dis4ia (2012)

- Jack King-Spooner - Slugish Morrs (2013) or Beeswing (2013)

- from 2013: This War of Mine, Never Alone, Monument Valley, Valiant Hearts etc.

and many many others: /games by Frasca, Ledone, Humble, Vectorpark, Rohrer, Molleindustria, Anna Anthropy, King-Spooner are usually for free and quite short, so you can easily look at them/

good sources (covering partly art games and also game art):

SHARP, John. Works of Game: On the Aesthetics of Gaes and Art. The MIT Press, 2015. 
SCHRANK, Brian. Avant-garde Videogames: Playing with technoculture. MIT Press, 2014. (it is in the FAMU library)

·         FLANAGAN, Mary: Critical Play. Radical Game Design. The MIT Press : Cambridge, London, 2009.

'AAA games'

- Will Wright - SimCity (1989) or The Sims (2000)

- LucasArts - The Secret of Monkey Island (1990)

- Cyan - Myst (1993)

- Dreamers Guild - I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream (1995)

- Rockstar - Grand Theft Auto series (from 1997)

- Valve - Half-Life series (1998 and 2004) and Portal (2007)

- Black Isle Studios - Planescape: Torment (1999)

- Ragnar Tornquist (Funcom company) - The Longest Journey (1999) or MMO game Secret World (2012)

- Warren Spector, Harvey Smith and others (Ion Storm company) - Deus Ex (2000)

- David Cage - Fahrenheit (2005) or Heavy Rain (2010)

- Bioware - Mass Effect series (2007-2012)

'—- From CAS student Andrej Sykora:'

It's by Paolo Podercini who's also an experimental game designer as Ms. Bendova mentioned, his site lots of games that are playable in browser.

If you don't mind, I've expanded some of the names from Ms. Bendova list with some text and links (and added some others), maybe you will find use for it on the wiki so it does not feel only as a collection of references.

'Independent / Art Games'

Jason Roher

personal page:

An influential independent game designer, notable for using (primarily) gameplay mechanics to deliver “artistic” message.

The Passage is a short game about passage of time and impermanence of love, among other things. It's widely considered to be one of the games that established “indie artgames” and gave them first hint of widespread attention back in 2007. It can be downloaded and played for free:

Anna Anthropy

personal page:

A contemporary example of using games as a way to deal with social (in her case specifically LGBT) issues. Her small interactive fiction work Queer Lovers at the End of the World is “playable” in browser and shows how much can be done with a few hyperlinks and a timer:

The whole “games about sexuality” things got big recently, a great article with other examples (note the amusing Hurt Me Plenty where you spank your virtual “partner” using Leap Motion controller) is here:

Amanita Design

company page:

This is actually a Czech studio producing traditional “point 'n' click” adventure genre games with beautiful visuals and narratives. Founder Jakub Dvořák studied at VŠUP and this is a great example of combining traditional fine art skills with gaming context, while not necessarily “innovating” from the ludological point of view. Their first game Samorost is playable in browser here:

Tarn and Zach Adams

company page:

Two brothers that have been working on their Dwarf Fortress project for almost 10 years now. While Dwarf Fortress is played either as a roleplaying game or a fortress building simulator, it got famous for its extreme attention to detail - every game takes a place in unique, procedurally generated world with its own continents, history, deities, nations, down to individual villages and folksmen.

Another example of a project focusing on “worldbuilding” is Ultima Ratio Regium, developed by Mark Johnson, in his own words:

“As well as providing the challenging gameplay experience one expects from roguelikes, I want to get players thinking intellectually about other issues such as historiography, cryptography, philosophical idealism, linguistics, and many others.”

'AAA games'

Eric Chahi - Another World (1991)

An early example of “cinematic platformer” (the first being considered Prince of Persia), game uses strong visuals and sound design to deliver a movie-like narrative experience.

gameplay video:

Doug TenNapel: Neverhood (1996)

A game taking place in a plasticine world, completely stop-motion animated (was actually the first stop-motion production to use consumer digital cameras).

gameplay video:

David Cage: Omikron - Nomad Soul (1999)

Later developing acclaimed “interactive dramas” Fahrenheit and Heavy Rain, Cage's studio's first game was a collaboration with David Bowie, who himself appears in the game and composed some of its soundtrack. The cyberpunk storyline focuses on themes of identity and reincarnation, often breaking the 4th wall and integrating elements from multiple genres into the gameplay.

gameplay video:

Hideo Kojima: Metal Gear Solid series (1999 - present)

While stories of Kojima's games often contain tongue-in-cheek moments, they also tend to enter the very-serious territory with commentary on war, political philosophy, moral implications of being a professional soldier and many other themes.

One the most famous gameplay moments is a boss fight level from the first MGS game, which required the player to physically unplug his controller from his PlayStation console and plug it into the second slot, so that the enemy cannot read his “mind”.

gameplay video:

machinima_gamespaces.txt · Last modified: 2018/03/28 14:49 by milos-vojtechovsky