Machinima has a lot of interesting affordances, most significantly its accessibility as a movie-making medium. The appeal of machinima is the idea of “player as creator”, as Lowood says. And, with the development of the Internet, creating and sharing machinima has become even more widespread. When Lowood talks about machinima made with Quake, he says “indeed, the demo format required access to the game even to play the movies.” And, even when gamers began converting their machinima creations into widely viewable formats, there wasn’t a place where these videos could be collected together and easily viewed. The game The Movies allowed users to post their machinima creations on a community website, as did Blizzard for World of Warcraft machinima, but there was no one common platform for sharing videogame-based movies at the time of Lowood’s article.
Now, YouTube is an Internet giant that exists for the sole purpose of video sharing, and machinima abounds. The videos that we saw in class are a sample of this bounty – we watched machinima videos created by The Movies, Minecraft, Overwatch, Grand Theft Auto, and HALO. The increased accessibility of machinima now provides for exposure to a wider audience, which leads to more impact on Internet culture. For example, the “Diggy Diggy Hole” video (meme? phenomenon?) could not have gained the popularity that it has if everyone who watched it had to be an active Minecraft player. Yet, because of the viral quality of YouTube videos, it has become an element of Internet gaming culture.
Another significant addition to machinima, post-Lowood, is the Sims franchise. Sims allows players to create characters and then basically manipulate their lives, and it seems like a perfect opportunity for people with little movie-making experience to create works of machinima. Indeed, a quick Google search for “Sims machinima” returns a wide selection of videos and articles about how to best create Sims machinima. Second Life, the game we’ve been using in class, is a pale imitation of the Sims universe, but even there we can see the potential for machinima in social games that give the user a god-like role in the lives of their characters. Machinima has come a long way since the early DOOM demos, and its accessibility will likely sustain its popularity and increase its sophistication in the future.