Machinima is, as Henry Lowood said, a “found technology.” It is the perfect example of creative misuse. Video games were not meant to be used as a medium for storytelling, but somehow players created machinima and used games to tell stories. The stories are often comedic and not meant to be taken seriously, but there are some cases, such as “The French Democracy” that try to point out serious social issues.
I think one of the reasons machinima has become so popular is because it is so relatable to the younger generation. Nowadays, all kids play games. Boy or girl. Older or younger. Almost everybody has some experience with playing video games. And even if they do not, gaming has been so integrated into our culture that everybody at least knows the name of some famous games such as Minecraft. In addition, machinima is easy to create. All you need is to buy the video game because now companies are aware of machinima and have added recording features to many games including Grand Theft Auto and Sims. Even without a built-in recording feature, it is easy to download a screen recording application on your computer.
Another interesting thing about machinima is how creators often use the audience’s assumed knowledge of the game. For example, in Rooster Teeth’s “Red vs. Blue,” there are some references to Master Chief and the alien armada which are present in the original Halo 3 storyline. It is also fun how in machinima, characters are often very meta and self-aware of their situation. In the first episode of “Red vs. Blue,” two red team characters are talking to each other about their purpose. They discuss how the red team exists only because there is a blue team, and the blue team exists only because there is a red team.