If you’ve spent any time at all on YouTube in the last few years, follow Red vs. Blue, or seen the very special episode of South Park “Make Love, Not Warcraft”, you’re probably already aware of machinima as a way of using existing video game environments and characters to “film” movies with virtual sets and actors–kind of like the latest Star Wars films but with better dialogue and a measure of actual creativity.
The applications of these tools are limited only by the imagination, as most of these quality productions can be created with little more than a personal computer. More and more, true innovation is happening in the virtual space, flooding the Internet with new kinds of digital entertainment. One interesting application has been mashups, which combine and modify one or more media sources into a single derivative piece, such as creating a music video using a popular song set to video generated via machinima.
One of the most successful and enjoyable examples of this new art form is a video in which YouTube user jerzwyqt4evah (aka “Kate”) has set musical comedian Stephen Lynch’s song “Beelz” to video of Satan dancing and singing, using character mods from The Sims 2. The combination of these two forms of popular entertainment is naturally greater than the sum of its parts. While watching this, you may wonder why Satan has breasts. I wish I could tell you.
Kate is now working on a series of films recreating Titanic with characters from The Sims 2, which can only be an improvement. Fantasy readers may be thrilled or horrified to hear that she also has plans to create a series based on Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books, “Twilight: the Vampire Stories”, which will explore how the Cullens became a family. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing “Bella’s pregnancy/transformation” in Sim form. You can keep track of these developments at Kate’s blog.