The world's best machinima.

Culture and technology.
Feb. 20 2007 12:10 PM

The Nerd Auteurs

A video slide show.

Click here to launch a slide show

Over the past 24 hours, I have seen a night elf and a dwarf compete in a "dance-off." I have seen an Arab guerilla force overwhelm American soldiers in an Iraq-like setting. I have seen Princess Leia gyrating to "My Humps" for the benefit of Han Solo. I have seen fighter planes conversing in French. Yes, I've been watching machinima.

Machinima, perhaps the worst-named genre ever, is the blanket term for movies made with characters and graphics from videogames. The typical machinima comes to life when two teenage boys move their Halo 2 fighters around, record the scene using computer software, dub "funny" dialogue over it, and post the result on YouTube. At first glance, machinima seems like a cultural freak show along the lines of fan fiction. But a small bit of digging reveals examples that are well-crafted and clever, including the long-running series Red vs. Blue, and The French Democracy, a response to that country's 2006 riots. Machinima is currently the province of amateurs—full of surprising, pointless creations. That may change quickly, as machinima is ripe for mainstream adoption. The Super Bowl this year featured a Coke ad that was a homage to Grand Theft Auto, and with video games firmly established as the lingua franca of teens everywhere, more machinima-esque shows and movies are sure to follow.

Click here for a video slide show of machinima, before it's overexposed.

Michael Agger is an editor at The New Yorker. Follow him on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Doublex

Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Learns That Breaking Up a Country Is Hard to Do

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!

Culturebox

Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
The World
Sept. 19 2014 11:36 AM Breaking Up Countries Is Still Hard to Do
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 19 2014 12:09 PM How Accelerators Have Changed Startup Funding
  Life
The Vault
Sept. 19 2014 12:08 PM The CIA Used to Have a Commute-by-Canoe Club. One Member’s Memories.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 11:33 AM Planned Parenthood Is About to Make It a Lot Easier to Get Birth Control
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 12:10 PM Watch the Trailer for Big Eyes, a Tim Burton Movie About People With Normal-Sized Eyes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 11:40 AM Apple Invented the Perfect Way to Handle Your Giant New Phone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 12:13 PM The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola  The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.