Yes, but is it machinima?

Over at Gamers Theatre, mrdougan’s post (which he freely admits is a full-on rant) has triggered some interesting discussion as to what does and does not qualify as machinima.

This is a big question, which prompts strong opinons on all sides. Hugh and I have been predicting for some time now that this will be one of the Big Questions for machinima in the future. My own opinions on the subject are fairly well known: I couldn’t care less. I don’t mean that in a disparaging way, I just mean that I’m not particularly interested in officially designating one creative piece as machinima and another as not. Machinima, as I’ve said before, is nothing more or less than a very useful tool for me. If I find a better tool, I’ll use that instead.

The waters are being muddied a little by the perenial inside-out vs outside-in debate. Many of the machinima community’s auteurs and storytellers get very upset at the idea of game-play and frag videos being included under the same banner as narrative-driven visual storytelling. Unfortunately, I don’t think they have a leg to stand on there - machinima’s origins lie with frag videos and clan-boast recaps. If you follow that through to its most extreme conclusion, then a video entitled How 2 [email protected] Onyxia is the purest form of machinima there is.

Of course I don’t think that my fictional WoW instruction video is the ideal form of machinima. The point I’m making is that there is no ideal form of machinima. There’s just lots of different, and (sorry Outside-in extremists) equally valid forms.

Edit: Phil Rice & Tom Jantol’s Anymation Manifesto (see comments).