The First Machinima Hit? The First Machinima Hit?
Old Brew

The First Machinima Hit?

Machinima is a CG animation technique that uses real-time, 3D gaming engines for its imagery source as opposed to traditional CG software like Maya. The technique has been around for a while, though for the most part, Machinima has remained on the fringes of animation and pop culture. That may be changing however with the release of a recent film that could be classified as the first breakout Machinima hit. The film is MALE RESTROOM ETIQUETTE directed by Overman, and it uses the SIMS 2 game engine for its graphics. The 10-minute film starts off as a mock-instructional film but winds up documenting the world’s toilet apocalypse.

The film has been blowing up online since its release on September 14 with hundreds of blogs linking to it. It was featured on YouTube’s front page last weekend – the first for a Machinima film? – and has received over 1 million views on YouTube in the past three days, and over 1.5 million views total. If anything, this film should go a long way towards proving that Machinima is a technique capable of resonating with mainstream audiences as long as the storytelling and filmmaking are on a par with other forms of animated filmmaking. We’ll keep on top of further developments about this film.

UPDATE: Alessandro Cima, director of the Machinima film DRACULA’S GUEST, points out this WIRED article from last January that highlights a couple of progressive Machinima films, including his own. He also writes:

I think with a software tool completely focused on Machinima filmmaking and separated out from any sort of a game environment, Machinima will indeed be a powerful medium. For now, it’s still a bit too difficult to make games flexible enough to tell real stories. I had to pull my footage out of the ‘Movies’ game and render my own soundtrack in order to get around the game’s limitations. But very soon some enterprising company will give us a complete, powerful Machinima-making application.