Video Gaming (EL 250)

2 Jan 2006

Red vs. Blue (ep. 1)

Another example of machinima -- movies made by using environments created for videogames.

Red vs. Blue (ep. 1)

A variation of a theme explored in countless stories about toys that have lives of their own ("Toy Story," Winnie the Pooh, The Nutcracker, The Tin Soldier, etc.) The movie Tron explored in depth the related conceit that computer programs have lives of their own, told through the perspective of characters sucked into a computer. The play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, by Tom Stoppard, is an existentialist representation of Shakespeare's Hamlet, as told from the perspective of two bit players (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern) who are among the many pawns used by the more powerful characters.

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This episode opens as an Avi file on my computer and I can only get an audio feed (2:33)when it loads in Windows Media Player. Are there any other versions available in different formats?

Posted by: Leslie Rodriguez at January 1, 2006 11:02 PM

Leslie, you could try updating your version of Windows Media Player, or installing Real Player instead.

For this video, the audio will be good enough for you to get the gist.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at January 1, 2006 11:26 PM

This video taps into the thoughts of two characters in the game Halo 2 and suggests that they are much deeper people than they appear. The one man begins a highly philosophical rant about the existence of a God. You don’t normally associate this type of high level thinking with video game characters. They do begin to question their existence and presence in this canyon and that is also not something we see every day. The frustration with their jobs happens towards the end of the clip and like so many people they suggest things would be different if they were the boss. This attitude is shared by many working people each day.

Posted by: Leslie Rodriguez at January 2, 2006 09:32 AM

What is the conflict of blue and red? Well they answer that at the end of the clip.
"We should be out there finding new intellegent forms of life."
It questions the point of fighting back and forth. When the other side no longer exists, then there is nothing left to do but sit around; yet if the other side sits around, all there is to do is sit around. Why do people play games? What is the role of these characters? It draws back from the game and the skit is ment to be a reflection for the gamer. What are they controlling? I have played Halo 2, and I'll agree that it does not take any thought to simply play the game. Try it.

Posted by: Stephan Puff at January 2, 2006 03:03 PM

Have you seen WarGames? The central lesson of games -- something Dr. Falken describes as "futility" -- is what the anonymous Red and Blue soldiers ponder.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at January 2, 2006 03:15 PM

Hmmm... The comic hypocrisy of both sides "all they ever do is talk..." reminds me much of the hypocrisy of the American Culture Wars. The first thing that popped into my mind as I watched this clip was "red state and blue state."

Both sides are in the middle of a freaking war and all they can do is talk about why the other side isn't doing anything or ponder why they even bother, not addressing the actual problem.

This clip was also a good satire of people who over-analyze each move in video games like a chess player.

I agree with Stephan that some games are brainless forms of pure entertainment, but as Leslie illustrated, there are deeper issues within these seemingly brainless activities.

People who play games like Halo 2 are generally not going to sit around and think "why the hell are they there, anyway?", but something as simple as where a character is and what is going on around it can evoke serious philosophical questions.

Posted by: Evan Reynolds at January 2, 2006 04:40 PM

I found this clip to be entertaining. I like the way that the characters are given life and the ability to have intelectual conversations even though this isn't something you would normally see from video game characters.Its different which is always good.

Like Puff said, this clip is meant for gamers.
I personally have never played this game however, as my brother sat beside me and watched it laughing I asked him to let me in on the game and after he explained the game I found the clip to be funnier than if I had never known.

Posted by: Kayla Lukacs at January 2, 2006 04:41 PM

Evan, I always appreciate your eagerness to draw connections between something you've learned in my class and something you've learned elsewhere.

Kayla, thanks for explaining how your understanding of this clip changed after you understood the game more. The million-dollar question is, did your brother's understanding of the game change at all after he saw this clip?

This clip is just the first in a weekly series that has been going on for about three years, and the animators are actually making a living off of it. Obviously the animators -- and their red and blue avatars -- aren't the only ones pondering these issues.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at January 2, 2006 04:46 PM

Well I was not able to see this clip but rather heard it. I seemed to have the same questions that Puff did. I do not know why people play games like this because they just do not see entertaining to me. Kayla brought up an interesting point to me when she said that her brother made her see the game in a different light. Which then answered my question as to why people play these games? Because they entertain them!

Posted by: Gina Burgese at January 2, 2006 11:44 PM
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