Alex’s Analysis – Doing Our Own Thing

posted by on 13th August 2011, at 10:55pm

Every time I try to find a Runescape guide on Youtube detailing how to most effectively take on a certain monster (because every time I try on my own, I get laughed at and those same “laughers” don’t even try to correct me), I’m not disappointed. In fact, I get an entire list of different movies made by different players, all telling me exactly what I need to know by many different points of view. The qualities vary, of course, like those wicked-annoying soundless videos where to communicate, the player actually types everything in (you can get microphones at the dollar store, y’know). Or those ones that play with explosive-effect text put to heavy metal. These ones also annoy me.

My favourite types, though, are those walkthrough types where the player actually talks us through the steps and guides us through the movie in real-time. Not only does the player explain the thought process without a script (effective because it’s slower and more thorough), but every so often, they make a mistake in the process (whoops, I forgot my antifire shield. I hope I can get out of- shoot, NO! AAARRRRGH!). You get a laugh, and you don’t make this same commonplace mistake (commonplace enough that a professional made said mistake). Love it.

Anyways, there is something that all these guides have in common. All are done by players to help other players for no charge, profit, or reward. Not only that, but with these guides making it easier for other players, whatever the guide contents will become more popular, possibly making it harder for said professionals to do it themselves.

So why would someone do something like this in a world based on “survival of the fittest”? Sure, generosity can count for a few, and a few more can be excused because the player has retired from doing whatever the guide is based on (a level 99 skill guide made because he’s got the max cape, for example). I’ll even quantify a bunch for practice and experience in the field using a more readily available resource when schooling is too expensive.

But I think we can agree that a majority of players, gamers, and fans create these guides for status. To make other players see how awesome they are. Guides are good because they show other players that the player who makes the guide is well-practiced and knowledgeable in the field. Like being a university math professor or a medical practitioner. …which I wish there were more of this day and age.

Not just guides, either. Tons of games, including Runescape, allow players to access a sort of flexible camera mode they can use to make their own movies based on someone else’s content. Machinima. Which, in my eyes, really don’t boast the same sort of credit of making movies with your own ideas. They’re just fast, easy ways to tell a story and express it in a virtual world. Ones we are familiar with.

OK, most of you guys know all this already, don’t you. What’s the point, Alex 43? I’ll tell you.

There are a huge number of these movies, guides, and stories posted on Youtube, done by players either trying to make a statement or just trying to show themselves off. VERY seldom, you will find something in the comments detailing that they did this “for the movie-making experience and criticism”, or “for the common good”.

It’s always about the view count. Getting your name out there. The more time you spend on it, the better. Impress a bunch of people and get yourself a fanbase. Profit? Pah, don’t need. As long as you’re loved and coveted on the internet, who cares how your real-life existence is carried out?

But machinima… why’s it so good at this? How did Rooster Teeth, who practically invented the sport, succeed so well? How do we know these names like Excl and AngryNoob? Several reasons for it.

First, it’s easy. Graphics already done; just need some actors, cut, paste, slash, done. Second, it’s familiar. I think most of us will take a machinima over a back-yard-shot fight scene any day. Third, because it’s so easy to do, more time and effort is spent on the story and making it work, as re-recording is as simple as “replaying” the scene and repositioning the camera in the 3D space. Fourth, it’s inexpensive. Buy the game, a good microphone, a good editing software, and some screen capture or capture-card software. About $200 altogether (if you actually shop smart), and all the movies Youtube can support compared to… what, $3000 for an Adobe Suite license?

And why do game companies do this? Why did Jagex take weeks of development time to create the Orb of Oculus? Maybe they love their fans and players (Runescape also teamed up with Excl to create guides to help players make them). Maybe it’s a marketing ploy (Halo Reach and its infamous Forge World sold X number of copies).

Nowadays, I think you’ll agree with me on this one, a good reason is free advertising. Let the players create these cool movies on Youtube that gets other players wanting to do the same and buying their game as a result. They get hooked on making movies. They need to buy a second copy to get more players onscreen, or their old one breaks from overuse. Oh, you’re going to update the graphics and almost double the number of available skin and playable characters as DLC? HECKS YEAH!

We loving doing our own thing. As human beings, we want to stand out of the crowd. Show the world what we’re capable of. Destruction and vandalism, unfortunately, is illegal in several states and will destroy your life before it makes it awesome, so we instead find interesting ways to create. And because of our fundamental technologies of today, it just keeps getting easier and easier to do so.

Is this a good thing? I say yes. I know, there are a bunch of bad movies out there, and some have caused frustration to many individuals. But I follow the laws of common sense. If I don’t like a movie, I stop watching it. Simple. And with so many people creating movies with ever-improving effects and graphics, what hope is there for the real, major movie productions? …well, they got the money and resource to beat them at their own game; use it!

[I’ll say it straight. I hate over-the-top critics who midcoast almost purely for the laughs. Not you guys’ fault, it’s just who I am personality-wise.]

Next stop: a 3D paintbrush in a holographic virtual reality space. But I won’t divulge those secrets to the human race until after we eradicate all the seven deadly sins.

As for me, you’ll see my standout creations arise in the future. Trust me.

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