Yesterday, I was rewatching a YouTube about somebody wanting to purchase Machinima, a now-defunct Intellectual Property since 2019. Machinima was the name of an American firm established in the early 2000s to serve as an online medium for people employing the Artform of the same name. The Machinima Artform, at one point referred to as “Machinema,” refers to the practice of creating filmographic artworks through video game engines and assets. The Artform continues to exist, albeit scattered and with some earlier works lost due to the dissolution of Machinima.
Machinima the Firm began in January 2000 as a way for people to contribute to what was then a community of people interested in turning Quake III into a way to create Machinima. The founder of the Firm was the late British filmmaker and journalist Hugh Hancock, who served as the editor-in-chief until his personal resignation in 2006. Apparently, there were disagreements over what the Firm should become going forward in the late 2000s.
This is significant because Machinima the Firm as well as the Artform reached its height around 2007-2010. During those years, people uploaded a mixed collection of shows, montages, and other forms of media for those who thought that video games could be redeployed as tools capable of creating a new medium similar to how radio and television before it.
The types of media produced around this time varied from the sublime to the edgy. In some respects, certain Machinimas reflected the prevailing sentiments of young people living in the late 2000s and early 2010s. A few were formatted like Sitcoms, some designed to be Comedies whose humor ranged between sophisticated and downright childish. Certainly, a number of them would never be made in this day and age, what with Cancel Culture being a thing at this stage of the 21st century.
If there was one thing that amused me the most about the types of media being created through the Artform, it was the prevailing theme of Existentialism that emanated from its practitioners. It was the sort of Existentialism that went farther than the blurring of the lines between childhood and adulthood insofar as it spoke to the medium itself. Will the Artform create a new medium that would harness the technologies of the Digital Sector befitting of the State of Total Mobilization? Or is it just a lingering fad from the early years of the World Wide Web (WWW), doomed to obscurity and eventually inexistence?
For Hugh Hancock, he sincerely believed the Artform could have become something far greater in the early 2010s. He wrote a promising research paper on why he thought that was the case. His belief was that the Artform promised to be a “Democratic Medium,” which is to say that the Artform could be done by anyone who knows their way with video game engines and their assets.
Hancock’s passing away from a heart attack in 2018 almost mirrored the demise the of the Firm. By that point, he had no involvement with the Firm since 2006 and the Artform itself after 2014. Prior to his death, he wrote on his website’s blog in 2014 that the Artform no longer held the mantle for being the only Democratic Medium.
For little did everyone know in the late 2000s and early 2010s is that the Firm was a terrible place to both develop the Artform on and build an actual online community centered around the Artform. As the Firm became more popular on YouTube, the management constantly tried to rebrand itself in order to attract mainstream media conglomerates to buy them out. At the same time, people also began to realize that the Firm’s contracts were one-sided deals that exploited the practitioners of the Artform. This was arguably around 2012-2016. The Firm was later bought out by Warners Bros in 2016 before later being bought out again by Fullscreen, which is apparently defunct as of this writing.
This was probably what convinced the Charles Christopher White Jr., a cofounder of an eSports organization who goes by the online handle MoistCr1TiKaL, to make a YouTube video proposing the notion of buying out the Firm. He argued that if he acquired the Firm’s IP, he would definitely ensure that all the old media will be recovered by all of its practitioners. Most of the old practitioners at this point have already moved on to other things. The few who remained to continue working on the Artform have created so few artworks that it has convinced some to believe that the Artform is dead now.
With that being said, what will enable the Artform itself to become its own medium, distinct from television and the cinema? It will require a developer to build a gaming engine flexible and accessible to enough to facilitate storytelling. The gaming engine has to be pleasing to the artistic eye and supportive of the creative mind. The more possibilities it is capable of allowing, the more likely the Artform will be able to revolutionize and experiment with other genres besides Sitcoms, Comedies, and the odd occasional Drama and Satire.
A Council State, backed by the Work-Standard, might be inclined to consider funding such a possibility. The Council State will reserve the Intellectual Property as a Productive Property whose gaming engine and asset are open-source software which belongs to the Totality. The Totality gets to work with the Intellectual Property to create new Artworks and the Council State receives Digital Arbeit and Digital Geld from the production process. And going by what I had discussed in Part I and Part II of “Social Forums: A Digitalization of Council Democracy,” such an IP can be easily integrated into the National Intranet and given its rightful place in the National Consciousness of the Totality.