It's only in wmv format, so far, and plays in the browser. No spoken dialogue, just subtitles (in English) with background music and some sound effects. Formally, it's unusual in having a large number of characters. The majority of machinima I've seen focuses on one or two point of view characters. Given this approach and the subject matter, it reminds me of the social novel, where a host of characters represent multiple social strata. Watercooler Games notes some Sims-based social commentaries as antecedents.
The creator, koulamata, discussed the work on a machinima forum, commenting on the production process, politics, and software. S/he has previously done action videos.
Thinking of the quick production timeline, is this new game, The Movies, emerging as a leading machinima engine? Moreover, will its relative ease of use expand the pool of machinima creators? Comments from The Movies users...?
Sober-x is this week's bad worm, and I wanted to note it here under the fearsome net department. Worms are bad enough, of course, but Sober-x draws on some classic Cold War scariness, by pretending to be from the CIA. They're watching you already, and want to ask you a few questions. There's also an FBI version.
How long until a followup worm uses other spy agencies? Will we have a hackware version of great The President's Analyst (1967)?
Now, one's ARG-informed response would probably be to examine that Edoc company site for ownership, check out phone numbers for it, and of course dissect the pages for clues... Especially as products aren't due for a few months.
More on Lost (2004-present): based on enthusiastic comments in response to my first post, and thanks to NetFlix, I've seen the first season of this show. I've benefitted from the productivity of the Web, which offers a group of inspired and well-developedfansites.
The series is a fascinating work of fantasy. One part of the series, stretching over all episodes, is sustained character exploration through flashbacks. The other major narrative component is the incremental exploration of the island whereupon the characters are stranded. These two threads knit together in great detail. Watchmen (1986-1987) has a similar structure.
I mentioned fantasy, but do not mean to evoke the marketing mechanism of Tolkien clones. I mean stories which turn on distortions of the ground rules of reality, as Eric Rabkin explains. Lost tweaks our expectations for story reality gently, with invisible monsters, dreamlike intrusions of phantasms into waking life, and the gradual buildup of a sense that the island is in some way an exception to everyday life.
Lost is also a mystery, but, once more, not in the narrower generic sense. From the first moments of the pilot each episode presents hints of other characters and places, glimpses into shapes whose outlines remain obscure. Most of the present plot, and some of the flashback-housed plotlines, concern exploring these mysteries. The genius of the show is partly about never fully sounding these deeps, but extending them in other vectors with each revelation. An effect of this strategy is the problem of describing the show's contents, given the easy spoilage that esults.
So, spoiler warning now: the show may be the biggest work of fiction connected to numbers radio. Click on that link at your peril.
Speaking of sounds in cylinders recovered from the abyss of time, they received their share of the uncanny, like every new medium, both in their wax and tinfoil storage media. We noted the cylinders in Dracula, and I've always wondered just how much madhouse ambient noise would make it into the speeches of Seward and Van Helsing.
What about other examples of uncanny wax cylinder recordings?
There's H. P. Lovecraft's "Whisperer in Darkness" (1931), which features not only a spooky recording, but an ironic and posthumanist parody of cylinder recording at its conclusion.
Here's a contemporary, nonfiction response to Edison's machine:
"this machine bears a paradox: it identifies a voice, fixes the deceased (or mortal) person, registers the dead and thus perpetuates his living testimony, but also achieves his automatic reproduction in abstentia: my self would live without me–horror of horrors!"
The first report of such a call came in 1995, in Devil's Lake, N.D.; another came later that year in Fallon, Nev. The caller, usually pretending to be a police officer investigating a crime, targeted stores in small towns and rural communities -- areas where managers were more likely to be trusting.
Most were fast-food restaurants, where the male and female victims were young and inexperienced, and assistant managers were likely to be working without supervision.
An interesting point in this case is that a surveillance camera recorded events in that room for the entire time. Did that component strengthen obedience, not to mention performance desires in the others involved?
Discussions also havetouched on the psychological dynamics (why obey? why not revolt?), the social (what were the coworkers doing?), and the political (Abu Ghraib references).
The voice on the phone mobilizes all of these levels, then races across cultural boundaries, as we've seen before. Notice how accounts of this story swirl around layers of concealing and revealing sexuality - which acts performed, what described or shown by journalists. Note as well the fetishizing and undermining of authority, the leap across age barriers (one 18, the other 41). The phone is becoming what the automobile was in 1920s America, a tool and icon for social anxiety and derangement. The mobile phone is just more so.