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The Machinima Reader$
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Henry Lowood and Michael Nitsche

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262015332

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262015332.001.0001

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Don’t Mess with The Warriors: The Politics of Machinima

Don’t Mess with The Warriors: The Politics of Machinima

(p.315) 18 Don’t Mess with The Warriors: The Politics of Machinima
The Machinima Reader

Matteo Bittanti

The MIT Press

The in-game work of machinima can often lead to conflicts between player expression in the commercial game world and the ownership of artistic game assets and intellectual property by developers and publishers, a conflict that burdens machinima’s independent development. This chapter focuses on an apparently negligible episode in the history of machinima—the self-censorship of Dave Beck’s The Highest Score—a controversial school art project based on Rockstar Games’ video game The Warriors (2005). It begins by briefly describing two “toy stories,” seminal interventions in which two artists, Todd Haynes and Zbigniew Libera, appropriated specific ludic artifacts—Barbie dolls and Lego building blocks, respectively—to make a commentary on society. It then illustrates Dave Beck’s artwork and its repercussions in the blogosphere. The chapter addresses the following key questions: What happens when ludic artifacts—dolls, construction blocks, and videogames—are used for artistic interventions? And, perhaps more important, what do we really talk about when we talk about machinima?

Keywords:   self-censorship, Dave Beck, The Highest Score, The Warriors, Todd Haynes, Zbigniew Libera, ludic artifacts, intellectual property

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