After years of moderate success in the tech and gaming industries, Michael “Burnie” Burns gathered a group of friends with similar low-paying jobs and created Drunkgamers.com. The website, which promoted the blissful combination of alcohol and video games, became a cult favorite for gamers and produced a brief short in early 2003 called Red vs. Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles that caught the eye of Computer Gaming World months after the convivial site was off the air. The brief moment of success inspired Burns to call on friend Matt Hullum and fellow drunkgamers to start Rooster Teeth Productions – a production company dedicated to creating machinima. The site launched in 2004, and now produces arguably the most famous content of its ilk and is contracted by companies like IFC and MTV for game-specific promotional shorts.
Of Rooster Teeth’s three web serials, Red vs. Blue is the longest running, most popular, and the one that put the site on the map. Using famous multi-player game Halo as the source material for its ridiculous shenanigans, the plot is wholly separate from the fighter game’s storyline and uses Halo mostly as a backdrop for odd site gags and gamer in-jokes. Spanning a handful of seasons since 2003, its video archive contains only new episodes and selections from the previous season (old seasons can be purchased on DVD). The Strangerhood is a Real World parody with seven strangers trapped in an unfamiliar world – the world of Sims 2 – for an unknown purpose. It was contracted by IFC and all 17 episodes (plus extras) are available in full. The four-episode series PANICS is a promotional program made for the release of the Windows-based game F.E.A.R., featuring an alternate storyline but set in the same universe of guns and military operations. A fifth and final episode of PANICS will only be available on the pre-order edition of F.E.A.R. For fans wanting to learn more, check out the hyperactive forums and Roosteeth news. For more entrainment, the comics are definitely worth a few laughs.
Red vs. Blue is one of the most well-known machinimas around for a reason. While the other two series are good, the storyline in Red vs. Blue is more involved and entertaining, the characters and setting are manipulated to look much more natural than the other two, and the jokes are just funnier. Episodes come and go however, so you have to keep checking to find your favorite.