Contrary to a lot of idle criticism, Bungie's Halo series of video games has a surprisingly rich backstory -- a universe complex enough to support seven bestselling novels, a wiki with over 7,000 articles, and one of the most successful ARGs in history (including a full-fledged radio drama). The series has also turned out sweeping audiovisual work, from the games' cinematic cutscenes and epic music (lots of free previews) to top-shelf anime and the Hollywood-quality short films -- ODST, Believe, Deliver Hope, Landfall -- that were made to promote the games (the latter of which, produced by Neil Blomkamp, inspired District 9). And that's apart from all the material produced by Bungie's dedicated fan base: genuinely hilarious machinima from Red vs. Blue, professional-level graphic novels (table of contents at the top), gorgeous artwork, hours of recorded dialogue, complete transcripts of hidden apocrypha, and more factual analysis, story speculation, and casual discussion than you can shake an energy sword at. But most of these pale in comparison to the latest and greatest exercise in Halo beanplating: the Svmma Canonica, a 40-page, 17,000-word formal treatise on the nature of canon in the world that Bungie built, and how it will fare once Bungie moves on and the franchise is managed by 343 Industries. Discussion over at Bungie's official site, or at decade-old fan forum Halo.Bungie.Org.
GrifBall! Red Vs. Blue's Sarge and Caboose introduce the rules. A sample match: Bungie Vs. RvB. Context: Since the release of online multiplayer first-person shooter Halo 3, Bungie have allowed players to customise maps with the placement of objects, weapons, spawn points etc. using the Forge feature. Combined with customisable rule sets, unusually innovative custom games are possible. [more inside]
Halo 3: Easter eggs, including the excellent Red Vs Blue in-game dialog easter egg; the RvB Halo 3 beta initiation; 3D images and how-to (dig out your glasses); achievements, ranks, armor, skulls, and campaign scoring explained; Bungie's favorites (videos, pics, maps, game variants to download to your 360)... and that grenade stick.
Digital Artform is a fascinating resource for those interested in 3D graphics, digital painting, and the like. How about turning 2D stills into 3D animations, the truth about motion blur and colour mixing, or outlines in action? Also, a recipe for making your own Viewmaster reels, and the politics of colour saturation.
Yes, that Lincoln Center. So we've briefly noted the clever hack by way of which game engines, in this case, Halo's, can be used to make movies. The best-known of these is the bleakly humorous Red vs. Blue - which, if it isn't exactly this generation's "M*A*S*H" or "Catch-22," rather manages to capture something of the futility of postmodern warfare. Still: is this an opus you'd have pegged to premiere at New York City's vaunted high-culture mecca?