Red vs. Blue machinima as anti-war film (Starrs, 2010)

Found this media studies article this morning, Dr. Bruno Starrs (independent scholar) had actually watched and analyzed Red vs. Blue, a Halo comedy machinima. This is going to be some news for gamers, I’ll read it when I have some free time.


This paper considers the place of the 100-plus-episode Internet series of Red vs. Blue (Burns and Hullum, 2003-2007) in the context of the war film genre, given that machinima is a kind of cinema. Unfettered by nationalistic censors or profit-hungry studio bosses, makers of anti-war machinima movies often depict a futuristic scenario in which combatants openly mock the purpose of their military leaders and in Red vs. Blue the generic characteristics of the Hollywood pro-war film are parodied ruthlessly. The technological determinism lampooned in the series not only offers a critique of contemporary US warfare but it also self-reflexively parodies the first-person shooter computer game it grew out of, through its re-imagining of the mask-like faces, over-the-top weaponry and hyperbolic armoury of the player’s typical avatar into a more positive vision in which these erstwhile killer cyborgs engage in life-affirming introspection and dialogue. The series thereby makes a cogent case for the pursuit of satisfying, meaningful human agency rather than jingoistic warfare and unrestrained arms racing and this is evidenced by the online forum postings from the community of ‘reverbing’ fans.

I sent Gamepolitics a heads-up on this article and a post was written about it.

Starrs, B. (2010). Reverbing: The Red vs. Blue machinima as anti-war film. Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, 24 (2), 265-277. doi:10.1080/10304310903548639.


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