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Game begets machinima begets game

One of first truly famous pieces of machinima — that DIY art of using video-games to make animated movies — was “Warthog Jump”, a video in which Randy Glass placed explosives beneath Warthog vehicles in the game Halo and made them blow up real good: They’d pinwheel through the air, executing gorgeously synchronized pirouettes. Glass must have spent weeks practicing with grenades to figure out how many were needed to blow the jeeps in precisely the right directions. If you’ve never seen it, go check it out right now!

After you’re done, go check out a little Flash game I just saw called Warthog Launch. The game is based on Glass’ little video: You have to place grenades beneath a Warthog jeep, in the precise quantity and precise location so that they’ll fly up and destroy a bunch of aliens. It’s actually not a bad little puzzle game!

But more importantly, it’s a media tribute of nearly autoerotic dimensions: A game based on a comedy show that was itself based on a game. My head hurts. To add one yet one more layer, astute game historians will note that the gameplay in Warthog Launch is an updating of the 1970s ur-game, Cannonball.

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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