This Second Life B-Boy Battle is a Thirty Second Machinima Master Class

Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Here's a Second Life machinima posted this past weekend with some serious style. Blaq Magik's "Battle" is brief, but in that brief window of time it demonstrates a lot of powerful techniques. If you're already about to skip to the comments to deliver some choice zinger about baggy pants and rap music, you can keep your #dadjokes to yourself. Not everyone's going to like Blaq's work, but everyone should still respect it.

Even if you can't appreciate the style, the music, or the seamless b-boy animations on display, you should absolutely be able to appreciate the technique demonstrated in this thirty second slice of a Second Life dance battle. Here's why it works so well:

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What Second Life Looks Like With Features on Full (Even If Few Outside Second Life Any Longer Care)

An SLer named Kaya Angel got sick of the poor portrayal of Second Life as depicted in so many of the badly shot SL videos he'd seen lately (the kind that typically show up in troll-ish Let's Play YouTube videos, I'm guessing), and so he shot this machinima, which you should watch right now:

The video is pretty much a promo for Kaya's Angel Manor Estate private Second Life sim, but since it's so beautifully done (both the video and the sim), I say: Well played, sir. In fact: Click here to visit the sim yourself.

The video's YouTube comments are interesting, because they show a key problem Second Life faces now: No matter how great the graphics have gotten over the years, the poor perception of SL having bad graphics is so deeply rooted among hardcore gamers, it's near impossible to refute outside of established SL users. Take this comment from a core graphics geek:

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Watch a Rip-Roaring Tribute Machinima to a Second Life Motorcycle Community

You watched me try to bike around Second Life with spectacular fail, now watch how it's really done:

Created by ChanAndMe C, it's actually a beautifully-edited tribute to a Second Life motorcycle community who congregate on the spectacular island of Crossing Sands (map link here), which the machinima maker recently met. As he tells me:

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NWN Wishes You an Otterly Happy Holiday


Hey everybody, it's Janine (a.k.a. Iris) here to let you know that we'll be taking the 25th off from posting on NWN. That doesn't mean we're leaving you empty-handed, though.

When Hamlet let me know that he was planning to post some adorable Christmas otters as a holiday sign-off, I decided to one-up him with a Christmas otter machinima conveniently uploaded by SLer Bay Sweetwater a few days ago. I came across this video while skimming the impressive array of holiday-themed Second Life machinima uploaded to YouTube recently and, amid all the Ken Burnsified slow-dances and sleepy panning across snowy vistas, this weird and lighthearted video certainly stands out. You'll probably want to stick around for the cameos from Mario, the Green Goblin, and a tiger that I can only assume is, based on their costume, the king or queen of something.

We'll be back to our regular posting schedule on the 26th, but until then we hope you have a happy, safe, and frosted-cookies-with-those-little-silver-ball-sprinkle-things filled holiday!

My Top Five Favorite Second Life Machinimas from 2014

Here's some excellent SL machinima to watch during the long holiday break while you're wrapping presents/getting ready for parties/going to church/ordering Chinese food/whatever. There's no doubt that Second Life machinima is currently at a low ebb, but the occasional gem continues to appear. Let's start with the hilarious appearance of a tiny alligator:

Read my interview with the creator of Argyle Alligator here.

Four more to watch after the break, including my very favorite from this year.

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Avatars Go to Mars in This Excellent SL Machinima

Here's some visually impressive Second Life machinima seamlessly combining virtual footage and in-world effects with clips from various movies and TV footage:

Created by Erythro Asimov (who also shot this great one last year), it's inspired by NASA's call to register your name on the first flight to Mars, which he and fellow SLer Shannon Cardalines jumped on:

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Second Life Machinima: Mr. Bones Meets a Mermaid

The latest hilarious and lovingly produced installment in the Second Life adventures of Ole "Mr. Bones" Etzel is full of disaster and danger and maybe some hotly hot hotness with a mermaid in the deep blue sea:

"Mr. Bones" is Ole Etzel, a German SLer with a knack for American folk music and machinima, who told me this about the latest adventures of his avatar:

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Start Your Monday Right With 36 Seconds of Absolutely Absurd Second Life Machinima

Nanri Ying Pumpkin Split
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

A fluffy white cat with uncannily dark features stands poolside in the midst of a vast, autumnal forest. There is quiet and the soft lapping of water before the cat seizes up, lifts into the air and drops mechanically down onto one of many pumpkins sitting nearby. In a burst of juice and pulp, the pumpkin collapses into sections like a freshly-whacked chocolate orange. The scene repeats itself several times over the span of 36 seconds, and comprises one of the most absurd things I've seen in a while.

Nanri Ying's "かぼちゃ割" (or "Pumpkin Split") is exactly 36 seconds of a cat smashing pumpkins in the most awkward and somehow perfect manner possible, and there really is no more to it than that. I've already spoiled the entire thing, but I bet it's still not enough. Not until you've seen it. If you don't, the curiousity may very well gnaw at you forever...

So go ahead, watch it for yourself:

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YouTube Gaming Stars Re-Discovers Second Life

Here's a fun, no frills walkthrough of Second Life shot in an inconspicuous shopping mall with nothing particularly dramatic happening -- but it's actually the latest example in the most prominent coverage SL is getting right now:

Why? Because it's shot and narrated by KPopp, a top YouTube gaming personality who has nearly half a million subscribers.* As Janine wrote last month, YouTube gaming personalities have become incredibly popular, with millions every day regularly watching other people play games on YouTube. (The very biggest of them is also the largest on YouTube overall: A dude named PewDiePie, whose YouTube channel has over 30,000,000 subscribers.) KPopp is just one of many YouTube personalities to shoot "Let's Play" videos in Second Life over recent months, though nearly all of them are basically extended (and not very funny) griefer montages. (Then, of course, there's Argyle Alligator.) All told, these videos have probably generated millions of views just this year.

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Watch This Weekend: A Gorgeous SL Machinima on Love Transcending Space & Time

This weekend, put aside eight minutes to watch this lovely Second Life machinima from Tutsy Navarantha, whose works we've often blogged before:

Purportedly based on a true (if virtual!) story, it's about a romance that's built by two people across different time zones within an online world. Tutsy has a clever affectation which conveys the mixed reality nature of real relationships that begin in a virtual context:

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