Machinima Documentaries

A machinima is an animated movie that is created using video game animation footage. The history of machinima dates back to around 1990 but didn’t receive mainstream attention until the early 2000s. At that time, the gaming community started producing not only higher quality machinima but also higher quality video games, which promoted the recording of game animation footage.

Traditional documentaries usually feature “talking heads” of people for a majority of the movie. Instead, our machinima documentaries consist of video game animation with oral history excerpts serving as the audio narrations of the documentary. This type of documentary is designed to appeal to people of all ages because of its engaging animation format.

We involve students in the production phase of the documentary creation process. The production phase requires that the students utilize a video game, such as Minecraft, to create the various movie sets for the documentary and then record animation footage inside the video game.

We package our machinima documentaries together with lesson plans that cover various Common Core and/or other academic standards along with 21st century learning skills.

Our current machinima documentary project is called “Sawtelle Japanese American History: A Minecraft-Machinima Documentary,” which tells the story of Japanese Americans who grew up in the Sawtelle area of West Los Angeles during the pre- and post-World War II time periods.