Sharp Shootin' Spartan

"This Spartan Life" is a machinima talk show about media art and made entirely on the X-Box in Halo, Microsoft's uber-popular first person shooter. A team of skilled players make up the cast and crew: Damian Lacedaemion (the host), DJ Octobit, a troupe of "Solid Gold Elite Dancers," as well as multiple camera operators. The guest list for the first episode includes new media visionary Bob Stein and video artist Peggy Awesh. Damian plays both host and protector to these guests; often putting the question and answer sessions on hold while he offs the "n00bs" who mistake his not-so-private X-box Live game/Machinima Studio for a combat zone. In Halo, violence is casual. Not so in a talk show. "This Spartan Life's" insistence on juxtaposing the two renders the brutal murders of other players (and guests) absurd and hilarious. Furthermore, Halo's treacherous and Gothic landscape serves to spur on interesting conversation, as the guests, unfamiliar with the game, analyze the enviornment they've been thrust into. Episode 1, which also includes a choreographed dance sequence, some well curated chiptunes, and a CNN Crossfir--style battle to the death, is online now. - Matt Boch