Red vs. Blue coming to a Museum Near You

Red vs. Blue is a web series created by Rooster Teeth. It is a parody on first person shooter games, specifically the Halo series. The episodes are so popular that it has been released on DVD and as over 600,000 subscribers to its Youtube channel. Rooster Teeth uses the technique machinima (synchronizing video from a game wit audio) to communicate with the audience. Red vs. Blue has won several awards from various film festivals and contests. First, I must say watching these videos was almost unbearable for me. I was not engaged in any type of game play or fun. The characters were incredibly annoying, they spout out any minute  thought they have (often riddled with profane language). The jokes I truly did not find funny. However, I will do my best to answer the prompt from an objective point of view and I accept that I am certainly not the target audience of the series. Let’s examine the question: is this art? Yes, according to our readings this is definitely art.  rvb

To qualify this as art I will first explain what art is. Art is incredibly abstract, and almost impossible to define. One definition I found describes it as “the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.” As one can see this is a very broad definition but still there are certain requirements that must be met. The requirement I will focus on is “of more than ordinary significance.” To numerous gamers in the world Red vs. Blue is extraordinary. This is essentially a television show designed for them in the modern era. It satirizes the issues of the common gamer just as any sitcom satirizes the issues of family, friends, or love. Gaming is not necessarily a popular mainstream topic, therefore it is rarely represented in a positive or thought out manner. Being represented in media would be incredibly significant to an individual. The gamer in this instance as found their identity in this media form.

Roland Barthes explains in “Death of an Author” why it is so important the viewer control the interpretation of a piece. He claims that the importance of a “text’s unity lies not in its origins but in its destination.” This is important information here when making the case for Red vs Blue as art. The viewer is who really matters. The fact that this series is an important representation of their identities or views is what qualifies Red vs. Blue as art. The creators intentions or motivation does not matter. It really doesn’t matter if the creator made this series out of boredom, for money, or just as an assignment at work. What matters is that it means something to people. It makes people feel emotion. It makes them laugh. Red vs. Blue is art.         

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3 thoughts on “Red vs. Blue coming to a Museum Near You

  1. I had the same first reaction as you when I first watched these videos. I couldn’t stand the characters and did not find it funny at all. I watched multiple videos though for reasons I don’t remember. I must have been really bored or something. I think I said something similar to you did in my blog. Art means something to someone and if Red vs Blue made someone feel something then it’s art.

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  2. Ive always been a fan of the Halo series, but I was never really interested in the red vs blue series but having played halo a lot gave me more of an understand of their jokes on some videos I’ve watched. But as you’ve said it defiantly qualifies as art in the way that it is one of the most popular introduction of machinima we’ve seen. I believe your point of the death of the author is well used, as to people it is what they enjoy and continue to watch what really makes it art along with being a series based off a video game. Well done!

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