This Spartan Life
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|This Spartan Life|
June 28, 2005 - present
Number of episodes:
5 Episodes, 7 Video Blogs
This Spartan Life is an award-winning talk show created by Bong + Dern Productions and produced and directed by Chris Burke, who hosts the show under the pseudonym Damian Lacedaemion. The show first aired on June 28, 2005 and is distributed over the Internet. Created using the machinima technique of recording the video and audio from a multiplayer Xbox Live session of Bungie Studios' first-person shooter Halo 2. The half-hour episodes are released in six smaller parts, called modules. Guests, such as Bungie Studios' audio director Martin O'Donnell are interviewed via Xbox Live within the online multiplayer worlds of Halo 2.
Some of the comedy in the show arises from holding serious interviews in a chaotic game world, highlighted via game glitches, combat with unruly guests, and the presence of other players who outwardly appear to be unaware that the show is being filmed at all. These players fire upon other players, camera operators, and even the host and his guests.
This Spartan Life created "Webisodes" for Spiketv.com, for the 2005 Video Game Awards.
The world of Halo 3 was discovered by the Solid Gold Elite dancers originally intended as a secret in TSL canon, it broke out and the transition occurred, the camera effects had also been changed into theater mode, instead of using a live player cameraman, however, fighting is still occurring in the background.
Also, elements of campaign mode may make an appearance as shown in the briefing bonus video (not posted on the TSL website).
The idea of This Spartan Life was first conceived in late 2004, at Bong + Dern Productions when there was a drop in the amount of audio work for the company. Both Halo players, Chris Burke and John Dylan Keith began to develop the idea of a Halo-based machinima series. The creator, Chris Burke, wanted to create a sort of social environment for nonviolent interaction, but he had little success, mainly because "very few people were willing to stop shooting". After discovering the true potential to hold an intelligent conversation in the game, he was inspired to create a talk show, originally to be called The Spartan 117 Dialogs, the name of which would have come from the official code for the Master Chief. However, before episode one was released the name was changed to This Spartan Life, and all releases have been under that name. The show, while fairly popular, saw a spike popularity with the release of its fifth blog, which centered on network neutrality. That episode became widespread and was shown to the United States Congress. This Spartan Life experienced a surge in media attention, as shown by This Spartan Life's press page.
This Spartan Life has a full cast of characters, each with their own unique qualities, which serve to move the show along. As is typical in machinima, the characters have very strong personalities and are heavily characterized in order to make up for the weakness of machinima: the inability to act. The host, Damian Lacedaemion, is a personable soldier in gray with a smiley face emblem adorning his armor. He leads the show with his carefree manner, and when his guests come under fire, he often has to fall back on his soldiering skills to save them. He tries to rise to a "higher level of discourse" and is the center of the civil nature of the show. Damian has a shotgun, named Phil, which can talk, and prefers to be used exclusively by Damian and will fight anyone attempting to use him without authorization. The show's DJ, DJ Octobit, is named in a reference to the eight-bit music he plays in the show. He creates the music for the show on his DJ console, which is an explosive round pedestal in Halo 2. It is a floating pedestal in Halo 3. He never speaks, yet he has defended Damian on several occasions. In the first episode he is referred to as Doctor Octobit, but later his name was changed to DJ Octobit. The show also features the Solid Gold Elite Dancers, who are the show equivalent of a talent segment; they usually dance to music by Glomag, the alias of Chris Burke, and a segment in the show is reserved for them. Their dances are usually excellently choreographed, as their characters move in near perfect synchronization.
The show also has a number of less frequently appearing characters. Damian's bodyguard, Fyb3roptik, has only appeared in the later episodes, but has an interesting habit of shooting at Damian every time he appears. The running gag is a fan favorite, hence its continued appearances. Also included is Gunnery Sergeant Spillane, voiced by John Keith, who also writes the show. He has only appeared once, to run the bodyguard competition. Peaches and Sherry, the camera operators, occasionally comment on what is going on, but otherwise have a small role in the show. Clarence, Damian's Guardian Arbiter, appeared in Episode 4, but it was later seen that he was killed by a Plasma Grenade. The gamers of Xbox Live are also an important part of the show, as they appear in every episode and provide the chaotic backdrop for the show.
Typical Sections of an TSL Episode
Each episode is about 30 minutes long in total, and contains five to six segments.
- Opening and monologue (Where Damian flies through Headlong in a Banshee and does an intro)
- Travelogue (A glitch montage)
- Interview with a guest (Usually two of them per episode)
- Solid Gold Elite Dancers segment (Where they perform a highly coordinated dance)
- Body Count (A political debate section where the two opposing sides argue and try to kill each other at the same time)
- Credits (Comes with the last portion of the episode)
Halo 3 Limited Edition Bonus Content
On the bonus disk of the Halo 3 Limited Edition there is a special TSL theme. This theme cannot be downloaded via the Xbox Live Marketplace, and is exclusive to buyers of the Limited Edition Halo 3. In addition, included is a TSL Picture Pack.
- Lee, Interview: This Spartan Life A Talk Show in Game Space.
- This Spartan Life: News, 05.10.2006
- This Spartan Life: Press.
- Episode 3, Module 2.
- Episode 3, Module 1.