2. Red vs Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles
The surreal adventures of Sarge and Donut are not the first instances of machinima, but they certainly are the most influential, drawing attention to a medium the vast majority of gamers didn't know existed. On paper, it sounds extremely boring - in-game models of Master Chief act out dialogue written by a bunch of unknown fans. But when you watch it... it's so out-there and absurd that you can't help but smile.
Originally planned to survive only a few episodes, the show's instant popularity was buoyed by worldwide attention that eventually landed awards for the creators. Bungie and Microsoft enjoyed the content so much they didn't even bother to issue a Cease and Desist order. In fact, they embraced the show and put it on their official demo discs sent out to retailers. Anyone who walked past a kiosk at Toys "R" Us, Wal-Mart or EB Games probably watched at least one episode.
What brought this internet sensation to life? Legend says it was this very conversation about the Warthog:
Maybe it works for you, maybe it doesn't, but there's no denying how important this series was for establishing Halo and Master Chief as icons. The games obviously did their part, but a show, well anyone can watch that. It truly opened the door for all other fan-service Halo projects. It also proved that graphics had finally reached a point where one could produce entire shows based on the visuals and the average person could follow along without squinting at blurry N64 textures.
For more on Red vs Blue and Rooster Teeth, head to their official site.