Player Narratives, Machinima, and Modding
You just bought the coolest and newest game on the market, and like everyone else who may have bought the game you might be really excited to play and see what the game is all about. But what if you had the ability to not only play the game, but add mods to the game that will not only personalize the experience a little more to your preferences but also enhance certain aspects within the play session? Sounds great doesn’t it? Well this is the topic that has taken storm over the years in the gaming industry.
According to the article by Julian Kücklich “FCJ-025 Precarious Playbour: Modders and the Digital Games Industry” game mods cannot only be created by independent game players (i.e. the general public) but can at times be developed by hired professional working within a gaming industry. These mods can be included in the game or sold separately and allow the player to manipulate the game in a different way from its original version. However, the article also highlights the fact that “One of the reasons why this industry has been able to recruit such a large number of voluntary workers might be the fact that the industry has been careful to project an image of itself that highlights its dedication to high-quality games and deemphasises its dedication to profit.” ( Kücklich, 2005) So while the industry makes it seem that they do not want to make profits off of these mods that are being made by loyal players, they are in fact benefitting from the fact that “playbour” exists.
Tying this into the video “This Spartan Life episode 7” we see that game industries are actually in control of which mods can and cannot be made within games. If a company doesn’t like a mod that is openly available they have the power to take down the blogs or independent internet sites that provided the public with this information. Tiffiniy Cheng, the person being interviewed during this video, is a co-founder of a non-profit organization that deals with threats to the general public’s basic rights and freedoms on the internet. During the interview with Tiffiniy Cheng, she speaks in regards to her protest directed towards Congress in order to raise awareness of the issue at hand. The issue being that corporations should not be allowed to take down sites or blogs just because they are not content with the information being given in regards to a specific game. Cheng explains that the internet is a space in which people are allowed not only to express themselves and create anything of their choosing as long as it isn’t direct plagiarism, and that players should be able to continue to have this freedom. Seeing as the gaming industry is already a multibillion dollar industry according to Kücklich, it makes no sense why they would feel that taking this freedom away from players would benefit them; it only makes the player feel more restricted.