The debate over mods and modding for video games and the initial creators, or companies, stems purely from an economic stand point. People without the technological background required to make a game can instead use ‘engines’ designed by company’s to run their games. With this unique platform available for games it makes it hard to define when a game is no longer solely the property of those who created it. Companies interested in profits that they are able to control (property developed from scratch, or a sequel in a franchise) seem to frown upon mods and the modding community. However, just as any art form is open to criticism once it is released into the public, the unique platform of a video game opens itself to criticism and change.
A similar argument is presented in Episode 7 of This Spartan Life, as they discuss the issue of net neutrality. The Internet was, or at least is now, conceived as a free system able to store and share information with the ability to not only access it nearly anywhere, but for others to access it and use it. Government, similar to major game corporations, sought stricter control over it, and in doing so people responded overwhelmingly negative towards it. Any artist should know that people will find a way to listen, look, or interact with your art if it resounds with them. “As precarious labourers, then, modders are caught between a rock and a hard place. Recognition of their work will not come easy, and will require a firm stance against the profit-hunger of the digital games industry” (Kücklich) However, I would argue the same struggle is present for any artist. The present culture of our society is highly competitive, and as quality of life continues to raise, more and more people are finding that what was once a hobby can be a job, or labour. This does not happen for everyone, similarly to people who know how to play an instrument, but never wanted to be a master, let alone recognized for it.
Lowood argues for the performance aspect that video games and the internet allow for. The ability to change the fundamental properties of a game, making it such a unique platform, lets inovation flow. Modder’s and Machinimist’s delve into the mechanics of a game more than any other gamer may do, and attempt to understand how it can be manipulated for other purposes. While this may deny credit to the original makers of the game, any one interested in what they saw will find (likely through the internet) the original and inform themselves on it. The internet has shown its ability to form large groups that fight against corporate manipulation, and will fight for their collective rights. Gamers, and by extension the modders, are already familiar with the internets own unique platform and, when the time comes, use it to side step companies interested only in profit; and share it with the rest of the internet.
By Connor R.
Kücklich, Julian. “Precarious Playbour: Modders and the Digital Games Industry.” The Fibreculture Journal, 5 (2005). Web. http://five.fibreculturejournal.org/fcj-025-precarious-playbour-modders-and-the-digital-games-industry/
Lowood, Henry. “Real-Time Performance: Machinima and Game Studies.” iDMAa Journal 2.1 (2005): 10-17. Web. http://idmaa.org/?post_type=journalarticle*p=586