“In the tribal exchange of a gift or ‘potlach’ economy, both the social honor of giving and the unspecified expectation of future reciprocity motivates the gifted circulation of goods”. Schleiner reference to a theory by Marcel Mauss theory is all too fitting for the modding culture. Modding for the longest time wasn’t built for profit and while there are stories of it leading to financial success, the majority practice it as a hobby. A hobby based on community with mostly unspoken guideline that fall into an honor system. Don’t steal mods without permission, credit creators when building off their mods, and ask permission before doing so. Personally modded games have been something I’ve experienced at young age, some of the earliest memories of gaming was the half life mods like counter-strike and wanted. Since then I haven’t used mechanic changing mods but mostly cosmetic changes for visual preferences. Devil May Cry is one particular game that I have had fun changing.
The visual mods I used were more outrageous than I would usually install. I changed the character model of Dante into Master Chief along with all his weapons except for good his DSD sword, which was replaced by a Doom Eternal Guitar. Other mods include replacing the Vergil model with 2B from Neir: Atuomita, his katana into Genji’s dragon blade, the Character Nero is turned into Guts from the Berserk manga, and the style announcer into the Killer Instinct announcer. Most of these mods borrows assets from other games, putting much of that parasitic relation Schleiner discusses. While they don’t effect gameplay changes, outside of replaced objects being too large, it changes the feel of the game. I’m no longer the devil hunter Dante, ending his rivalry with Vergil or Nero trying to stopping the death of two family members of sibling rivalry. Instead if becomes a facetious experience as its a visual regurgitation of pop culture references of my personal interests. I find enjoyment in the clashing imagery of Master Chief fighting a male voiced 2B. Eventually the helmet textures break and the skin of the original model is wrapped around a gold visor in a horrific display as Guts walks over in concern about his father and uncle.
“Game Modding: Cross-Over Mutation and Unwelcome Gifts.” The Player’s Power to Change the Game, by Anne-Marie Schleiner, Amsterdam University Press, 2017, p. 37.