Modding as Mending
Written for the Now Play This 2021 Alternative Ecologies Jam. Inspired by Marina Kittaka's article 'Divest from the Video Games Industry' and all the amazing small games being made in the world and their communities.
I want to mention that I am a game maker and unfortunately the larger games I have collaborated on are not open source or easily mendable by any means. I want this to change now that these subjects are more present in my mind.
Transcript of zine:
MODDING AS MENDING
thoughts on video games
James Morwood - March 2021
The first time I edited some game files I stumbled across, felt like the first time I tore a hole in a pair of jeans.
[Drawing of a cursor deleting the file JEANS.JPG]
[Drawing of a person peeking through a door filled with wavy lines]
The more I think about my relationship with the games I play, the more I realise the value I place in their ability to be taken apart and understood by anybody playing.
The uncountable barriers put up between the player and the inner workings of the largest games and games consoles makes fixing them myself impossible.
[Drawing of a locked chest with a small monitor attached]
[Drawing of a mended sock]
Much like I have tried to learn to fix the clothes I wear so as to make them last longer and reduce the waste I create, I want to help maintain the games I play.
Open source games with their code, tools and other files available to everyone can foster a community where making, mending and playing are equally encouraged.
[Drawing of an open chest surrounded by tiny people fixing, painting and writing]
[Drawing of a person writing with a flower growing from their head]
An economy based on open-ness and led by the community where games can have a long life, being modified and mended, could have ecological benefits. Especially in a community focused on sustainability.
I see new technology sold as more valuable than what we already have but the games that excite me most are small and thrive in low technology environments.
[Drawing of a directional pad with a cable coming out]
Thanks to Emilie Reed and Now Play This for the Alternative Ecologies Jam, Marina Kittaka for writing 'Divest from the Video Games Industry' and Claire Morwood for discussing my ideas.
Instructions on folding an 8-page zine: https://zineopolis.blogspot.com/p/h.html