Media Culture and Participation (#bcm215)

Character sprites and other details are only a few of the key changes made in the Restoration Project mod

When it comes to participation in media culture, some of the games that I am looking at for my digital artifact have very well build community, even if they are games from the 1990’s, the community is able to keep the game fresh by participating in the areas of paratext – building upon or going beyond what is already there.

This can be done through creating mods for those games, if it be to create a new experience or to simply make it a more modern experience.

According to Raessen, the big difference between ‘culture participation’ and ‘participatory culture’ is that cultural participation is being active within the culture or a culture that is already built around them, while participatory culture is being active and creating demands due to having different interpretation in a culture (Raessens 2005).

Modders will be able to act on those interpretations by taking the paratext of a game, such as Fallout 2 and build upon what is already there. For example; the Restoration Project mod that fixes many bugs and scripting errors can be an interpretation of how the game should have been released from the start by increasing the amount of polish and fixed scripting errors for certain endings at the end of the game.

This video could perhaps be a good example of explaining modding when it comes to the changes (or “reconfiguration”) modders may make to a game (published by Techquickie, a secondary channel to LinusTechTips)

In the interpretation of Raessens, this could also count as a “reconfiguration of a computer game” (Raessens 2005), due to the re-writing of the game’s code to fix the issues the game originally had in order to have an overall better experience.

Users who make mods or ‘modders’ are those who are active in a certain game’s culture, thus can be considered to be a member of participatory culture, where they are able to share their own interpretation of the game through re-configuring an aspect of the game, by using the game’s paratext.

The participatroy culture when it comes to games are expanding further as developers for many games are allowing mods or open-source ports of old games to surface the internet for the vast audience to enjoy, or reconfigure.

References

killap, 2016. Fallout 2 Restoration Project (Unofficial Expansion) – Windows installer 2.3.3. [online] https://www.nma-fallout.com/. Available at: <https://www.nma-fallout.com/resources/fallout-2-restoration-project-unofficial-expansion-windows-installer.10/&gt; [Accessed 16 September 2022].

Raessens, J., 2005. Computer Games as a Participatory Media Culture. [ebook] Cambridge: MIA: MIT Press, p.383. Available at: <https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/3550083/mod_resource/content/1/Computer-games-as-participatory-media-culture%20-%20joost%20raasens.pdf&gt; [Accessed 16 September 2022].

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