Since their creation video games have evolved from late night experiments into one of the highest grossing entertainment business' in the world. Very quickly after the creation of the smash hit Pong video games became a numbers game in and of itself. How to play the entertainment field in order to maximize profits and minimize failure is the game that 'the man' now plays with the game design companies. Thus because the man ultimately controls the games that are developed, the players must take things into their own hands and do as Bernie DeKoven would do, and adapt the game or even iterate on its designs and actions.
Most recently, there has been a surge in game modding culture. Video games are a unique branch of games because the rules are strictly enforced. In order to achieve the main goal, the player must adhere to specific game play parameters. Such a rigid and forced construct of rules create the niche for rebellious players to "... find unique and inventive ways to reinscribe rules, often hijacking features or flaws, or making superfluous frill a central part of the game mechanic" (Fron 4). In Julian Oliver's Quilted Thought Organ(QTHOTH) the game engine still remains the same, but the game mechanic is changed from an FPS into an exploration game for the senses. While the original parameters of the game were still intact Oliver bypassed them by removing the subjects that they applied to, i.e. the enemies, territorial goals, and consequences for winning or losing. He also changed the obstacles in the game; new obstacles include discovering which surfaces do what. In an environment that is completely alien to anything the player has ever seen, they must navigate though the area with no information as to which surfaces are solid, which surfaces play noises, and which the player can pass through.
The concept of players modifying games is not new to the video game genre, it was also a concept fully embraced by the game playing dadaists. Members of the Dada movement utilized prefab objects in their strange, but unique creations. The focus was not necessarily on the object itself, but more the items potential energy (Pearce 4). The potential for an object to become something more, something different, something that it was never intended for. Yoko Ono, a member of the movement, iterated on the game of chess. In one of her versions, called White Chess, the rules are enhanced by including that the players should play by trust since the game board and all the pieces are white. The goal of the game still remains the same, to capture the opponents king, but visual information has been taken away from the players. The players must work together and agree that each other is legally moving their piece before play can continue on each turn. Yoko Ono's White Chess could be viewed as an early open source project as well, because inherently being a Dadaist object, it affords alterations to the game play. But also the board and player pieces are so ambiguous that new goals and strategies can develop through emergent game play, a goal which the New Games movement members also strived for.
The New Games movement was an attempt to reduce the influence of the competition in games and focus on the fun of playing. With new games it was not whether you won or lost, it was truly whether you had fun or not. One of the new games that was developed was Rock, Paper, Scissors tag. In this game the players goal is constantly shifting as they are traded from team to team. Also, if we view each of the players as a resource for each team then the resources are constantly in flux as well, sometimes balanced and other time severely imbalanced. When... if the game ended though there is no consequence. In theory there is no looser, since the last person to get tagged is assimilated into the collective winning team. As we saw in the iteration of the game played in class, the rules of these new games are very flexible. Unlike the hardcoded rules in video games, participants in new games were invited to alter games all the way down to a fun-damental (... get it, fun) level.
In the gaming world there is a counter culture full of modders and designers and hippies who don't want to be constrained by the rules and parameters that are forced upon them in the game world. Through modifying these games players get a chance to include the objectives that make a game fun for them. As stated in the Sustainable Play article, "Like children in a playground, some digital gamers yearn to play free—rather than be confined within 'worlds that they never made' "(Fron 5). Big corporate companies who are in the game business to make money have discovered peoples yearning to create their own content and iterate on their game designs. Since game companies found that they can make a great deal of money from mods that go mainstream, like Counter Strike, they too are now involved in the mod scene. Companies who disperse game editors, can be viewed much like the flux factories who released the FluxKits in the sixties. Even though game companies, unlike the fluxus factories, are extremely capitalistic, the theme still remains the same; allow the player to define what play is to them.