Players Unleashed!

Modding The Sims and the Culture of Gaming

Tanja Sihvonen

Players Unleashed!

Tanja Sihvonen

Distributed for Amsterdam University Press

221 pages | 16 halftones | 6 3/10 x 9 1/2 | © 2011
Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9789089642011 Published July 2011 For sale only in the United States, its dependencies, the Philippines, and Canada

It has been ten years since video game giant Electronic Arts first released The Sims, the best-selling game that allows its players to create a household and then manage every aspect of daily life within it. And since its debut, gamers young and old have found ways to “mod” The Sims, a practice in which gamers manipulate the computer code of a game, and thereby alter it to add new content and scenarios.   

In Players Unleashed!—the first study of its kind—Tanja Sihvonen provides a fascinating examination of modding, tracing its evolution and detailing its impact on The Sims and the game industry as a whole. Along the way, Sihvonen shares insights into specific modifications and the cultural contexts from which they emerge.



I. Unleashing Players
     Game and its modifications
     Product and process
     Understanding gameplay
     Reconfiguring textuality
II. Cultural and Commercial Appropriation
     Modding and participatory culture
     Game development in context
     Histories of modding
     Modding simulations
     Serious game development or intense play?
III. Dynamics of Modding
     Categorising modding practices
     From interpretation to configuration
     Sharing the idea of play
     Private and public spaces
IV. Negotiating the Code
     Playing with the Sims
     Game space as canvas
     Playing house, performing gender
V. Extending the Game
     Pleasures and politics of simulation
     From recycling to remediation
     Kinky play: pornographic hacking and The Sims


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