Modding reference list

In this post I want to list a sample of some of academic interpretations of the techno-cultural act of modding with an accompanying sentence summarising the piece.

Johnson, D. (2009) ‘Starcraft Fan craft: Game Mods, Ownership, and Totally Incomplete Conversions’, Velvet Light Trap¸ Issue 64, pp 50 – 63, 2009.

Available at:

–          One of the rare examples of a study of modding not based on an FPS platform. Case study of a close knit modding team that built the Star Trek mod ‘Dominion’ and the process of their development and eventual problems (potential opportunities for original developers) with the modders had involving copyright.

Kow, M, Y., and Nardi, B. (2010) ‘Who owns the mods?’, First Monday, Volume 15: May 2010.

Available at:

– Online ethnographic flavoured reading of a conflict between the motives of modders and developers within the MMORPG World of Warcraft.

Kücklich, J. (2005) ‘Precarious Playbour: Modders and the Digital Games Industry’, The Fibreculture Journal¸ Issue 5 (25): 2005.

Available at:

– Summary of the history of modding that weighs in on many of the critical interpretations of modding and notions of ‘playbour. ‘

Owens, T. (2010) ‘Modding the History of Science: Values at Play in Modder Discussions of Sid Meier’s Civilisation’, Simulation & Gaming, August 2011, Volume 42: 4, p481 – 495.

–       Through an analysis of modder discourse from the game Civilisation 3, the value of historical authenticity is analysed through an account of the way mods are constructed textually with regards to this issue.

Postigo, H. (2007) ‘Of mods and modders: Chasing down the value of fan-based digital game modifications’, Games and Culture, October 2007,  Volume 4: 2, p300 – 313.

–       A look at the political economic implications of modding and in particular, what ‘value’ the activity represents to corporate developers

Postigo, H. (2010) ‘Modding to the big leagues: Exploring the space between modders and the game industry, First Monday, Volume 15: May 2010.

Available at:

– This piece provides a two sided interpretation of modding as both an independent and controlled action; participatory culture and free labour.

Scacchi, W. (2010) ‘Computer game mods, modders, modding , and the mod scene’, First Monday, Volume 15: May 2010.

Available at:

– A look at the motives of modders, definitions of different types of mods and why some mods flourish while others might not.

Sotamaa, O. (2010) ‘When the Game Is Not Enough: Motivations and Practices Among Computer Game Modding Culture’, Games and Culture, May 7th 2010, Volume 5: 3, p239 – 255.

–       Case study of the FPS game Operation Flashpoint that looks at the everyday practices and motivations of modders.


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