Galloway and Games

When I was reading Galloway’s chapter about games, I was wondering when he would bring in cinema.  Shortly into the Chapter he compared what Jean-Luc Godard and the countercinema of the 1960s did to the new countergaming, which consists of mods.  While reading this chapter I couldn’t help but think that Galloway was overstating the impact of Godard.  While I’m sure he has inspired many directors over the years, his overall impact can be seen by watching the majority of movies that come out: they follow the classic cinematic model.  While there are some directors that like to throw in twists, and like to change around the timeline of a movie, overall it can be said that the majority of movies follow the classic model.  So as I read, I wondered how he would overstate the importance and scope of modding in the gaming world.  He sites briefly a few of the most famous modding games in Half Life and Counter Strike but then goes on to talk about some of the lesser known mods, the not so typical mods.  The typical game mod will change the aesthetics of the game or will change the rules, not change the game entirely, because if one wants to change the game, why not make one yourself?


While playing the four games by Jason Nelson, I found myself confused.  While I think the games were there to question what a game is, I was just overwhelmed.  There was just too much going on, from the text on screen to the music/dialogue in the background to comprehend what was going on.  Maybe that was the purpose but if so, it’s not something I’m interested in.  I immediately wanted to quit the game upon starting it.

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2 Responses to Galloway and Games

  1. Hayley Roder says:

    I am definitely with you about being overwhelmed and wanting to quit. In “I Made This, You Play This,” one thing I noticed right away is the last rule–“Stop trying to ‘get it.'” And I think that’s the major point of countergames: there’s nothing to get. It’s confusing and messy because it can be, because it isn’t governed by the typical rules of games. It can be whatever it wants to be. If it was too clearly structured or defined, it would just be a normal game, not a countergame.

    I also felt like Galloway might have been stretching it a bit with his references to cinema in this chapter. While there were a couple of direct correlations between those cinematic structures and video game structures, it wasn’t entirely clear where he was going with it.

  2. Mike says:

    I just wanted to clarify in your post where you mention “modding games in Half Life and Counter Strike.” It is true that both of these games have many mods, but I want to point out that Counter-Strike did not start out as a free standing game. It started out as a mod for Half-Life. The license for this mod was acquired by Valve who proceeded to sell the game commercially.
    Next, in answer to your question on “if one wants to change the game (entirely), why not make one yourself?” I think that the reason players mod the game instead of making a new one is because it is much easier to make a mod or even a total conversion than building a new game engine from scratch. Galloway I believe also thinks this is the case. He says that “Few new-media artists build their own game engines from the ground up, and practically none of them build their own computers” (Galloway p. 113). He talks further about the symbiotic relationship between the game developer and the modder.
    Finally, I agree with you that the games were slightly confusing. I was a bit disoriented from time to time but I believe this was taken into account by Jason Nelson and part of his plan for players in how they would experience his games.

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