Read My Article On Civ Modders in the Journal Simulation & Gaming

I am excited to announce that an article I wrote about how the game Civilization modders, players that edit and alter the game’s code, is now available as OnlineFirst through Sage. The project was a ton of fun and I hope it sparks some good conversations. You can find the abstract bellow.

Sid Meier’s CIVILIZATION has been promoted as an educational tool, used as a platform for building educational simulations, and maligned as promoting Eurocentrism, bioimperialism, and racial superiority. This article explores the complex issues involved in interpreting a game through analysis of the ways modders (gamers who modify the game) have approached the history of science, technology, and knowledge embod- ied in the game. Through text analysis of modder discussion, this article explores the assumed values and tone of the community’s discourse. The study offers initial findings that CIVILIZATION modders value a variety of positive discursive practices for devel- oping historical models. Community members value a form of historical authenticity, they prize subtlety and nuance in models for science in the game, and they communicate through civil consensus building. Game theorists, players, and scholars, as well as those interested in modeling the history, sociology, and philosophy of science, will be inter- ested to see the ways in which CIVILIZATION III cultivates an audience of modders who spend their time reimagining how science and technology could work in the game.

For those of you outside the great paywall, I have a copy of the article here on my personal website.

5 Replies to “Read My Article On Civ Modders in the Journal Simulation & Gaming”

  1. Hi Tevor! I greatly enjoyed your article. I've been approaching the mod boards from a similar angle, but focused more towards the learning/engagement side of things. I presented this work at Playing with Technology in History recently; my (flawed) first draft can be downloaded there. I'd be interested in your feedback on it!

  2. Glad you liked the article Shawn. I read your paper and Rob's comments, and it looks like you are up to some cool stuff.

    As far as your difficulty with the Mod as a classroom assignment, I think the big issue there is time. Students can jam out a 5 page essay in an afternoon. Downloading, installing, playing and thinking through a Civ mod is a much larger endeavor. I think if you really want to do something with Civ as part of a course you would need to build in a significant amount of time.

    If you want to go further with the analysis of the community interactions I would encourage you to read Kurt Suqire's paper on apolyton university. The citation is in my paper. He had some neat ideas about how to document practices in the community.

  3. Thanks for the tip. The time issue is the thing, isn't it… part of the problem I think is that students are already playing a "game" where they already know all the rules and forms (essays, discussion forum posts in the LMS, etc), so changing the rules on them results in a lot of passive-aggressiveness. Maybe distance/online was not the best forum for a first try.

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