Modding the History of Science: Values in Modder Discourse

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.

Owens, T. (2010). Modding the History of Science: Values at Play in Modder Discussions of Sid Meier’s CIVILIZATION. Simulation Gaming. doi:10.1177/1046878110366277

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