Meaningful Play 2018 at Michigan State University

Paper Information

TitleJust Modika: Perils of Modding in Doki Doki Literature Club
Presenter(s)Sara Raffel and Mark Kretzschmar
SessionLearning by Creating
TimeSaturday, October 13, 10:15a-11:15a
LocationMSU Room
FormatPaper Presentation
DescriptionGame modifications, or mods, often provide fans and gamers with interactive game content beyond the limitations of the original work. However, when modders invent new content for independent activist or art games, they can disrupt the developer's intended message. This is the case with two mods that were created for the popular independent game, Doki Doki Literature Club (DDLC). The unmodded version of DDLC critiques the cultural hegemony driving the dating simulator (dating sim) genre and the concept of player control over narrative games. Both mods restore the dating sim's original tropes to the narrative by allowing the player to "save" the doomed characters or romantically pursue the antagonist, Monika. The mods replace the themes of psychological terror and loneliness present in the original game with heartwarming sentimentalism and even humor; both mods erase the activist message even while providing solace to players who were initially disturbed by DDLC.

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