Subversive Play : Your Game, My Rules

Games have defined goals and interactions. Most games are set on a rigid set of tracks that the player traverses. The outcomes are known, or at least predictable. The Game Designers are the ultimate Gods of the game world. We are merely manifesting what they wanted manifest. But what would happen if we played a game defying its creators? 

 

I chose the game SCP Containment Breach for the experiment. SCP Containment Breach is a free survival horror game made by fans of the SCP online forum. I had played it a couple of years before, and decided to go ahead with this game because :-

  • I couldn't really play and enjoy it the way it was meant to be played.

  • It had flaws. Since it is a non-commercial fan-made game, it was bound to have glitches I could exploit easily

  • I am a big fan of SCP.

 

Chickening Out

I started off by playing the vanilla game, looking for any leeway I could use to achieve my ends. As before, I found the game almost unplayable because of my bias against the horror genre. I absolutely loath mainstream horror because it uses cheap tactics like jump scares and ominous music that you are hard wired to be afraid of. 

 

While playing through it though, I was reminded of a Harry Potter concept called a Boggart. Boggarts are creatures that take the shape of your worst nightmare. But if you laugh at it or cast a spell "Ridikulus", it turns into something you find funny. I thought that if I could make the game funny, I would be able to play it.

 

Overwriting Everything

So, I checked the game folder. Sure enough, the game had most of it's visual and art files accessible. I proceeded to replace ominous sounding alarms with fart sounds and the cold clanging doors with sneezes. I even took the liberty of giving googly eyes and senpai-induced-blushes to the monsters in the game. 

 

When I played the game again, I could already feel the tension ease. There is no greater joke known to Mankind than a nice wet fart, and it shows. Although I couldn't shake off all the horror the game had to offer, at least I didn't look constipated while I played through the first part. 

 

Conclusion

 

Significant resistance was felt when I saw that there were hundreds of sound files I had to change, and it really was hard to pinpoint where they were. In fact, many of the sounds seem to be hard coded, and hence, untouchable. Still, a few well placed sound replacements was all it took to transform a horror fest into an endless series of hilarious farts. 

 

I actually feel this is quite a promising way to modify games. It allows users to tack on their own narratives to a game. It is basically manual modding, with the added benefit of not really knowing what the outcome is. 

 

 

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Graduate Student | Digital Game Design 

©2018 by Shashank Nagaraja Gargeshwari.