Given the nature of counterculture games, it can be difficult to find mods for “normal” games that encapsulate the essence of counterculture. This is because counterculture games subvert an original game’s framework and tone, which can lead to the original game being barely recognizable or even playable. Thankfully, not every counterculture mod is as hard to play as JODI’s Untitled. Although originally intended for counter-cinema, Peter Wollen’s theses can be applied to countergaming as well. In addition to providing specific characteristics of countergaming, Wollen’s theses open up the possibilities for what could be considered countergaming. This is seen in the description of countergaming as “foregrounding”, “reality”, and “unpleasure.” (Galloway 110) Based on these characteristics, a mod that breaks the fourth wall could be considered an example of countergaming. This is because fourth wall breaking is upfront (foregrounding), breaks immersion (unpleasure), and causes the player to face the fictitiousness of the game (reality).
There are a wide variety of mods that break the fourth wall. While there are some that are more complex, these are not as common or plentiful as those that simply replace or add un-immersive assets to games. Due to the intention of many of these mods being comical, often the replacement or addition is from a source with an opposite tone of the game. For example, the Buzz Lightyear paladin armor mod for post-apocalyptic open world game Fallout 4 is inspired by the titular character from the children’s film Toy Story.
There is also the mod that replaces the death sound with the iconic clip of Steve Carell’s character shouting “No” from the sitcom The Office.
Other mods are even more upfront about their breaking of the fourth wall, such as a t-shirt which openly references itself as a mod, or the one that proclaims it’s immersiveness despite not being so at all. There are also those that refer to real world individuals, such as the Nicolas Cage paintings mod (which has echoes of Velvet-Strike’s plastering of off-putting images). While these examples are not as grand as some of the more ambitious mods for Fallout 4, they still hold importance as representatives of countergaming culture.
Fallout 4 is available for PC, PlayStation, and Xbox.
“Buzz Lightyear Paladin Danse.” Nexus Mods, https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/3579.
Galloway, Alexander R. “Countergaming.” Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture. University of Minnesota Press, 2006. PDF.
“The Most Immersive Shirts Ever.” Nexus Mods, https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/14989/.
“Nicolas Cage Paintings.” Nexus Mods, https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/1687.
“Peaceful Fatigues.” Nexus Mods, https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/14874.
“Steve Carell shouting NOO – Death sound replacer.” Nexus Mods, https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/2384.