Ah, modding. It gives the power to the community to fulfil their strangest and most bizarre dreams within their favourite games. The pinnacle of this luxurious new thing games have, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, gives you a wide range of control, from playing hundreds of hours of extra, voice-acted content, new characters and companions, and even turning dragons into the notorious Thomas the Tank Engine because you just want to Fus Ro Dah him straight in the face.
And I hate it.
Don't get me wrong, I think the capability to mod titles is a fantastic opportunity to breathe new life into gaming. New content expansions, tools, and even accessibility and customisation options are very welcome. And although I feel strongly about developers (COUGH Bethesda COUGH) becoming lazy to fix their games because of modders, it's a great and phenomenal thing you can get into... if you can get into it, that is.
Enter me. I'm a young, spry gal that's teeming with excitement to do things actively. I like to boot games, play them, and enjoy them throughout their entire journey as quickly as I can because sometimes my job can be a bit demanding (you can blame GameGrin's bosses for that!). And although I've dabbled greatly into Minecraft modding (running about 100 mods because that's the most my computer could handle at the time), I've never understood it.
When I say I've never understood it, I don't mean why people mod — I get it: your favourite game getting just a bit of extra content can be exhilarating when it is the only one of its kind, or — worst of all — the last. I just don't get how to do it.
I like to think of myself as a moderately intelligent person when it comes to technology. To do that, I actively avoid doing things I can't do so I can feign ignorance. Modding culture has broken my facade of intelligence and instead shown me the true horrors: I'm either too old or too stupid to mod Skyrim.
The most recent example is embarrassingly recent. After finally buying an ultrawide for my wife and indoctrinating her into the ultrawide glory, she decided she — understandably — wanted to explore the lands of Skyrim in ultrawide resolution. After fiddling for a bit, she gave up and decided to ask me, the smart one, to get it running for her. I feigned smugness and decided I was going to jump into it head-first — after all, I managed to get Skyrim VR running with mods because Bethesda couldn't be arsed to add expected features to it, so why not the flatscreen version?
I managed to get the ultrawide running without the black bars, as the logo appeared across my screen; I shouted triumphantly... followed soon thereafter by an embarrassed, disappointed, and disgruntled sound when the characters looked... off. They looked... fat and... oh no.
I had managed to get it "working" by disabling the black bars, but the aspect ratio just didn't want to stick. Minutes and more passed as I tried to understand the difference between the different editions of Skyrim, the various mod helpers, and how that all interacted with the mods. Which ones were updated? Which ones would work? Which ones should I give up on and weep instead?
All fundamental questions to get answered in order to start your journey into modded Skyrim... and I couldn't. My wife decided that getting it to work wasn’t worth the hours and the more that I’d have to spend to get it working. I threw in the towel — my head spinning, stuck amidst a Vortex (hah) of options and choices and issues and compatibility errors and required plugins.
I've never gotten much further than Whiterun in my runs of Skyrim, and unless I want to play vanilla, it's likely to stay that way for years to come. If a game requires to be modded to enjoy it, I'll likely opt to save my own self-esteem and skip it before my ego and time take too much of a hit. I'll stick to games that are actually playable without needing to download 456 mods to get it to work. Thomas the Tank Engine lives... for now.
I'd like to finish this by clarifying that I'm joking. Although I'm not modding's most prominent advocate, this article was exaggerated for the purpose of comedy and inspired by my co-worker's, Jase Taylor's, article about loving the modding culture. It may not be for me, but I'm happy for those that do get to enjoy it. Enjoy killing Thomas the Tank Engine.