Minecraft is a game that really changed the landscape and trajectory of the entire video game industry almost immediately after its release. It’s a sandbox/building game that has no real objective, and allows players to explore a nearly infinite procedurally-generated world. Although this an incredible model for a video game since it keeps players hooked and wanting to achieve more without a limit on what can be accomplished, it can definitely get old after a while. This where Minecraft mods come in. Mods have basically been a part of Minecraft since its inception. These mods vary wildly in terms of what they change. Some can make minor changes, such as altering the textures, player skins, or adding new ores. Others can completely overhaul the game, making it almost unrecognizable from the vanilla version. The mod pack that I’ve chosen to discuss is called the Tekkit Pack, and it definitely falls into the category of a complete overhaul modification.
In the vanilla version of Minecraft, there are already a massive amount of ores, tools, upgrades, and even basic machines that are available to players. However, with the Tekkit pack of mods, the possibilities of things that can be built increases exponentially. You can go from having to manually mine and smelt all ore into bars, then into tools or armor, to creating a fully-automated assembly line that mines ore, smelts it, converts it to a more valuable ore/ingot, and finally makes any tool or item that requires that type of ingot. You can also build much more advanced weapons, vehicles, and even go into space if you make it far enough and gather the necessary resources. Although it’s definitely valid to assert that many video game modifications can be parasitic to their hosts (the vanilla version of the games), the Tekkit mod pack seems to contribute more to Minecraft than it leaches in terms of making money or taking credit for achievements that belong to the original developers of Minecraft. According to Anne-Marie Schleiner, it is possible for mods to change the course of a game’s development for the better; “…this insertion of abstract artistic noise into the game can be viewed as a step toward, intentionally or incidentally on the part of artists, to instigating a change or mutation, clearing the way for a new order of play culture to come (whatever that order may be).” (Schleiner, 49). A great example of the power of Tekkit can be seen in this let’s play video, where the player is actually able to create a fully functioning diamond machine, which would be completely impossible in the vanilla version of Minecraft.
“Game Modding: Cross-Over Mutation and Unwelcome Gifts.” Ludic Mutation: the Player’s Power to Change the Game, by Anne-Marie Schleiner, S.n., 2012.