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being scrutinized for literature harmful to young people, was programmed in such a way that users could even write themselves into a game. Experience with computers was needed, to be sure, but the ability to program was not necessary. According to David Kushner, «[this] was a radical idea not only for games but for any medium. It was like having a Nirvana CD with tools to let listeners dub their own voices over Kurt Cobain’s, or a Rocky video that let viewers excise every cranny of Philadelphia for ancient Rome.» [4] On January 25, somewhat more than a month after the Internet release of «Doom,» Brendon Wyber, a student at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, published the «Doom» Editor Utility (DEU) on the Internet. This program, which has been improved upon again and again, and which came about with the help of amateur programmers around the world, made it even easier to hack «Doom» and construct personal versions. «Doom» crossed with «Star Wars»? Why not a version of «Doom» in which the Simpsons fight Ronald McDonald? In the following years, articles appeared again and again in the press describing how students had changed their high schools into models of a Shooter game—most of


them using «Doom» as a model, or the follow-up game «Quake», for which there was a mature ‹level editor› already available—followed by sheer indignation that the young people had made their school into a venue for virtual Shooter orgies. The critics certainly overlooked the fact that in doing so, the students had learned to work with a program that allowed 3D modelling and whose use a few years earlier had still been the privilege of industry and well-equipped research laboratories. Other games followed suit and also put tools for game creation in the hands of their users, turning consumers into producers of virtual fantasy worlds. In the case of the action game «Half-Life,» the modifications were so extensive that a complete new game came into being: «Counterstrike» was to become one of the most successful computer games of all time. Now, the possibility of modifying games to a greater or lesser degree from their standard versions is basically a standard feature. The action figures, maps and levels created by gamers—that is, the ‹playing fields› of computer players—were often offered as downloads on the Internet and brought their creators prestige on the gaming scene.

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