When presented an opportunity for playing a modded game my mind instantly drifted to Skyrim. With Skyrim comes mods of the absurd and few are more iconic or absurd than the Randy Savage Dragon Mod. The mod is very simple it replaces the models of the dragons in game with pro wrestler Randy Savage stretched out and disproportioned shouting “Yeah” at the player instead of roaring. While on a surface level the gameplay is unaltered, player buy in to a self serious grim world is part of the Role Playing aspect of the game so adding such absurdity into a game is disruptive in a narrative sense. As stated by Schleiner “This interior critique takes pleasure in consuming in consuming the industrial game product it destroys.”(Schleiner 48), and this can be applied to the Randy Savage Mod because it destroys the grimey seriousness of a fantasy game making it a spectacle of humor.
A lot of modern European fantasy is derived from the works of Tolkien and those works are a distillation of folk tales that tend to be grim. Among the fierce beasts that appear in fantasy few are as feared as the dragon and in Skyrim they take on the role as the primary dramatic force and antagonists. In the game proper the dragons exist in static locations and as random events in the overworld, and they announce their presence with a UI shaking roar with only a moments notice to the player who can decide to fight or flee. The mod disrupts this by making these moments of hearing the shout of not one of fear but one that elicits a chuckle. It also in my experience encourages confrontation with dragons more often, no longer would I run but I would stay and fight because it was funny and defeat no longer felt like failure to save the world but maybe slight embarrassment for losing to a joke. Ultimately while nothing fundamentally changed about how the game is played but changed how I played it because all emotional and narrative weight was lifted.
Schleiner, Anne-Marie. The Player’s Power to Change the Game: Ludic Mutation. Amsterdam University Press, 2017.