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Nairobi's mod scene radically corrects Rock Star's lack of creativity
February 6, 2013 5:48 AM   Subscribe

A contributor to the Gameological Society visits his local video game store in Nairobi to demonstrate the sort of games he found there, finding gems like "Guitar Hero: Beatles and Friends" (actually, mostly Bahasa pop music), "Robocop" (with extra rainbow), and what might just be the ne plus ultra of video game mods: Grand Theft Auto San Andreas: Kirk Douglas.
posted by barnacles (42 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
HOW ARE THERE NO SCREENSHOTS OF GTA: SA: KIRK DOUGLAS
posted by shakespeherian at 5:56 AM on February 6, 2013 [16 favorites]


See, that's the kind of glorious crap you end up with in a world without such insanely draconian copyright law.

I would like to live in that world.
posted by Malor at 5:56 AM on February 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Eh... It's not like we don't have piracy and terrible mods - what he don't have is people selling them in stores with awesome covers.

(People localizing Guitar Hero does sound cool though)
posted by Artw at 6:08 AM on February 6, 2013


I love everything about this link and all of the games in it.

Thank you, OP.
posted by HostBryan at 6:09 AM on February 6, 2013


Eh... It's not like we don't have piracy and terrible mods - what he don't have is people selling them in stores with awesome covers.

Even better is a world where the source is also available so the game could be half as awesome as the cover.
posted by DU at 6:16 AM on February 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love the Beatles and Friends one, with the anime girl who is maybe supposed to be Yoko Ono. So the Beatles were friends with Ono?

Linked in the comments is this awesomeness - The lost art of the Ghana movie poster.
posted by marienbad at 6:19 AM on February 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now I want Kirk Douglas mods for all of my games.

Skyrim: Kirk Douglas!

Think about it. It works, and you know it.
posted by aramaic at 6:19 AM on February 6, 2013 [12 favorites]


Even better is a world where the source is also available so the game could be half as awesome as the cover.

Hmm. I don't know about that - these are a product of commerce, the chain of piracy isn't end to end like it mostly is in the west so there's a niche for an intermediary to make some money - again something that doesn't happen so much in western piracy unless you are Kim DotCom selling ads - and so they tend towards the quick and dirty, GTA with a different model and some movie screengrabs, because that doesn't take any money and maximizes profit. Building an elaborate GTA Spartacus would be more of a hobby modders thing.
posted by Artw at 6:25 AM on February 6, 2013


/fully prepared to hear a "Well actually..." about some market stall in Kent doing a brisk trade in GTA: Gangnam Style or whatever.
posted by Artw at 6:30 AM on February 6, 2013


so they tend towards the quick and dirty, GTA with a different model and some movie screengrabs, because that doesn't take any money and maximizes profit

Yeah, I was hoping for something like Italian Spiderman in game form. It's a shame making even knockoffs of videogames has such a high baseline of skill and time. Whatever the game equivalent of amateur filmmakers from Nairobi with a digital camera and costumes is, I'd play it.
posted by postcommunism at 6:34 AM on February 6, 2013


Skyrim: Kirk Douglas!

Think about it. It works, and you know it.


It totally does. But then the end-boss has to be Tony Curtis or Ernest Borgnine.
posted by Amanojaku at 6:40 AM on February 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Romance of the Three Kirk Douglases.
posted by griphus at 6:40 AM on February 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Think of what Nintendo's Mario franchise could have become if only they'd used Kirk Douglas instead.
posted by ardgedee at 6:42 AM on February 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Crusader Kings II: Kirk Douglas
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:49 AM on February 6, 2013


GTA: Gangnam Style

Do not lie and say you would not play this for hours.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:49 AM on February 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


It would totally just be San Andreas with a Psy model and an awesome cover.

Actually fair point.
posted by Artw at 6:53 AM on February 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


The fact that the writer of the piece scoffs at the idea that all the missions are removed from the modded game suggests that he doesn't really get the awesomeness of Grand Theft Auto to begin with.
posted by dry white toast at 6:54 AM on February 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ernest Borgnine would be a much better end boss than Alduin. He'd be drunk, sweaty, and mildly indignant. It'd be great. Maybe he'd throw a beer bottle at you while grousing about "people, always people" or something.
posted by aramaic at 7:10 AM on February 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


It would totally just be San Andreas with a Psy model and an awesome cover.

Surely you'd have to also give all the NPCs a different walk cycle.

And add elevators.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:13 AM on February 6, 2013 [4 favorites]




All kinds of awesome. I particularly like the idea that some ring of Kenyan game pirates is thinking "how can we adapt Grand Theft Auto to appeal more to the Nairobi market? I know! Let's add Kirk Douglas!" Then again it's one thing to simply change the cover art; getting into the game assets and replacing, say, GTA billboards with Arabic is pretty impressive.

But maybe it's not just Kenya; a lot of these hacks seem to reference Indonesia. Is there a big game remix culture there? It shouldn't surprise me, and I bet it's interesting.
posted by Nelson at 7:18 AM on February 6, 2013


Honestly, I would've gone with Saints Row: The Third starring Donald Sutherland but what can you do.
posted by griphus at 7:48 AM on February 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Shadow of the Kirkdouglas
posted by phong3d at 8:13 AM on February 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


Richard Geres of War.
posted by griphus at 8:14 AM on February 6, 2013 [16 favorites]


Robert Redfortress 2

Paul Newminecraft

I'll stop
posted by griphus at 8:16 AM on February 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


I would pay money to whoever bought Volition to download new voice-sets of The Boss from various other actors.

I would pay... lots... for Brian Blessed or Christopher Walken doing The Boss. Or for Matt Damon doing Matthew McConaghey doing the Boss, or Kevin Spacey doing Walken doing the Boss.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:17 AM on February 6, 2013


See, that's the kind of glorious crap you end up with in a world without such insanely draconian copyright law.

Aren't we pretty much already in that world anyway? If the Skyrim: Kirk Douglas mod isn't available on Steam yet, it probably will be eventually. Just two posts below this one we have a link to Super Mario Ghostbusters.
posted by straight at 8:32 AM on February 6, 2013


I clicked the title expecting to see Vespas, roundels, and The Small Faces...
posted by scelerat at 8:51 AM on February 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thank you Mario! But our Charles Nelson Reilly is in another castle!
posted by dr_dank at 8:52 AM on February 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Still on the lookout for LA Noire: Crispin Glover.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:55 AM on February 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


HOW ARE THERE NO SCREENSHOTS OF GTA: SA: KIRK DOUGLAS

Maybe he's wearing the pantomime horse suit
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 9:21 AM on February 6, 2013


Sweet jebus, I just realized: this is the new wave future for NMA.tv

Or should be.

Oh god, why can't I play "LA Noire: Robert Downey Jr Binge" right now?
posted by aramaic at 9:35 AM on February 6, 2013


Still on the lookout for LA Noire: Crispin Glover.

Would be even better with Bruce Glover
posted by Ironmouth at 9:55 AM on February 6, 2013


Battlefield 2: Special Forces being a pirated version of an unrelated game series doesn't surprise me much. I've known a bunch of horror movies that got pirated with a cover that claimed it was a sequel to something more popular. For example, Final Stab was being sold as Scream 4 in bootleg form, long before there even was a Scream 4. Add to that there's a bunch of people with PS2s that can't play the real B2:SF and that's a huge marketing opportunity there.

San Andreas: Kirk Douglas I can't explain at all, though. That must have slipped through the cracks from an alternate universe.
posted by RobotHero at 11:31 AM on February 6, 2013


It looks like they found the Yemeni outfit that's distributing these.

Kirk Douglas might be the weirdest GTA mashup they offer, but I have a soft spot for GTA: Elton John and GTA: Spongebob Patrick. There's also about a billion Pro Evolution Soccer clones in there, including one where Leo Messi wears a poorly photoshopped crown.
posted by Copronymus at 11:39 AM on February 6, 2013


Hey cool. Never thought I'd see this on Metafilter.

The mod game scene in Nairobi is fairly recent. When I first started going to Diamond Plaza a good 5+ years ago, they had knock-off everything (they still do), including games, but the mod part wasn't very big or at least I don't remember seeing it. And if you guys think the game mods are funny, you should see the knock-off movies they are doing - I swear you could name almost any big-name Hollywood feature from the last 3 years and I could find you the Bollywood knock-off equivalent of it in Diamond Plaza.

That said, this article was understandably focused on the games, but was poignantly too short in its description of the wonderful, terrible cataclysm of Kenyan-Indian culture and trappings of daily life that Diamond Plaza really is. It alluded to the horrible constant-construction run amok, and quite literally running into each other, that the architecture of DP is. It really is hard to explain in any way that would make sense - parts of it make me think of that John Malkovich movie with the 1/2 floor that the elevator stops at, but in real life, and with no working elevators. And that's just the multi-story buildings crammed with residential, offices, restaurants, casinos, retail, semi-industrial, you name it - all in the same buildings, all on top of each other and butted up against each other.

DP has, right smack in the middle of it, a rather charming (in a third world way) food court / retail market - for lack of a more accurate way of putting it. In the middle of it all is a busy parking lot that children dart around in only slightly faster than the imported cars do. Around the edges on one side is a large covered seating area with bench seating around the tables. Behind this area are the majority of the food shops - selling primarily Indian, Indo-Chinese, a smattering of Middle Eastern, and some more Kenyan inspired cuisines, if there actually is any such thing. You don't have to approach the kitchen facades because there are "waiters" - they're more like Carnies in the US but somehow more freed of the constraints of their booth, and with a tattered, long-ago laminated menu in their greasy hands. You might actually refer to them locally as "touts" - in any case they are all Kenyans, as are the guys working the food prep in the booths.

Taking an uninitiated friend to the food court at DP is a fun affair - you ask them to pick somewhere to sit down and then you just follow their lead and as the touts start to circle like sharks, you slyly indicate that your new friend is in charge of ordering, and then the blood-bath promptly begins. One tout after another slams his menu down in front of your hapless friend, the next one yelling at and pushing the one before him as he muscles for some of the precious table space in front of your friend's frightened face. Some of them will hold the menu right in their face so they can't see the ones on the table, which will usually earn him a particularly vicious shove from his competition. Eventually you bail your friend out and order your favorite dishes (special paneers, palak paneers, tikkas, masala chips, bhajias, chicken any way you want it, etc.), usually one from this guy and one from the other and so on and so forth. Drinks from a different guy too. Then in traditional Kenyan fashion they all go back to hanging out and joking with each other as if they weren't just at each other's throats. They bring you your food then somehow manage to disappear for the next hour so that you literally have to hunt them down to try to get a check. I always feel that I could walk out of there never having paid and its also the last thing in the world I would ever think to try.

The rest of the market is equally unique and interesting. Throughout the parking lot you'll find Kenyan kids running out from the shisha shops with ridiculously large pipes that the Indian kids will be smoking in their tricked out Subarus as they blast their radios. The shops have every kind of clothing, accessories, medicines, toys, videos and video games (natch), electronics, hardware, food, and trinkets that you could think to look for in such a place. They even have a great selection of fireworks for Diwali which they happen to stock year round so we Americans can celebrate in true fashion with such wonderfully named firecrackers as the Osama Double Delight.

DP is one of the craziest parts of Nairobi and also one of my favorites.
posted by allkindsoftime at 11:41 AM on February 6, 2013 [22 favorites]


Kirk Douglas: Arkham City

Sign me up for that shit forever.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:04 PM on February 6, 2013


The future is a T-Shirt cannon firing TeeFury mashups at a human face forever...
posted by Artw at 12:23 PM on February 6, 2013


This is amazing!

Can you buy non-modded pirated games in those markets? That is, do people buy the modded games specifically for the funny mods, or are all the pirated games modded for some reason? And do the modding groups (many of which are located outside of Kenya according to the article) make any money from the modding?

I remember being in Bangkok as a kid in the late 90's/early 00's there were plenty of pirated games on offer in certain malls, but they were just the vanilla game with a no-CD crack thrown in - maybe multiple games on one disc, but definitely no awesome mods like this.
posted by pravit at 3:03 PM on February 6, 2013


Can you buy non-modded pirated games in those markets?

You can buy non-modded games and pirated copies of practically any movie as well. Quality is an issue often, but if you find a good shop the proprietor will often accept free trade-ins for replacements if you have a quality issue (in the interest of developing long-term customers and such). No idea if the modders get cut in on the profits.
posted by allkindsoftime at 9:39 PM on February 6, 2013


Eh... It's not like we don't have piracy and terrible mods

I think our mods are quite charming, actually.
posted by Mezentian at 1:31 AM on February 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I guess I just have different associations with the terms mod scene and rock star.
posted by snottydick at 10:14 AM on February 7, 2013


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