One of the most popular games for modders is The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, with countless options to tweak (or add) anything your heart can dream of, from turning dragons into Macho Man Randy Savage, to making the game's shouts come from the player's butt. (Seriously.) What Skyrim didn't have, however, was burritos. One of the world's greatest foods was, weirdly, absent.
That changed in 2014 when modder Jokerine introduced burritos to Skyrim.
"I was thinking of some extra food I wanted to add into my game today, and I thought of some nice burritos," said Jokerine in the mod description. "Then I noticed that there are no burrito models or textures available for Skyrim, so I slapped some together, and figured I'd share."
Jokerine's Skyrim burrito weighs 0.5 pounds, is worth 10 septims (coins), restores 15 points of stamina, and gives you 10 points of health. To cook it, players need to have cooked beef, tomato, cabbage, goat cheese wedge, three salt piles, garlic, and two things of wheat. One problem? No avocado! (There's another mod for that.)
Jokerine is one of the prolific modders I've had a chance to speak with, having published 251 mods across a variety of games, notably Skyrim and Fallout: New Vegas. Her mods range from the simple—letting players wear Groucho Marx glasses—to more complex creations, like entirely new quest lines.
The only way to understand a modder is to talk to a modder. (Burritos work the same way, except instead of talking, you put them in your mouth and eat them.)
Waypoint: Besides modding burritos into Skyrim, tell me about Jokerine.
Jokerine: I'm a full-time housewife. Believe it or not, juggling chores, laundry, dinner and extensive modding is harder than it looks. Sometimes, well, someone has to lose—and often times that one is my poor, long-suffering husband. To give you an idea, I always keep a stack of instant ramen noodles on hand, for those nights when I forget to cook...
My favorite games are the Mass Effect series, Skyrim, and Fallout: New Vegas. I only bought Mass Effect 2 (my favorite of the bunch) on Steam recently, so I can't check my absolute playtime with my disc copy, but I would eyeball it at around 2,000 hours or so. I remember several times getting to the end of the game and immediately going back to the main menu so I could restart my playthrough. It's an amazing universe with fantastic characters! And I just absolutely love playing and making mods for New Vegas, as well. I even find myself enjoying modding more than playing!
Over the years, you've published dozens of Skyrim mods. What's drawn you into that world so completely?
I got Skyrim several years ago as a wedding present from a friend. I played about 1,000 hours before I found out about the Creation Kit editor. I had never actually messed with a game that had dedicated modding software—I'd mostly done retextures for Half-Life 2 before. So I guess I wasn't too afraid of just jumping in. I had no idea of what I was getting myself into...
The first mod I made added some furniture to the starter houses and, well, it was quite a mess. I didn't really know what I was doing so I just deleted stuff randomly... I know better now, but I had loads of fun, so I stuck with it. The scripting, however...I could never wrap my head around it. But I wanted to make stuff like quests! Like many others, when I pictured mods, I imagined things like new lands, voice-acted custom dialogue, and fun adventures.
Eventually, after I made some Skyrim mods for a few users, I got a copy of New Vegas with all DLC. The GECK editor ran much better than the Creation Kit (which takes about 5 solid minutes to load), so I learned the proprietary scripting language there, started making armors, poses, clutter, retextures, quests...and now it is definitely my favorite hobby! All because I was too pig-headed to let slow load times get in the way!
"It's about tweaking the game to suit my tastes. Do I want a world where you can buy Hostess Yankee Doodles in every corner? Of course I do. And I can make it happen! It's such an addictive feeling."
Why burritos? Did you have a dream about them? I do sometimes...
I just saw the model one day when I was exploring a dungeon, and thought to myself, "Hey, that kinda looks like a burrito!" It does, in a way, doesn't it?
Lots of people have played hundreds of hours of Skyrim , but you've spend hundreds creating material for the game. What motivates you to mod?
Checking on Steam, I have a grand total of 1855 hours on the Creation Kit for Skyrim, and 1346 hours on the GECK for New Vegas...so far. and that doesn't cover hours spent on textures, writing, 3D models, third-party tools...I wonder if I should be proud or ashamed.
In the end, for me at least, it's about tweaking the game to suit my tastes. Do I want a world where you can buy Hostess Yankee Doodles in every corner? Of course I do. And I can make it happen! It's such an addictive feeling. I can get to tell my crazy stories, as well—a wizard that got turned into a chicken? Of course! A mission to travel to the moon looking for a young man's lost wife? Yes! A robotic horse looking for help finding Santa? Absolutely! The limit is your imagination! (And engine issues now and then...)
I know some folks may be a bit disappointed that I'm not trying to change the world or anything here... but the feeling of freedom to make whatever ridiculous thing I want and somehow have it make at least a modicum of sense in the game world is like a challenging puzzle that I love going back to—even if it get infuriating sometimes. And some users who enjoy my world like to come along for the ride. We all get to have fun together!
The mod mentions that the burrito is technically "empty," so I guess we have to imagine what's inside. What's inside this burrito?
Patrick, you are the burritos.
Wow. OK. Um. When you make a mod like this, are you thinking it modifies (or possibly breaks) the game's lore, or it's just a fun thing to add?
I absolutely do not concern myself with the lore. At all. As I mentioned before, my mods feature trips to space, talking robots, mechanical chicken toys... If I think of something that I'd like to see, I add it. I mod for myself, first and foremost. Thinking about sharing it with others comes later.
This point of view has brought me at odds with some members of the community—everyone has their own ideas about how a game should be played, but just as they have their preferences that I don't interfere with, I have my own that I hope they don't interfere with. The beauty of modding is that you can skip mods you don't like, or, if you simply must have them, you can edit them yourself to remove or alter the things you disapprove of. Going on a crusade against users who like skimpy armor or add a product with a label from the wrong year seems like a waste of time in my eyes.
What's your favorite place to eat a burrito in real-life that's not Chipotle?
I like my burritos free-range and home-grown. it's pretty much my only option anyway, as there are no burrito joints where I live, unfortunately. I even have to make the tortillas myself because they're not sold here either.
"The burrito is free of the restraints of gravity. It is never-ending and ever-lasting."
I have a personal food mod for New Vegas that's a whopping 130 MB—all optimized, 512x512 textures and low-poly models. Nothing but food and cooking recipes. So, yeah, thinking about it does make me hungry. I don't care much about crafting in games, but cooking is always a lot of fun! Only in games, though. I don't like cooking in real life all that much.
In the screen shots, the burrito is floating. What's up with that? Is this a magical burrito? I'm into that idea.
The burrito is free of the restraints of gravity. It is never-ending and ever-lasting. And you can even throw it at people if they're being annoying for an eternal curse.
Would you consider yourself a "creative" person outside of creating mods?
I love to write, knit, and crochet. I know that list makes me sound like a massive nerd and snatches away all of the possible street cred I could have...and I'm not very skilled at any of those. I lost all of my writing during a hard-drive failure recently while I was in the process of making backups, so those are gone now, for better or for worse. But, on the other hand, my husband does enjoy the knitted hats and earwarmers, and I've even won a few contests with my latest pieces of writing, including a free copy of Stardew Valley!
However, housework has really put a damper on my free time, so modding has been my main creative outlet lately. When it isn't scripting quests, it is making poses to try and describe my character's stories around the game world—even if my game doesn't look all that good.
If we're being honest, however, I'd much rather knit and crochet. Sitting by the fire, listening to a podcast (The F Plus is a personal favorite) and working away with my yarn and trusty needles sounds like the perfect afternoon for me. At least the needles don't crash whenever they feel like it.
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