Mods have been a critical component of the gaming industry for well over a decade. Like the name suggests, a ‘mod’ is a modification of an existing game. Gamers who double as developers, programmers, and industry hobbyists can band together to develop and launch their own mods—and these have taken off with great success.
Mods great and small have helped keep classics alive, offering a new twist on a favorite title. While most people automatically think of legacy games, this is true even off the beaten track. For example, a classic game like blackjack includes plenty of ‘mods’ or variations that are based on player interests. Along with classic, American, and European games, hole card blackjack is also popular amongst players, as it adds more time for them to make moves.
Though not a traditional mod, the goal is the same: provide players who enjoy the game a new way to experience the title and apply their strategies. Beyond the scope of blackjack, you’re likely familiar with two of the world’s most popular games, which began as mods: Counter-Strike and PUBG.
Counter-Strike started out as a mod of Half-Life. The goal was to make the game more oriented for group play, which ended up steering the project to include a team versus team setup. PUBG, similarly, developed as a mod of the game Arma 2. Another mod turned game is DayZ, also created in Arma 2.
Today, these games constitute some of the most popular in the world. But what are the ‘best’ mods when it comes to gameplay and creativity? Let’s take a closer look.
The original 1993 DOOM release is remembered for introducing a gory take on first-person shooters and dungeon violence. But some gamers dreamt of a game that included even more destructive rampaging. Enter the Brutal DOOM mod, which takes the action of the original and intensifies infinitely. The weapons are different, the gore is maximized, and the next wave of challengers never seems to stop coming.
Stardew Valley Expanded
The Stardew Valley Expanded mod functions on the same idea as the Brutal DOOM mod—to maximize the playing fun. But in the case of this sandbox gardening simulation, that playing fun is centered around new gardens, villages, and playing characters. This mod has taken off thanks to fitting seamlessly with the original. Uniquely, Stardew Valley’s creator Eric Barone has gone out of his way to help modders, which has helped make this Expanded mod a faultless extension of the original release.
Max Payne – Kung Fu 3.0
So far, we’ve covered two mods that extend the fun of the original. Now, let’s move into more creative territory. In terms of genius, few mods meet the hype and creativity of the Max Payne Kung Fu 3.0. mod. Just like you might have guessed, this mod adds melee combat and Kung Fu moves to the player’s repertoire, allowing for new types of fights. This adds a totally new dimension to this story-heavy action game—and one that’s highly enjoyable to explore and master.
Final Fantasy 7 Randomizer
Randomizers are hugely popular within the modding space. Rather than take a game in a new direction, randomizers shake up what was previously static in a game. This includes elements like items, player abilities, levels, maps, and more. By changing these, games become almost infinitely playable—and that’s especially true for Final Fantasy. Final Fantasy 7’s most popular randomizer mod, which even tackles things like enemy models, infuses hilarity and intrigue into almost every interaction, battle, and mission.
Portal 2 – Portal Stories: Mel
The Portal series is a highly complex and beloved puzzle adventure that includes plenty of narrative focus. Though there are plenty of mods to choose from, one of the best is the Portal Stories: Mel mod. It introduces brand-new puzzles and challenges, which extend the original game’s fun by hours. On top of that, the mod includes actual voice actors, which makes this one of the most professional mods on the list.