Hackers have been modifying video games for about as long as video games have existed. But while most of them are content to muck about -- adding Nicolas Cage's face to everything or making sure Skyrim has 60 percent more cat-person titties -- some sat down with a gallon of Rockstar and a 12-pack of Pringles and ended up producing a better product than the developers themselves. So hats off to these, the dedicated, talented hackers who have contributed more to the gaming world than entire offices full of professionals.
#5. The Most Hilarious Fighting Game Crossovers
Anyone who owned action figures as a kid inevitably got into a silly playground argument about who would win in a fight between the Hulk and Batman, when the obvious answer was Optimus Prime. Now you can use video games to solve such timeless debates: Guile versus Cyclops? Sure thing. Geese versus Goku? The fuck not? Just fire up Top Fighter 2000: MK VIII, a Street Fighter II mod, and conduct some entirely scientifical beatdowns.
Oh my God, yes.
So what's the story? Why are such vastly different characters in the same universe, and why are they fighting? Top Fighter 2000 would like to answer your questions with another question: Who friggin' cares? Why are you asking questions when you should be jump-kicking explosions? Here, while you're shutting the hell up, take a gander at Michael Jordan hurling exploding basketballs at Muhammad Ali, who counters with a fireball punch.
Float like a butterfly, sting like Chun-Li.
While a proper video game developer would be tied down by licensing and copyright issues, the folks behind Top Fighter 2000 had no such concerns and were free to deliver up the most ridiculous fights we didn't know we wanted to see. And that's just the tip of the crazyberg: A free game engine called M.U.G.E.N lets people make customized fighters from scratch. Users immediately created crossovers that are usually reserved for the filthiest corners of fan fiction. Have you always wanted to see Tom Hanks attain his Omega Form and beat the tar out of Michael Jackson using multicolored movie posters? First off: That's weird. You should probably get some counseling. Second: Here you go!
In the follow-up match, he nails Godzilla with a big sack full of Oscars.
Always wanted to see Tiger Woods catch a 999 hit combo from Akuma, which lands him on the Planet of the Akumas (unfortunately devoid of atmosphere)? M.U.G.E.N's got your back. Assuming you're not thrown into a seizure by the epilepsy-inducing colors, the dancing anime girls, or the random appearance of the occasional roving giant David Hasselhoff, M.U.G.E.N will deliver upon your every twisted, violent fantasy until your brain dissolves into a pop-culture-flavored flan.
#4. Keeping Old Games Alive With New Content
Even the longest game gets beaten eventually -- there's only so much content a developer can pack in there before it needs to be sent out into the big wide world. But thanks to obsessive fans with massive amounts of talent and creativity (which are absolutely dwarfed by the mind-boggling amounts of free time and wildly skewed priorities), countless new adventures can be added to every beloved classic until you never have to leave the house.
Pop corks, ladies and gentlemen. We've done it. We've finally done it: We never have to engage with another human being ever again!
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It's a magical wonderland of pizza delivery and games from the '90s!
Take the BiG World Project -- a collection of mods for the beloved RPG Baldur's Gate. The creators combed through over a decade's worth of mods, picked out the best ones, tweaked them so everything was compatible with everything else (no mean feat, we assure you), and even brought the game into widescreen. The result is over 50 hours of new content -- everything from new, fully voice-acted characters to minor visual touch-ups. That's equivalent to an entirely new (and long) game. They basically made a sequel.
This is by no means an isolated example -- we only picked Baldur's Gate because it comes early in the alphabet and there are only so many hours in the day to get lost in the expanded universe. You'd be astonished by the many massive additions fans have made to their favorite games. Let's move up a letter to "C" -- hey, look, it's Crimson Echoes, an unofficial expansion of Chrono Trigger. Crimson Echoes adds a new story, 35 hours of gameplay, and 10 different endings (or at least it did until the project received a cease and desist letter). But a playable version still found its way onto the Internet, because that's literally what the Internet is for, and it was well received by gamers and critics alike.
Good to know.
Hey, we're sure the company had its reasons for crapping all over the indie project: They wouldn't want the fan-made game to compete with their official sequel to Chrono Trigger ... you know, the one that Square Enix has been steadfastly refusing to even consider for the past two decades. (And no, Chrono Cross doesn't count. You're a monster for even bringing it up.)
#3. Remakes That Are Actually Faithful to the Original
Games are remade nearly as often as movies, because gamers love the chance to replay classics with new additions or enhanced graphics, while publishers like money and hate creativity. But a few famous games are still running after the remake train, often for silly reasons. Square Enix has said that it won't remake its popular spiky hair and giant sword simulator Final Fantasy VII until they make a better game than the original. Now, putting aside the fact that Final Fantasy Tactics came out after FFVII and the "better game" criterion has already been met, it's not like Square Enix are trying to beat their former glory with every release. They made a Final Fantasy rhythm game, for chrissakes. And of course "no remakes" does not prevent "endless rereleases" (see the money bit, above). So if you really want to see Aeris die in glorious high definition, you'll have to make do with this fan remake, where the characters look like actual people instead of angular blobs.
Although it still doesn't excuse the impracticality of a machine gun arm.
If you're less about incomprehensible metaphysics and tween-level romance and more about blowing up space monsters with missiles, you're probably more interested in the Metroid series. Have you played Metroid 2? No? We don't blame you: It was an old Game Boy title that wasn't successful enough to merit an official remake. But thanks to one serious fan who's in the midst of adding color, enhanced graphics, and gameplay elements from later Metroid games, that might change. He's not quite done, but you can play what he's completed until he gets there.
We're holding out for a remake on virtual Virtual Boy.
Then there's Chrono Resurrection, which was going to be yet another remake of Chrono Trigger, this time in 3D. It's weird how all these people keep trying to remake your games, isn't it, Square Enix? It's almost as if there's some sort of demand for it ...
And with actual industry professionals working on the game in their spare time, Resurrection had the potential to be the greatest fan remake ever. Until, of course, the black mages at Square Enix cast their devastating cease and desist spell, wiping out the entire project.
Fans launched petitions to have the legal order rescinded (because they were apparently too busy playing Chrono Trigger to notice how fruitless Internet petitions are). Square Enix's response was essentially "Buy more games and maybe we'll remake it," which is the first case we've ever heard of emotional blackmail on the part of a video game.