Part of what makes video games unique is that gamers have the ability to mod their own better versions -- you'll never see a version of Die Hard where all the guns shoot dildos. But while we mostly hear about dumb mods that put ponies and Macho Man in Skyrim, it turns out that those are just little distractions from their main commitment, which is taking old games and rebuilding them from the ground up in amazing new ways. Like ...
#6. Grand Theft Auto IV, Now With Marvel Superheroes
via PC Gamer
Even though superhero movies have made so much money for Hollywood that they needed to invent new numbers, most of the non-Batman games based on those heroes are like the X-Men 3 of gaming. Maybe it's because most movie tie-in games are rushed by inexperienced developers, or maybe movie studios don't want to take risks with their franchises. Whatever the reason, there are almost no good official superhero games out there. "Official" is the key word; unofficially, well ... a picture is worth a thousand words.
None of them printable.
That isn't Photoshop, or an image captured directly from the part of your brain that processes your innermost desires. That's a screenshot from a Grand Theft Auto IV mod. A mod that gives you a complete working set of Tony Stark's armor. Now, we admit that a good guy like Stark isn't the most logical choice for a game based on crime, but as a counterargument, we offer this screenshot of Iron Man drunkenly head-butting the sidewalk:
via PC Gamer
Or busting out some seriously sick break-dance moves.
Along with granting you the power of flight and the ability to pimp-slap pedestrians across an entire city block if they give you any lip, the mod gives you access to Iron Man's signature arsenal of lasers and missiles, which you can use to blow up half the city in about five minutes. Hell, you can get drunk and throw cars at the Statue of Liberty. Just think of it as Iron Man working out some psychological issues.
But for those of you who just aren't into Iron Man, how do you feel about the Hulk?
GTA X Scripting
"HULK FOUGHT LAW, AND HULK WON."
You can throw cars, wield lampposts like baseball bats, jump high enough to land on helicopters, and even pluck rockets out of the air, all in the most realistic digital version of New York ever made. It's like someone turned the doodles in your elementary school notebook into a game. It even makes sense that the Hulk would be on a mindless rampage, especially after the terrible standalone movies he's had.
GTA X Scripting
"HULK PRETEND YOU ANG LEE."
#5. The Gargantuan Elder Scrolls Mashup
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is one of the greatest RPGs ever made, but it's not without its flaws. The combat is as awkward and frustrating as that time we got really drunk and tried to fight our shadow, and everyone and everything looks like it's been beaten with a +1 Shovel of Ugly.
Besthesda Game Studios
Nice tits, flatface.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, meanwhile, looks gorgeous and is much easier to play, but it never takes players to Morrowind's Vvardenfell, one of the most fascinating and distinct lands in the series. It would be great if there was some way to combine the two, but the only way to do it would be to spend countless painstaking hours building the world of Morrowind into Oblivion, a task so dauntingly large as to be all but impossible. Naturally, a bunch of modders went ahead and did it anyway.
Morroblivion takes everything from Morrowind -- and we do mean everything -- and plops it into the world of Oblivion. All 9 square miles of Vvardenfell have been loving given a fresh coat of virtual paint. All the hundreds of quests are there for you to complete and then get annoyed by when you get stiffed on a decent reward. Every enemy you fondly remember is present and ready to be stabbed in the face.
"Hey, it's been a while. How's it going? Uh, what are you doing with that sword?"
The mod is fully playable, and they've almost finished modding in Morrowind's two expansions as well. That alone is a staggering accomplishment by a group of talented and passionate people with way, way too much time on their hands. So we all know they didn't stop there.
We've mentioned before that Oblivion gave every single non-playable character a unique and intricate weekly schedule. The Morroblivion team gave all of the 1,210 characters they brought in their own schedules, too, because hey, why not? They're even working on voicing all 51,000+ lines of dialogue from Morrowind, because fuck going outside. If you're curious and can do a good Dark Elf voice, they're still holding auditions.
Besthesda Game Studios
Who sounds cooler, House Telvanni or House Hlaalu? You decide!
Sadly, even Oblivion is starting to show its age, and next to the gorgeous winter landscapes of the fifth game in the series, Skyrim, it doesn't look like much. That's why the same team is also working on moving Morrowind into Skyrim, because why take on one staggeringly large project when you can take on two? Presumably by the time they're done with Skywind, a sixth game will be out, and the whole thing will start over again.
They're already porting Oblivion to Skyrim, because of course they are.
#4. Thousands of People Causing Utter Chaos in Just Cause 2
Just Cause 2 is the game you get when you combine every action movie ever made with the rad stunts you used to do with your Hot Wheels. Wikipedia assures us that it has a plot, but we stopped paying attention to it the moment we saw this:
We'll wait while your boner subsides.
That's a player shooting a motorcycle into the sky, jumping on it in midair, and totally nailing the landing. And that's just one of the countless stupidly awesome things you can do in the game. Just check out one of the many montages that feature everything from jet burnouts to speedboat back-flip combos. But even ramping your car off a runway, then climbing out of it and jumping into the cockpit of a jet can get boring when you're always doing it by yourself (it's kind of like masturbating). That's why a group of modders decided to introduce multiplayer to the formerly single-player game. Now, just how many players are we talking here? Two? A dozen? A hundred?
Of course it's not a hundred. That would be silly. No, we're talking thousands. Yes, these guys took a game designed solely to give one person as much freedom to blow shit up as they could and invited 2,500 of their closest friends to join. We'd suggest that it's a meta-commentary on how ridiculously over the top the original game was if we could stop watching the trailer.
Just watching this doubled the size of your biceps.
It's not even a game so much as it's the closest humanity has come to encapsulating the abstract concept of chaos. You can do everything from skydive with a few hundred people who are all shooting at each other ...
An academic study of how gravity affects varied bodies.
... to participating in a violent 74-man limousine race through an airport.
"Gotta get there three hours early just in case, bitches."
It barely qualifies as a game, really -- there are no objectives or rules, and you'll find yourself getting killed constantly. That would ruin other games, but somehow it just makes this mod even more awesome. The frustration of constantly dying is worth it for those moments when you launch a boat off a blimp and crash it into a plane that's about to take off.
Most mods aren't offered any support by game developers, and in some cases the developers even try to shut mods down. The developers of Just Cause 2, however, took one look at a picture of 2,000 people surfing fighter jets into an active volcano and realized that it would be a crime against humanity to stand in their way. So they gave the mod their blessing, which means it got an official release through Steam, where you can buy it for the modest price of free.