While fanfiction is nearly always a blight upon humankind, the fan reality is that the pros sometimes completely screw up their work-- which is even worse. Luckily, gaming fans have always been on the lookout for mistreated and sometimes straight-up forgotten intellectual properties to courageously appropriate resurrect. 

And, who would have known, a very select few have even gone as far as to create such incredible fan work they'll make you wish it was the real thing ...

It Took A Bunch Of Fans To Finally Nail Sonic In 3D

Sonic has been at a low point for so long that the best things to come out with its name on it in recent memory were a goddamn film adaptation and its unsuccessful run for President of gametown. Oh yeah, there was also Sonic Mania, but that totally doesn't count as it's a game that also started off as a fan collab that then got "officialized" by Sega.

Things get even bleaker when you talk about Sonic games in 3D, specifically because you can make the case that there's actually never been a good one.

shot of sonic unleashed game

Sega

In one game, Sonic's a werehog. This was one of the better terrible games. 

Good thing there's Green Hill Paradise Act 2, a fan game that brings Sonic to 3D and breaks away from the traditional weird camera, bad melee combat, and the straight-up unplayableness that usually accompanies the blue blur. While the bar for 3D sonic games only gets high when magazines get paid off to give away high scores, this time, real fans are saying the game genuinely rocks. We'll just let the footage and the fact that you can play it for free do the rest of the convincing.

Green Hill paradise act 2 fan game

Sega

Again, it is playable, rare praise for a Sonic game. 

Meanwhile, in Official Sonic land ... 

Sega

Push the release back and crunch; it's not too late!

Fan Makes Up For The Absence Of Portal 3

Quality fan work requires consideration for the original property. This dedicated fan sought out to add more to Valve's Portal series, but there was a problem: Valve's prime directive of never letting a series reach its third installment. So, Instead of creating a third game in the Portal series, this fan-created a Portal game with a third and original portal.

Portal reloaded mod

PORTANIS

Not a new pair of portals, like a schmuck would add -- A third portal. 

This is Portal Reloaded, a fan game that has been in development since a few years after the release of Portal 2. It tells a story separate from the series' mainline, which is a wise alternative to the usual fanficing the hell out of things. But the star of the show is the addition of the new portals, which allow players to control time on top of the old and obsolete portals from back in 2012 that only allowed players to teleport anywhere. This awesomely complex mechanic seems inspired by a mechanic from The Talos Principle, which is yet another excellent puzzle game/parkour simulator that'll keep you busy while you wait for Valve to finally release ... us from this mortal coil.

Catch-Up With Old Lara Croft Because Of One Devoted Fan

The Tomb Raider series reboot from 2013 achieved never-before-seen sales numbers for the series – an especially incredible feat considering Lara's makers were no longer promoting her as a virtual sex toy. Unfortunately, older fans accuse the new Tomb Raider games of going down the more gritty and action-y path of the early 2010s and ignoring the roots of the series. The result was such a deep overhaul of Lara Croft that prompted fans to wonder what the classic heroine might've been up to these days if she hadn't been forcefully retired and replaced by that other younger survivalist/mass murderer.

Now, courtesy of five years of work from fan Nicobass and his small team, players can now play Dagger of Xian and relive an ever-expanding part of classic Tomb Raider games with incredible visuals and updated gameplay on Unreal Engine 4.

Play it for five minutes, and you'll get why it's been met with acclaim. Then play for longer without fear it will get taken from you because the current owners of Lara decided it's too cool to sue.

Game Based On Mario Animated Show Is The Most Beautiful Mario You'll Ever See

Nintendo has yet to release a Mario game that's anything below the best Sonic game, but being always ahead of the curve gameplay-wise seemingly forced the series to go the 3D route and forget the oldie-but-goldie 2D look. Even the most recent 2D Mario games have ditched the old sprites in favor of a 3d model forever pancaked in a flat world.

luigi in 2d and 3d

Nintendo

When did this ... become more attractive than this?

Luckily there's Jesus. Not that Jesus (He's a Playstation loyalist), but Jesus Lopez, a fan and developer with a serious resume who enlisted his two kids in programming and art duties and set out to turn the popular animated Super Mario Bros. Super Show into a game to breathtaking results. 

It's not just Mario that looks better than he ever has; his entire (Super Mario) World does as well because everything was animated by hand, and heart (presumably).

Mario mod

SwankyBox

It's the everything that does it for us

GoldenEye: Source Will Laugh In The Face Of Microsoft

GoldenEye 007 for the Nintendo 64 rocks so hard that playing it just once makes the amazing film it's based on look like the inferior version for not featuring split-screen co-op.

If you're one of the many fans reminiscing about the GoldenEra of split-screen multiplayer, you should check out Goldeneye: Source. This fan remake brings back everything that was good about the original game while updating all things that your nostalgia goggles won't let you accept are dated as hell and does so in a way the pros never could.

Wait, isn't it unfair to compare a fan game to an official remake that doesn't exist? No, because that's totally on them. Microsoft actually did try to get GoldenEye 360 off the ground, only for it to crash and burn. Not because replacing old pixels with newer and shinier ones on a million-dollar budget is hard, but because the many cooks holding the rights couldn't come to terms on how to operate that money-printing machine. 

The project got buried forever a while, until back in February of 2021 when somebody dug up a version of the official attempted 360 remake … and the best thing you can say about it is that it looks faithful to the original game, but only in the sense that it feels old as hell. 

Fans Make Awesome Re-Imagining Of Metroid Prime In The Absence Of An Official Game

With Metroid Prime 4 being stuck in development (or so they say) for half a decade, and the last game in the series is a game you could reportedly get at some point for three cents, fans have long been wishing for a Metroid game that doesn't suck space pirate ass. Luckily, a team of fans called SCU recently released the demo for a remake of a fan favorite, Metroid Prime, the first and arguably best of the 3D Metroid games, but with the twist of bringing the whole thing back to 2D

Does that make it a demake instead of a remake? We don't know, and it doesn't matter because either way, Nintendo will likely just try to destroy it as soon as possible. What we do know, however, is that shaving off one-third of the game's dimensions somehow didn't stop it from playing and feeling right. Metroid 2D manages to somehow capture the feeling of loneliness and entice players to explore instead of just shooting everything in sight -- yeah, that's a good thing, in this case.

Top Image: Sega

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