This simple pitting of terrorists against counter terrorists made waves from the moment it launched for Half-Life, and soon rose to dominate the world of multiplayer fps. Fifteen years later it is still massively popular, a record enjoyed by few big budget titles.
This Warcraft 3 mod combined hero units with tower defense style gameplay and in the process gave birth to an entirely new gaming genre, the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA). Without it everything from League of Legends to Valve’s Dota 2 wouldn’t exist.
Day Z, 2012
It didn’t take long for this ARMA 2 mod to become a bona fide phenomena when it was released in 2012. While set during a Zombie apocalypse, its real success was creating a game world in which each interaction with other players was a tense and unpredictable affair.
Developed by some students at RMIT in Melbourne, this capture the flag mod for the original Quake not only managed to thrive in an era when Deathmatch was king, but it also laid the groundwork for clan based gaming in the future.
Desert Combat, 2004
While Battlefield 1942’s WW2 setting was excellent, it seemed almost inevitable that someone would make a modern spin on the game. So Desert Combat was born, and with it came a large portion of the BF1942 player community.
Action Quake 2, 1998
This Quake 2 mod was designed to bring the feel of an action movie to the game’s multiplayer. While somewhat rough around the edges, it brought modern weaponary and settings to the fantastical world of Quake, and was a crucial precursor to later mods like CounterStrike.
Black Mesa, 2012ish
After being stuck in development hell for years and years, this remake of the original Half-Life using Valve’s source engine had become a near mythical beast. Thankfully it lived up to the hype when a partial version was finally released in 2012, with the rest still to appear.
Garry's Mod, 2004
This Physics based Sandbox was a curiously different kind of Mod when it was first released for Half-Life 2. It was a playground, with no objective other than having loads of stupid fun, and in the process it paved the way for the success of similarly objective free games like Minecraft.
Fall From Heaven, 2005
Many game developers have tried to make a Civilization competitor over the years, but it took this modification of Civ IV for a serious contender to be crowned by the fans. It is still held up as one of the finest 4x strategy experiences made to date.
Nehrim: At Fate’s Edge, 2010
Built on Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Nehrim is a true total conversion, changing everything from the leveling system through to the setting and lore. In many ways what resulted was an experience even better than the original game, something often attempted but rarely achieved.