If you’ve been reading the gaming news recently, you’ve probably seen all the articles about Valve’s failed ‘paid video game mods’ controversy. Put simply, they added a feature to Steam that let video game modders charge for their work, and then caused such a split in public opinion that the feature was then canned after literally less than 24 hours.
But while this tale was an interesting one to read about, I’m going to come out and say it now:
I do not like the idea of paid video game mods. And I really, really don’t see much good coming from being able to pay for fan made modifications of existing games.
Now, some may ask why I feel this way. Indeed, some may especially ask it given my involvement in the ROM hacking and fan game scenes for the Mario and Zelda franchises. Heck, if I was playing a ton of PC games, I would probably be making video game mods all the time, given my involvement in the console game equivalent scenes.
But even with all that in mind, I don’t want to see paid modifications of video games. Or for the modding scenes to go all ‘professional’ like some people seem to advocate. Why? Well, here are some reasons…
1. Charging for Mods Disincentives Sharing Resources
Firstly, have you seen how many great websites exist to share resources for game mods? You’ve not only got general ones like Nexus Mods, but also game specific ones like various ones for Doom wads and others for games as obscure as Jurassic Park Trespasser.
Above: Yes, this actually exists.
Add in the ROM hacking and fan game scene sites, and that’s a lot of great free resources you can find after just a minute or two using Google.
But do you know why they’re so common?
Because people are involved for reasons involving a passion for the subject. Because the people involved in this scene want to help people, and with no money involved, do so by making it easier for other people to make their own games.
But what happens if the scene starts going paid?
Answer? The potential loss of all these free tools and resources. After all, why give out for free what you can sell for a large amount of money? Or for that matter, why give out stuff free if people are only going to use it in paid releases and give you zero credit in the process?
The idea of paid mods disincentives people from sharing things like tools, models, textures and other resources for use within the modding scene. And given that these things existing is one of the elements that makes such scenes so successful in the first place…
2. Many Great Mods aren’t ‘Above Board’
Another reason I don’t trust the idea of paid mods, is because it could theoretically stop the release of the super successful mods that are based around referencing other works.
For example, Skyrim had a Lord of the Rings mod, one that basically changed the entire setting to Middle Earth. Think either the Tolkien estate or Warner Brothers gave permission for that?
Above: Many good examples
Or how about the old Doom wad based on Batman? That was fantastic, yet it’d never be something you could release in a ‘paid’ environment. The copyright and trademark lawyers would smash it to pieces within hours…
And the list goes on. Super Smash Bros? Has tons of custom characters, stages, songs and other things that the original owners likely never gave permission to include in the game.
And outside of those types of game mods, you get the ROM hacking world. Brutal Mario is pretty much 99% crossover content:
None of that was licensed by anyone.
So why is this a problem? Why is it an issue to have ‘crossover’ mods and content if they’re not sold?
Because if other mods are sold, various legal issues could crop up about what the developers are responsible for. If that leads people to believe they ‘encouraged’ the Lord of Rings mod for Skyrim, someone involved with the IP could go after the developer for it. And then there’s the dangerous possibility that they could force ALL mods to be released only via some ‘official’ platform, which would then kill these mods off altogether. Do we really want to lose all the great wish fulfilment crossover/total conversion game mods that are out there just so more minor stuff can sold for a couple of bucks?
Recreating Super Mario 64 in another engine is not something that’s particularly rare. Indeed, we’ve had at least three projects attempting to remake the game in either Unreal Engine or Unity since at least 2012 or so, with one of them already having been shut down.
But here’s a slightly more interesting one. Behold Super Mario 64 as recreated in the Unreal Engine. Or more precisely… as recreated with pretty much entirely stock models and textures:
As you can see, it looks pretty damn amazing regardless of how un Mario like the assets are. I mean yes, they clash like hell with Mario’s character model and don’t remotely resemble anything from a Mario game.
But compared to other ‘stock footage recreations’? This is actually pretty good. Better than the infamous Simpsons opening one anyway…
So that’s something, isn’t it? What do you think of this recreation of part of Mario 64 using entirely stock models and textures? Do you think Youtuber aryoksini did a good job with it?
What’s more, this isn’t just mimicking the feel of the game either. The makers of this mod have actually gone and implemented many of the features from the original game, like painting the arena in your team’s colour, turning into a squid to go up and down walls and the ink having different effects based on whose team generated it.
It’s a pretty cool mod overall, I just wonder how long it’ll last before Nintendo gets all annoyed about it. What do you think about this recreation of Splatoon in Minecraft?
If you know about Creepypasta, you probably know about the NES Godzilla creepypasta. A horror story based on a NES game called Godzilla: Monster of Monsters, this story by a user called Cosbydaf on the Bogleech website involved a new villain called Red and a remade version of the game that turned it into something out a psychological horror story.
Above: A notable moment from the original creepypasta
Here’s a Know Your Meme article that explains it a bit further:
NES Godzilla Creepypasta – Know Your Meme
But now, something even better is happening to this story.
Namely, someone is actually making it as a real game! In other words, they’re hacking the original Godzilla: Monster of Monsters game into the messed up version from the story!
Here’s a video showing the game as it is so far:
It’s obvious an early alpha at the moment, with many of the enemies and concepts not fully implemented into the game. But still, to see this classic story created as an actual game is going to be amazing, especially if it contains all the clever ideas and hardware trickery of the version in the original legend.
What do you think of the NES Godzilla Creepypasta game so far?
So you’ve got a game called the Binding of Isaac. Based loosely on Christian religious themes and mythology, it’s an interesting enough roguelike style title where the character has to fight his way through various dungeons located underneath his house’s basement, complete with a fair amount of disturbing content.
And it was rejected by Nintendo, at least initially.
So what better to pay it tribute… than with a Mario edition of the game!
The Binding of Mario Rebirth on Reddit
Yes, that’s right. Some people on Reddit have been making a very… unique modification of The Binding of Isaac Rebirth. One where Mario takes the role of Isaac and explores various dungeons filled with characters from the Mario platformers and RPGs. No, we’re not kidding. Here are a few neat screenshots of the game taken straight from the original post:
Above: Some interesting screenshots from an interesting Mario fan project…
By god does this look interesting. You’ve got a clinically depressed E Gadd and Rosalina as playable alongside everyone’s favourite standbys of Mario, Luigi and Peach. Fawful is a boss, presumably complete with the same Engrish jokes from his debut games.
All in all, it seems like quite a fun experience if you’ve got a copy of the original Binding of Isaac Rebirth to use it with.
There just seems to be one unfortunate catch…
The game’s download link is broken. Why? Because the entire Binding of Isaac modding website is down for no apparent reason. Hopefully this is just a temporary issue that gets fixed within the next few days or so.
What do you think of this unique Binding of Isaac game mod? Do you like the idea of a religious horror themed game with Mario characters in it?