There is just no way to list every great modification (mod) that has come and gone in the history of gaming. These modifications have created for us a way to breathe life back into games we love (or used to love). I like to think most mods are totally user created and add content but yesterday while I way playing Team Fortress 2 I started to question the "mod" aspect of the term.
Truly to have respect for the people that create new content for their games these are the only things that can be listed under the honorific: Mod. However, I often find myself referring to code adjusted
game rules as being a mod as well. I define this more by adding a name to those mods that came from hard work. An example would be the "TF2: Hot Coffee Mod" where the pyro takes his jump suit off and kills hookers (this does not exist.... yet). Yet I will tell someone about the game I played in where someone had a "gravity mod" running that made it look like every one was floating on the moon. (By the way in this example, since I most often play the sniper class, I refer to this as "the skeet shoot" since that rule change makes it so easy for me.)
When the Counter Strike mod was created and forged history, as a hallmark addition that was accepted and beloved by the original creators, modding achieved an art form status in many people's eyes. I have witnessed people get jobs in the game industry just because they modded a game into another effective game (or improved it by a large measure). More and more these days PC gaming is often greatly enhanced by the developers adding in properties and tools to make modding easier for fans. This has improved things enormously for those who mod and even those whom don't. I myself am a poor coder at best but I often download mods to toy with my favorite games. I believe that the art in the mod says a great deal about the artist whom made it.
You have the masters of design that create whole new level design to freshen the look of a level.
There are masterful artists that create new weapons or new mechanics for the weapons in the game. Entirely new game play aspects or modes for already great playability. Completely assine additions that make me feel that if there truly was a gaming god he would smite your family for ten generations for what
you did to my game.
...and there it is, the downfall of mods.
You are using another persons art to express your own. You are building on what a team of people envisioned for great fun for the masses. It is sort of like making a mix tape for your significant other out of songs that you know she likes, then whipping in a Rickroll just for kicks (totally guilty). When you accept the challenge to take on the creation of more content to something that is truly great your mod must also reflect this level of greatness. Truly we don't have anything else to compare to and it isn't fair in the
slightest. While I lost more than one hundred gigs to the Never Winter Nights mods I downloaded and loved most of them, I still have a great deal of hate ready to be served to the creators of the "Mario Kart"
user created level in TF2. At the same time I also loved the Grappling Hook someone created for Counter Strike, but everyone hated me for having it when I sniped from three stories above the tallest building.
Like many games I have a love/hate that goes along with everything I play. I find it akin to a music nut. Perhaps we are not so far removed as gamers from other fans out there.
For those about to Mod, we salute you.