The gamers and players have spoken and picked their favorites and to keep things interesting, we didn't totally agree. Now it's time for the Mod DB editors to step up and tell you what we were playing in 2006.
There are a whole lot of mods, both released and in development, that are really quality products and have had blood and sweat and tears poured into them. Mods represent some of the most ingenious and innovative developments in the gaming world, and are all done by hobbyists and enthusiasts.
It is this time of year that we actually take the time out to recognise these mods and try to reward the amazing efforts people put into their work. Our Players' Choice awards show which mods have done something right, something that has allowed them to develop their own communities and fill servers up with players enjoying the end result of all the hard work.
Yet, as those who do the housekeeping around Mod DB, we feel that there are other mods that shine. These mods have a certain something about them that stands out to us. We want to recognise the mods that have an exceptional aspect that gives them a certain edge. Sure, we wish we could give out more awards, and there are many, many worthy candidates, but after much deliberation (read: bickering and whining), we have decided which mods stand out to us, and we plan to tell you why. Not all of us agreed with the awards and, unlike previous years, we felt it important to share many different viewpoints with the winners. Hopefully, this will give you a wider perspective towards these solid and noteworthy mods.
Honorable Mention: BlockStorm
Goldeneye Source is a remake of the classic Nintendo 64 game that made console first person shooters a force to be reckoned with. While not an exact duplicate of the original, the team is working with community opinion to make a mod for all to enjoy.
, first person shooters on console systems were a joke. They were slow, ugly and hard to control before this game came along. Goldeneye
was action packed, innovative and classy just like James Bond himself. The Goldeneye: Source
team have managed to recapture the joy of the original--and that is a guaranteed winning formula.
Who didn't love Goldeneye
on Nintendo 64? Goldeneye: Source
has proved that the game had a whole lot more to give and has built on the original enough to be a wholly fun experience.
A re-invention of one of the true classics of console gaming has been inevitable over the past few years. As a big Goldeneye
fan, I was one of the many that greatly anticipated the release of Goldeneye: Source
, but was left disappointed by its shortcomings in failing to capture the essence of the console version. Several design flaws that hindered the gameplay and flow of the classic version have kept this mod from reaching its full potential.
Honorable Mention: Kreedz Climbing
In an alternate universe, the Rahmos army rules with an iron fist, its people mere pawns beneath their might. Now, as a ragtag rebel army, you must rise up against them in this genre-defying real time strategy \ first person shooter online game.
is kind of like a cake made out of steaks. You know, steak tastes really good. And when you mix it with your favorite addition to any meal, such as cake, you have the perfect combo for a night full of fun and satisfaction."
It's one thing being innovative, but it's quite another realizing an innovative concept as a core factor in a solid gaming experience. In my honest opinion, Iron Grip
has a bit to go in achieving balanced gameplay ( e.g. I hate how the hapless Rahmos commander is the victory condition and he can't even be garrisoned in a tank while you attend to your troops on the other side of the map), but if it works out its niggles, you have here a mod with unique gameplay set in an original and well-crafted steam-punk universe. And not a lot of mods can say that for themselves.
Personally speaking, I wanted this mod to win the ambience category--have you heard the musical score?! However, that isn't the only area it excels. This mod was built to be different and it has certainly achieved that. And like a good bottle of wine, it just keeps on getting better.
I still can't figure out how to win as the Oppression. I click on the train to build some guys and the resistance kills my leader. I keep clicking for my tanks to move and they sit there. I say, "Ok, guys, just give me a minute to get oriented here," and the other players laugh at me and make fun of my mother. Finally, I get mad, change back to the Resistance side, and everything becomes awesome again. Ever wanted to know what it would be like to fight overwhelming odds and be a true rebel? Then sign up.
Honorable Mention: Median 2008
Enjoy a trip back to a time when bleeding edge graphics didn't matter, and where the idea of a third dimension was only dreamed of. Ragnarok Arena allows you to jump miles, gib your friends into little pieces with rockets and actually have a fighting chance without the use of that crazy mouse object.
isn't what I would like to classify as "old school". Sure, it's a 2D side-scroller. That's where the label ends. It's just another run-and-gun shoot-em-up with no actual intelligence behind it. I'll admit -- it has its moments. With a packed server, there's enough action and mayhem going around to get anyone in the mood. However, it plays just like any other mod you've seen or played before, just in a different perspective.
Remember those days when you could only go left, right, jump and crouch? Now, stick that side-scrolling fun into the Half-Life
engine, mix in some cleverly designed maps, and go shoot each other. I think we have a definite winner for bringing old-skool 2-dimensional movement into this graphics driven 3D world. How did it go now? Left, left, right right, up, down...
From the time I first played Halloween Harry
and Duke Nukem 2D
, I've always been a sucker for 2D side-scroller mayhem. Something about the crazy weapons, massive explosions, huge jumps and jetpacks keep me coming back for more. Ragnarok Arena
isn't quite Halloween Harry
, but it sure does bring back the memories and thats gotta be worth something...right!?
Honorable Mention: World of Padman
The SoulKeeper is a 3rd/1st person melee combat action multiplayer game. Experience the heat of medieval-like combat, in gorgeous and detailed environments making use of the powerful Unreal Engine.
has amazing visuals. There is enough detail packed into each polygon on-screen that you wonder how they were able to accomplish what they did. The gameplay has its moments as well. Let's just say dragon-riding has never felt so much fun. However, that's where the buck stops dead. This mod is perhaps infamous for its terrible A.I., bad balancing issues, and a real lack of anyone actually playing the mod, even around the time of its release. And you know what? They're all true. The mod team has already given up updating this mod, so we'll never know just how good it could have been.
is one mod that has me really confused. I don't enjoy playing it. In fact, if I try to play it for more than a few minutes, I get so bored it's not even funny. However, it just looks so damn good that I can't help booting it up every couple of weeks and just sitting in awe, staring at my screen.
is a mod I've never been able to play for more than five minutes. It might help if I read the instructions or found an online match with somebody in it, but I never have a damn clue what to do. So, I jump on a dragon, sail around for a little bit, crash into the side of a castle and promptly quit. At least it looks good while it lasts, though.
Honorable Mention: Hollow Moon
He stalks in the shadows. Watching. Waiting. Killing without warning, forcing you to run and hide, to fight to the last man in this brutal, yet innovative Half-Life 2 multiplayer game. Survival horror takes on a new meaning when death carries a knife.
The Hidden: Source
is the only game that has ever made me truly jump. Ever. Silent Hill
creeps me out. Condemned: Criminal Origins
makes me kind of tense. FEAR
, well, is exciting, but is about as scary as a trip to the urinal. But The Hidden
is something else. The Hidden
is the kind of game that, when my brother bursts into my room to tell me something, makes me leap screaming out of my chair like a high school girl.
*The following is an example of me playing Hidden Source
: "Hey, look at the pretty flashing light...HEY, WHY ARE YOU STUCK TO THE CEILING!?! EEEK...what was that sound? Hi there, Mr. Invisible Monster Thing. Want to be friends?" *Hammy-Bob has died*
Ever been hunted down by an invisible experiment gone wrong? No, me neither, but The Hidden
certainly gets you ready for it. Everything from the maps to the music helps draw you into the experience, making this a definite winner for the ambience.
If you look in a dictionary written by someone who has played Hidden: Source
, their description of the word "ambience" would be about the same as yours. Hidden: Source
doesn't need to use excessive sound or visuals to ooze ambience, it does it through some of the most clever gameplay mechanics ever.
Honorable Mention: World of Padman
Make a name for yourself in one of the largest, most open-ended space sims ever made. Infinity: Quest for the Earth utilizes procedural techniques to generate hundreds of thousands of seamless worlds, all ripe for privateers to pillage, explore, trade and battle over!
I hate to talk about visuals because this game has soooooo much more going for it, but have you seen the videos or played the tech demos? If this is how it looks on release, I'm not sure I'll ever get around to actually playing it--I'll be too distracted, gazing at the passing spaceships and planets floating around the galaxy.
I like spaceships, because they can fly into space and this mod has many screenshots of space flying. Really, though, this is one of the most beautiful and promising standalone games I have ever witnessed.
What is there left to be said about this juggernaut? Everyone's already praised it enough, but I want to reiterate that it sounds like it's going to actually pull through and rock the online gaming scene, a massive feat for an indie title. Not only that, but the graphics are surely some of the most impressive ever.
Honorable Mention: Off Limits
A Mod DB favorite, enter the world of a hand-drawn figure brought to life in this quirky platformer that nearly defies description. Hide inside paintings, fold yourself to slip into tight corners and fight to return to the 2D world from whence you came!
I'm more excited about Drawn to be Alive
than any retail game to be released in 2007. Forget Crysis
, forget Bioshock
and forget the next generation of video game consoles. This is going to be the next Psychonauts
. If it isn't, I'll cry.
Drawn to be Alive
is really, really, really tickling my fancy at the moment. I can't wait to play through what promises to be a totally unique and memorable experience.
This is, to put it simply, the coolest idea I've seen around recently. All I can say to you if you haven't seen the media releases is, "Where have you been?"
There are tons of mods I can't wait to play, but none more so than Drawn to be Alive
. Excluding a few Japanese games--Tomato Adventure
anyone!?--this has got to be the most creative idea I've seen in a while, plus it looks to be a load of fun, which is something most creative games lack! Where can I sign up?
Standalone Game of the Year: Darsana
Honorable Mention: Tremulous
Welcome to Darsana! A standalone game in the works for the Darkplaces engine, Darsana is a combination of a fast paced first person shooter and a detailed statistics system with the strategy elements of an RPG. Darsana runs along the lines of a medieval fantasy with magic, swordplay and the encroachment of the Undead.
is a very, very solid title that just keeps getting better with every update. With great graphics, solid gameplay and some very nice ideas, this is a very impressive title indeed.
is a funny example of everyone voting for it overwhelmingly, then coming back to complain about its flawless victory after it was announced to the rest of the staff.
Sometimes, you want some medieval online fun without spending hours gaining experience points, gold, or potentially falling in love with someone who just might
be a girl. Darsana
brings you all the fun of a classic rpg setting, but in a fast paced FPS environment. And, who knows? You might just find a girl on the server.
Honorable Mention: Katana
The drugs, you can't stop taking them. The visions are darkening, the illusions are becoming real. Can you stop them? Can a hospital put an end to the madness? But no, the madness, it won't end. The pills are there, there I tell you! Afraid of Monsters!
I thought this was very well done and superbly original, but in places hitting never-ending streams of monsters with your crowbar because you'd run out of ammo got a bit tedious. I think it's nice that the creator is working on releasing a "Director's Cut" version with improved ammo placement amongst other things, but I can also think of another mod that never got tedious and should have won this in my eyes.
It was difficult to pick singleplayer mods this year, and even though Afraid of Monsters
is a simply unforgettable experience, we would love to see more good singleplayer mods. Go, quickly! Go make some more good ones!
I want to thank the creator for making the scariest mod I have ever played. After just playing for 20 minutes, I almost had five heart attacks and had to change my pants eight times.
Afraid of Monsters
reminds me of the time my mom took codeine after her surgery and saw Felix the Cat
and God on the wall. It's pretty damn trippy, anyway.
Multiplayer Mod of the Year: Killing Floor
Honorable Mention: Eternal Silence 2
Armaggedon is upon us. The dead walk and the cities burn, while blood runs through the streets. In Killing Floor, engage the forces of the damned in a relentless multiplayer battle to the death where making a stand may be the last thing you ever do.
is filled with classic, cinematic moments that you'll never find in another multiplayer game. I still remember my first time playing, when its creator wanted to show me the ropes, we were being chased through the city streets by a massive wave of zombies. We backed into a building and started welding the door shut, but some fool was still out there, blasting away. "What about him?!" I yelled. "He's freakin' toast," Alex yelled back. Seconds later, he was dead, the zombies were beating on the door, and everything went to hell.
Anyone who's given Killing Floor
a shot at a LAN knows how amazing a multiplayer mod can be. Teamwork, communication, tactics and zombie slaughetering all in one neat package. Not only that, but the latest release completely changed the game, so much for the better.
When I downloaded this mod, I expected all of the enemies to be giant floors and I would be killing them with more floors. I don't know, but this mod is so much more than that. There is nothing like having 10 people running through a lab with zombies pouring out of every corner after them.
Zombies! More zombies! Kill them all! But I'll be damned if it isn't fun doing so. Cooperative shooting, knifing and generally making a mess of the brainless hordes? What it lacks in depth it makes up for in the no-nonsense attitude.
We wanted to do something different this year. We wanted to have prizes, we wanted to change up our format, we wanted to make Mod of the Year something not only to look forward to, but also to be involved with. Did we succeed in everything? God only knows. We can never please everybody, so at best, we'll just do what we can and hope the praise outweighs the criticism we are bound to receive.
With Editors Choice, I wanted to give it a different voice. The problem with the Players Choice Awards is that, despite having so many people involved with the voting, it is a relatively faceless process. When we are describing the mods that won, we can't sit there and tell you why so many people voted for them. We can't read minds, so we can only guess. That makes it hard and a little unexciting.
For Editors Choice, though, I wanted to share our thoughts in the process of awarding these mods. Every year, we start a thread in the staff section and spend the next month yelling at one another over what should win. It is always a very heated debate, with people getting pissed off, demanding changes, votes being tallied and tensions rising. In the past, you've never seen this side of the story. All you see is our final selections, a brief little blurb, and that was enough. But I'm sick of doing that. By putting a brief little blurb on our award, we aren't telling you the truth about what we as a collective whole feel about Mod X. We're just giving you a few people's opinions and calling it unanimous.
This year was about voices. People wanted video features on the site, so we started the modcast theater. People in the staff section with strong opinions wanted to be heard, so we decided to give them a voice. Now, you can see what we truly think about the winners. Some might find this a backhanded slap in the face to go along with the awards. Others might find it humorous. Our detractors will point out that, basically, we are just ripping off what Eurogamer does.
But at least we tried to do something different. And if we entertained you for just one minute, or gave you a slightly different perspective on a mod you may have overlooked, then we've done our part.
--Joe Johnson, Mod DB Content President
January 23rd, 2007
Follow this link if you'd like to read the Players Choice 2006 Mod of the Year