What is a Walkthrough in Gaming?

Gamers today can’t imagine a world without mods. They are an integral part of the gaming experience, allowing players to customize their games and push the boundaries of what’s possible. But when did modding first start? What was the first game to have mods? In this article, we’ll explore the early history of game mods and uncover the game that started it all. From humble beginnings to a thriving community, we’ll take a journey through the evolution of modding and see how it has shaped the gaming industry as we know it today. So buckle up and get ready to explore the fascinating world of game mods!

Quick Answer:
The early history of game mods is not well-documented, but it is believed that the first game to have mods was likely a game called “Doom.” Released in 1993, Doom was a revolutionary first-person shooter game that allowed players to create and share their own custom levels and gameplay modifications. These mods added new weapons, enemies, and gameplay mechanics to the game, and they quickly became popular among the game’s dedicated community of players. Doom mods were distributed through various channels, including bulletin board systems and online forums, and they helped to establish the concept of player-created content in video games. Since then, modding has become an integral part of the gaming culture, with many games actively supporting and encouraging modding communities.

The Rise of Game Modding

The Evolution of Video Games

From Arcade to Console: The Changing Landscape of Gaming

Early Video Game Consoles

The evolution of video games can be traced back to the early 1970s, when the first video game console, the Magnavox Odyssey, was released. This console used simple rectangular pixels and offered games such as tennis and hockey. However, it was not until the release of the Atari 2600 in 1977 that video game consoles became popular. The Atari 2600 was the first console to use joysticks and offered games such as Pong and Space Invaders.

The Emergence of Home Computers

The 1980s saw the emergence of home computers, which revolutionized the video game industry. Computers such as the Commodore 64 and the Apple II offered more advanced graphics and sound than consoles, leading to the development of more complex and sophisticated games. This also paved the way for the rise of game modding, as users began to experiment with modifying games to create new levels, characters, and gameplay mechanics.

The Modding Community

What is Modding?

Modding, or “modding,” refers to the practice of modifying a game to create a new experience or add new content. This can include changing the game’s graphics, sound, gameplay mechanics, or even adding entirely new levels or characters. Modding has been a popular activity in the video game community since the early days of home computers and continues to be a thriving subculture within the gaming world.

Why Do People Mod Games?

There are many reasons why people mod games. Some do it to challenge themselves and push the boundaries of what is possible within a game, while others do it to create a unique experience that is tailored to their own personal preferences. Some modders also create mods as a way to give back to the gaming community, by creating new content or fixing bugs and glitches in existing games. Regardless of the reason, modding has become an integral part of the gaming experience for many players, and has led to the creation of entire communities dedicated to the creation and sharing of mods.

The Impact of Modding on the Gaming Industry

Innovation and Creativity

Game modding has played a significant role in driving innovation and creativity in the gaming industry. Modders have pushed the boundaries of what is possible in game design, introducing new game mechanics and features that developers may not have considered. For example, the popular mod, “Dark Radial,” introduced a new gameplay mechanic to the first-person shooter game, “Doom,” by allowing players to see enemies through walls. This mod expanded the game’s possibilities and gave players a new way to experience the game.

New Game Mechanics

Game mods have also led to the creation of entirely new game mechanics. For instance, the “Survival” mod for “The Forest” game added a new survival element to the game, requiring players to manage their hunger, thirst, and health. This mod transformed the game from a first-person horror experience to a survival game, showcasing the versatility of game modding.

Reimagining Existing Games

Mods have also allowed players to reimagine existing games, giving them a new lease on life. The “New Vegas Strip” mod for the game “Fallout: New Vegas” transformed the game’s environment, adding a new area for players to explore. This mod allowed players to experience the game in a completely new way, demonstrating the potential for mods to transform the player’s experience of a game.

Player Engagement

Game modding has also had a significant impact on player engagement. Mods have increased the replayability of games, as players can continue to discover new mods and experience the game in new ways. For example, the “Skyrim: Immersive Patrols” mod for the game “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” adds new NPC patrols to the game, making the game world feel more alive and dynamic. This mod extends the game’s lifespan, giving players a reason to keep playing and exploring.


In addition to increasing replayability, mods have also allowed players to experience games in completely new ways. The “Battlefield 1: Tank Rumble” mod transforms the game “Battlefield 1” into a tank-only experience, changing the game’s core mechanics and gameplay. This mod demonstrates the potential for mods to transform a game’s experience, allowing players to play the game in ways that were never intended by the developers.

Building a Community

Finally, game modding has played a significant role in building a community around games. Modding encourages collaboration and creativity, as modders work together to create new mods and share their work with others. This community aspect of modding has helped to create a vibrant and active modding scene, with players sharing their creations and providing feedback to one another. For example, the “Low Poly Cities” mod for the game “GTA V” was created by a group of modders who worked together to create a new city for players to explore. This mod showcases the potential for modding to bring players together and foster a sense of community.

The Contenders for the First Game to Have Mods

Wolfenstein 3D

The Birth of First-Person Shooters

Wolfenstein 3D, developed by id Software and released in 1992, is widely regarded as the first-ever first-person shooter (FPS) game. The game’s revolutionary use of 3D graphics and gameplay mechanics captivated gamers and set the stage for the FPS genre’s future evolution.

The First Game to Use Raycasting

Wolfenstein 3D utilized raycasting technology, which traced rays of light from the player’s perspective to create the illusion of 3D environments. This innovative technique enabled players to navigate and interact with environments in a more immersive manner than ever before.

Modding Support

Wolfenstein 3D featured modding support from its inception, with developers id Software actively encouraging players to modify and enhance the game. This included the release of the game’s source code, along with tools and resources that allowed players to create their own levels, characters, and gameplay elements.

Early Modding Communities

The game’s modding community quickly grew, with players sharing their creations and collaborating on new projects. This sense of shared creativity and community drove the development of new mods and enhanced the overall gaming experience for players.

Tools and Resources

id Software provided players with the Doom Builder, a level editor specifically designed for Wolfenstein 3D and its successor, Doom. This powerful tool allowed players to craft their own levels and share them with others, fostering a thriving modding scene and paving the way for future modding in other games.

Overall, Wolfenstein 3D’s groundbreaking design, support for modding, and the emergence of modding communities established it as a strong contender for the first game to have mods.


The Game That Defined the FPS Genre

Doom, released in 1993, was a revolutionary first-person shooter (FPS) game that introduced the genre to the masses. It was developed by id Software and directed by game designer John Carmack. The game’s success was attributed to its fast-paced gameplay, 3D graphics, and multiplayer mode, which was a new feature at the time.

Modding Culture in Doom

Doom’s popularity also led to the development of a modding culture, where players could create and share their own levels, weapons, and other game elements. This was made possible by the game’s built-in level editor, which allowed players to design and customize their own game experiences.

The modding community for Doom was particularly active, with players sharing their creations online through bulletin board systems and other early internet forums. This allowed for a diverse range of content, from simple level modifications to fully-fledged expansion packs that added new gameplay mechanics and storylines.

Innovations in Modding

Doom’s modding community also led to innovations in modding as a whole. For example, the WAD file format, which was used to store Doom mods, became a standard for modding in other games. Additionally, the game’s open source code allowed for extensive modifications and even complete re-imaginings of the game’s engine, leading to the creation of new games and genres.

Overall, Doom’s impact on the gaming industry cannot be overstated. Not only did it define the FPS genre, but it also laid the groundwork for modding culture and inspired countless developers to create new and innovative games.

Ultima Underworld

Ultima Underworld, developed by Origin Systems and released in 1992, is one of the contenders for the first game to have mods. This first-person role-playing game (RPG) was revolutionary in its approach to game design, providing players with a highly immersive experience. The game’s open-ended structure and modding opportunities paved the way for future modding communities, but technical limitations also restricted the extent of user-generated content.

A New Approach to Game Design

Ultima Underworld was a pioneer in the use of first-person perspective, offering players an unprecedented level of immersion in a fantasy world. Instead of the traditional top-down view found in most RPGs, players navigated through dungeons and caves, engaging in combat and solving puzzles. This new approach to game design allowed players to explore and interact with the game world in a more intuitive and engaging manner.

Modding Opportunities

One of the most notable aspects of Ultima Underworld was the modding opportunities it provided. The game featured a built-in map editor, which allowed players to create and modify their own levels. Additionally, the game’s scripting language, known as “Ultimacode,” allowed players to create custom scripts and interactions within the game world. This level of user-generated content was unprecedented at the time and set the stage for future modding communities.

Technical Limitations

Despite its innovative design and modding opportunities, Ultima Underworld was not without its technical limitations. The game’s use of texture mapping, which was state-of-the-art at the time, meant that levels had to be designed within strict boundaries. Additionally, the game’s scripting language was limited in its capabilities, which meant that more complex modifications were difficult to achieve. While these limitations did not prevent players from creating mods, they did restrict the extent to which players could customize the game world.

The Elusive First Game to Have Mods

The Quest for the First Moddable Game

In the quest to find the first game to have mods, one must consider what makes a game moddable. A moddable game is one that allows users to alter, modify, or customize its gameplay, mechanics, or visuals. To identify the first moddable game, we must examine the games that met this criteria during the early years of gaming.

Criteria for a Moddable Game
  1. Accessibility: The game should provide easy access to its source code or have a user-friendly interface for modifying its files.
  2. Flexibility: The game should have a structure that allows for various modifications without affecting the game’s stability or performance.
  3. Popularity: The game should have a dedicated player base, which increases the likelihood of modding activity.

Early Moddable Games

Several early games demonstrated characteristics that could be considered moddable. These include:

  1. Spacewar! (1962): As one of the earliest video games, Spacewar! was programmed in a high-level language and included simple mechanics that could be modified by users.
  2. Pong (1972): Pong’s simple graphics and gameplay allowed for easy customization, and its popularity led to numerous variations and clones.
  3. MULE (1980): MULE was a multiplayer game that featured customizable rules, allowing players to modify the game’s objectives and victory conditions.

The Contenders Revisited

While these games demonstrated elements of moddability, they did not fully meet the criteria for a truly moddable game.

Why None of the Above?

Despite the modding activity surrounding these games, they lacked the necessary accessibility, flexibility, and popularity to be considered the first moddable game.

A New Candidate?

As we continue our search for the elusive first game to have mods, we must consider other early games that may have met the criteria for moddability. Future investigations may uncover additional contenders from the vast history of gaming, revealing the true origins of game modding.

The Evolution of Modding

In the world of gaming, modding has been around for decades. The first mods were simple modifications that players made to the games they loved, but as technology has advanced, so has the complexity of mods. In this section, we will explore the evolution of modding, from its humble beginnings to the sophisticated modifications that are available today.

The Early Days of Modding

The first mods were created by players who wanted to add their own personal touch to their favorite games. These early mods were often simple modifications, such as changing the colors of the game or adding new characters. They were created using basic tools and required little technical knowledge.

The Rise of Modding Communities

As modding became more popular, so did the communities that formed around it. These communities were dedicated to sharing mods and providing support for modders. They were also instrumental in the development of new modding tools and techniques.

The Emergence of Advanced Modding Tools

As modding became more sophisticated, so did the tools that were used to create them. Advanced modding tools, such as the game development engine, allowed modders to create more complex modifications that added new features and gameplay elements to games.

The Impact of Online Platforms

The rise of online platforms, such as Steam, has had a significant impact on the modding community. These platforms provide a central location for modders to share their creations and receive feedback from other players. They also make it easier for modders to distribute their mods to a wider audience.

The Future of Modding

As technology continues to advance, the future of modding looks bright. With the rise of virtual reality and augmented reality, modders will have new tools and platforms to work with. Additionally, the growth of the modding community means that there will always be new ideas and creations to explore.

The First Game to Have Mods: Still Unclear

The origins of game mods are shrouded in mystery, and there is much debate among gamers and game historians alike about which game was the first to feature mods. Some of the contenders for this title include:

  • Doom: This iconic first-person shooter, released in 1993, allowed players to create and share their own levels and mods through the game’s built-in editor. However, while Doom was certainly one of the first games to popularize modding, it’s unclear whether it was the first game to have mods.
  • Wolfenstein 3D: Released in 1992, this game was one of the first first-person shooters and was also one of the earliest games to feature user-generated content. Players could create their own levels and share them with others, but the extent to which these creations could be considered “mods” is debatable.
  • Castle Wolfenstein: This game, released in 1989, was one of the first to feature user-generated content in the form of custom levels. However, it lacked the tools to easily create and share these levels, so the extent to which it can be considered a “mod” is also debatable.

Despite the claims of these and other early games, the true origin of game mods remains a mystery. It’s possible that mods existed in some form in even earlier games, but were not widely recognized or documented. Ultimately, the question of which game was the first to have mods may never be definitively answered, but the impact of modding on the gaming industry cannot be denied.

The Future of Game Modding

Exploring New Frontiers

  • Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
  • Cloud Gaming and Streaming
  • The Impact of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

As virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies continue to advance, they offer new opportunities for game modding. With VR, players can immerse themselves in fully-realized digital worlds, and mods can enhance these experiences by adding new content, mechanics, and challenges. AR, on the other hand, blends digital elements with the real world, allowing mods to add interactive features to the player’s physical environment.

Cloud Gaming and Streaming

Cloud gaming and streaming services are becoming increasingly popular, allowing players to access games from any device with an internet connection. This presents new opportunities for modding, as players can now share and access mods across multiple platforms and devices. Cloud gaming also enables the creation of mods that can be easily updated and patched, without requiring players to download and install new versions.

The Impact of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are revolutionizing the gaming industry, and game modding is no exception. AI and ML can be used to create dynamic and adaptive game environments, and mods can leverage these technologies to create new and unique experiences. For example, mods can use AI to generate procedurally generated levels, or ML to create personalized AI opponents that adapt to the player’s playing style.


1. What are game mods?

Game mods are modifications made to a video game by players or enthusiasts, which alter the game’s content, gameplay, or mechanics. These modifications can range from minor tweaks to complete overhauls of the game’s world, characters, and storylines.

2. Why do people create game mods?

People create game mods for various reasons, such as to add new content, change the game’s mechanics, or fix bugs. Some modders create mods as a creative outlet, while others do it to improve the game’s overall experience. Additionally, mods can help extend the lifespan of a game by providing new challenges and content for players to explore.

3. What was the first game to have mods?

The first game to have mods was likely the game that popularized the concept of modding: id Software’s Doom. Released in 1993, Doom was one of the first games to feature customizable levels and gameplay, allowing players to create and share their own content. This innovation sparked a revolution in gaming and led to the creation of countless mods for Doom and other games.

4. What types of mods were created for Doom?

Doom mods ranged from simple level modifications to full-blown campaigns and gameplay overhauls. Players could create new levels, enemies, weapons, and gameplay mechanics, as well as customize the game’s visuals and sound effects. Doom mods also inspired the creation of fan-made sequels and spin-offs, such as “Final Doom” and “Doom 64.”

5. How did modding impact the gaming industry?

Modding has had a significant impact on the gaming industry by encouraging player creativity and engagement. It has allowed players to extend the lifespan of their favorite games, creating new challenges and experiences that keep them coming back for more. Additionally, modding has led to the development of new games and game engines, as well as the growth of online communities and social platforms for gamers.

10 Games That Started Out As Mods

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