Life & Technology

Five Half-Life Mods that Influenced the Gaming Industry


As 2000 approached, there was no gaming company more popular than Valve and years later, the gaming company would have a major role in the industry. The company was founded in 1996 by Mike Harrington and Gabe Newell, who at first were mostly focused on shipping their first game. Later on, the two shifted their strategy to publishing and distribution.

The games developed by Valve never failed to impress, with their captivating storyline and atmosphere, the games certainly had a tremendous influence on other games and the PC gaming industry. Here are five of these games that were strongly influenced by Valve:


The Beta version for Counter-Strike first appeared in 1999 and was created by Minh “Gooseman” Le and Jess Cliffe. The developers did not expect such a good feedback on the game, since it received thousands of online players just in a matter of months. Counter-Strike changed the way games were looked at; the game was inspired by real-world counter-terrorism with purchasable weapons, defusing bombs and hostages.

At that time, the standards for the most popular FPS games were set by Quake or Unreal Tournament, but Counter-Strike earned enough popularity in such a short time that it attracted Valve’s attention, being later published by Sierra Entertainment/ Vivendi Universal Games. At the moment, Counter-Strike remained an important asset for Valve and the latest release, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, is ranking as the third most popular game on Steam,

Day of Defeat

This game was released back in 2003 and even if there were plenty of WWII shooters on the market, Day of Defeat managed to stand out thanks to the smooth game-play of the Half-Life engine. Day of Defeat was one of the first FPS games to have a class system, which encouraged teamwork. Players were able to choose different roles in the game, such as: Staff Sergeant, Rifleman, Sniper and so on.

One similarity that Day of Defeat shared with Counter-Strike is its map design: Jagd, Caen and Anzio were outstanding maps that players used to play in rotation. Even if the Beta arrived in 1998, Valve worked in collaboration with Activision in order to deliver the game officially in 2003.

Natural Selection

One of a unique mod for Half-Life was called Natural Selection, born right when Counter-Strike started to receive more and more popularity. The game allowed its players to choose one team: either Marines or Aliens. Both teams were different in their game-play:  Aliens had a great range of mechanism that can be compared to the zombies from Left 4 Dead, while Marines served a more traditional FPS style of play.

Even 15 years after the Natural Selection release, quite a few shooters tried to make similar game-play work, but they did not reach the game’s cohesion. Even if the game was not an officially published game by Valve, it was one of the most important mods for Half-Life.


Ricochet was first released in 2000 and it was considered the first Half-Life mod that players would ever play due to the sports-style shooter. This game would be a stepping stone to a lifelong addition to mods and after 12 years the game was brought back into the spotlight when Gabe Newell announced a sequel. Therefore, Ricochet can be considered the key to Half-Life.

Team Fortress Classic

The game was at first released as a Quake mod back in 1996, when Valve attempted to recreate the popular shooter on the Half-Life engine.

Team Fortress Classic was a class-based shooter, but the implementation was more arcade-like than Day of Defeat. The player was able to choose to play as a Scout, who could run incredibly fast while dropping caltrops, a Pyro who was equipped with a flamethrower and a Spy who could disguise himself.

Later on, in 2004, a sequel for the game was released and was officially entitled Team Fortress 2, becoming one of the most successful shooters in history.

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