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What Is The First Ever Game Mod?

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Game modification, or modding, is one of the most exciting ways to get into coding, as it is easier at first to see the changes you have made to an established program than to code a game from scratch.

The best games for modding tend to either have a level editor built-in or are built on a programming language that is easy to understand.

A Minecraft modding course is a great way to start for this exact reason, as designing levels, textures and even gameplay elements is almost deliberately simple.

When people think of the first game with a large modding scene, they tend to think of 1993’s Doom. However, the first game to see modifications came almost a decade earlier, and out of necessity.


Joining The Jet Set

Jet Set Willy is a fantastic game made by Matthew Smith about a former miner who needs to clean up his house after a huge party.

It infamously could not be beaten due to a game bug known as the “Attic bug” which is where an arrow on the screen actually goes off the edge of the screen into the memory for other levels, making the game unbeatable.

The first mod was by a pair of fans of the game, Ross Holman and Cameron Else, who had created bug fixes for the game to win a competition the game’s makers had set up.

However, by doing this, they had found out that the game’s code was not encrypted in any meaningful way, meaning that you could easily modify or even add rooms of your own to the game.

This was first published in a June 1984 edition of Your Spectrum magazine, in a “Hacker’s Guide”, which deduced some fo the inner workings of the game. A year later, the same magazine printed a type-in program that let you add a room to the game believed to be missing: April Showers.

For as long as there have been games there have been smart, crafty coders who want to build on and add more to them, and Jet Set Willy’s popularity even to this day as a modding platform, as well as ZZT, Doom and Minecraft’s popularity, proves it.