Over the years video games have inspired new developers to create game worlds for others to enjoy. However, there have been a few video game titles that fans enjoyed so much that they decided to develop a new installment or remake purely out of fandom. Most of these games actually end up getting killed off by the IP owner, but there are times where these games manage to sneak out online.
We compiled some of our favorite fan-made video game titles which you can download and enjoy today. While some of these games were officially killed off by the IP owners, fans were able to release the game just prior to receiving the cease and desist letter or manage to get them online regardless. Likewise, these games in particular are not ranked in any order. We’re always thrilled to see fan games release and hope to update this list with even more fan creations in the future.
#10 Super Mario 64 Port
When Nintendo gets wind of a game being developed by fans, they are usually quick to fire out a legal letter to stop production. They really make it clear that no one can mess with Nintendo’s characters or IP without their approval. As a result, there have been some rather incredible looking projects being developed before they were killed off. However, one particular fan was quiet in their project and didn’t hype up a release. Instead, they simply finished their project and uploaded it online to avoid Nintendo’s ever careful and watchful eye. That project was a full PC port of Super Mario 64.
Super Mario 64 was a popular Nintendo 64 game and a title that brought Mario into the 3D realm. It gave fans a new way to enjoy platform games and they executed the game perfectly. In fact, Super Mario 64 sets the foundation for platforming games going forward and while it’s a cherished treasure, the only means to enjoy the game on the PC platform is to emulate it. There have been some solid emulators that would mimic the Nintendo 64 hardware and bring out a fully playable Super Mario 64 gameplay experience, but this port offers higher resolutions along with ultra-widescreen mode support. It’s the best way to enjoy this game on the PC platform although since its release Nintendo has been attempting to remove any links that offer the game download.
#9 Black Mesa
We’re still waiting for Valve to finally wrap up the trilogy of Half-Life but if you happen to be an unfortunate soul that has yet to pick up the original title which started the series then do yourself a favor and try out Black Mesa. Black Mesa is a third-party remake of the original Half-Life that was made possible by just a team of forty people, all volunteering their time to bring an updated look of a beloved video game classic.
Black Mesa was developed over a span of eight years before it was finally released in September of 2012, to massive attention from fans, publications, and even Valve. Now you can relive or take on the journey of Gordon Freeman for the first time ever. Since its release, there have been additional mods to help expand even more of the game along with updates to add more multiplayer maps, weapons along with general graphical improvements.
#8 Project AM2R
Metroid has a large fan base and when news broke that a fan project was in the works to remake Metroid II: Return of Samus there was plenty of eager gamers interested in downloading the game upon release. Previously the original game was only available on the Nintendo Game Boy and as such the remake known as AM2R, which stood for Another Metroid 2 Remake, would be an incredible enhancement.
Under the creation of Milton Guasti, the development team had a massive challenge as the game would not only receive color but gamers would be playing on a bigger screen in comparison to the Nintendo Game Boy. This meant that the developers had to adjust the level designs and at times even the layouts of the map.
However, it was only a few days after AM2R released that Nintendo sent out takedown notices to websites hosting the download. Despite this, Milton stated that he would continue to work on the project privately but that was also quickly shut down when Nintendo approached him directly.
Because the game was already released online the community quickly got to work and delivered their own patches and additional features, making it nearly impossible to kill off the game completely.
#7 Sonic: After the Sequel
There have been a few Sonic titles released under fans but one title that was not directly involved with Sega is Sonic: After the Sequel. This is a solid Sonic fan game which is set to take place between Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Sonic the Hedgehog 3 where Sonic and Tails venture off to find Doctor Eggman and take back the Chaos Emeralds.
Gameplay mimics the old 2D side-scrolling platform style of the original Sonic the Hedgehog titles where players can take the role as either Sonic or Tails. There’s also new areas and locations that are themed around haunted houses, cities, theme parks and of course processing plants.
While the game was released in 2013, developers went back in 2017 to update Sonic: After The Sequel which gave it a new title, Sonic: After The Sequel DX. This improved various aspects of the game such as physics along with adding a new move set called drop dash, which was present in Sonic Mania. You’ll even find that there is a new final boss to take on.
#6 Goldeneye: Source
If you had a Nintendo 64 then you owned 007 GoldenEye. Not only was this a fun first-person shooter in general, but most would gather to enjoy some local multiplayer matches. Years after its release the game is still widely known, but if you want to enjoy the game today with an overhaul in visuals and mechanics then you’ll want to look at GoldenEye: Source.
This game was developed by fans to bring back the old GoldenEye video game back in popularity. Players will find that the game will contain all of the original maps, weapons and playable characters. We’re sure you may have already been aware of this game, but if not do yourself a favor and give the game a download.
As for support, developers are still actively working on the game and as of right now, there are no plans on working on the main campaign, but with that said, there are offline AI bots to face against.
#5 Mushroom Kingdom Fusion
Mushroom Kingdom Fusion is a rather unique game as it takes a wide assortment of classic 8bit and 16bit video games and mixes them together. This results in players going through a classic video game level but as a different character. For instance, you may find yourself playing as Kirby, Mario, or Wario in a whole different video game.
The results are incredible especially if you enjoyed these old school retro video games growing up. However, even if you never played these games before, the title is well worth checking out today.
DoomRL or otherwise known as DRL is a Doom Roguelike video game developed by ChaosForge. The video game is a bit different than past Doom titles as it’s a top-down created with ASCII characters. Likewise being a roguelike, you’ll have plenty of replay value, but again, the title may have a more niche fan base.
The game is free to play and definitely feels a bit more unique with traits to upgrade and more exploration to find resources and items. While you wait for the next main Doom installment to launch into the market, we recommend giving this game a download.
#3 Streets of Rage Remake
Streets of Rage is a Sega classic that first released back in 1991. This is a beat ‘em up title which has four installments, one of which just released in 2020 called Streets of Rage 4. Essentially, this series allowed cooperative gameplay where players are tasked with cleaning up the streets of criminal thugs and gangs.
A team that went under the name Bomber Games decided to remake the game from the ground up while giving players over a hundred stages and a wider cast of playable character. Likewise, one of the elements that players fondly remember from the Streets of Rage titles is the soundtrack and that area was not going to be left out by Bomber Games as they had five musicians create over seventy tracks for the game.
Because this was an ambitious project there have been past reports that Bomber Games got in contact with Sega to receive a thumbs up on the project production. Apparently, Sega didn’t have a problem until the title actually released.
Days after the project launched Sega hit the developers with a cease and desist forcing the game to be taken down. This had to sting for the team that spent nearly a decade to produce the remake. However, because the game was released prior to the take down notice, gamers have been keeping the game alive online but you’ll have to look a little harder for it.
#2 Hyper Dragon Ball Z
The Dragon Ball franchise has no shortage of fighting video games in its collection. However, it doesn’t stop fans from making their own fighting game for others to enjoy. For instance, Hyper Dragon Ball Z is one of the more popular free fan games which was created with the MUGEN engine.
This game includes seven game modes and over ten characters to choose from. However, over time the development team is constantly updating the game to include new characters and gameplay improvements.
There’s plenty of MUGEN fighting games to enjoy but if you’re a fan of the Dragon Ball franchise then this is one not to pass up.
#1 Pokemon: Uranium
Pokemon ROM hacks have flooded the internet and it’s really easy finding a new Pokemon game to play that wasn’t officially put out by Game Freak. However, one of the more beloved fan-made video games to release for the Pokemon franchise was Pokemon Uranium.
This was a brand new Pokemon journey experience that took place in a new region along with featuring over a hundred new unique Pokemon to collect. The story was based around a young teenager who finds himself embarking on a quest to become a Pokemon Champion. Ten years prior our hero has his life ripped apart when his mother gets killed in a nuclear catastrophe and his father become distant to avoid grief.
Raised up by his aunt, players set off on their grand quest to only learn that a new facility is being built up where the nuclear explosion had taken place. Now Pokemon have started to behave strangely and attacking innocent civilians. It’s up to the player in order to discover what’s going on and save the day.
One of the interesting aspects to this title is that players could connect online and partake in trades. With its growing popularity, Nintendo decided to extinguish the flame by sending out ceases and desist letters.
The fan-made development group initially refused and kept up with the game production post-release though eventually they caved and shut the game along with the servers down. However, much like AM2R, because the game was released online the community has continued to support it by giving it new updates and patches.
We can’t officially mark this on our list just yet as it’s still not available. Installation 01 is an upcoming FPS based on the Halo series. Using the Unity game engine, the fan development team is looking to bring a multiplayer-only experience. This project was in the works well before the Halo Master Chief Collection was unveiled for the PC platform so this game project may have lost some of its luster. After all, the big push from the team is to replicate the original Halo trilogy multiplayer gameplay. Most often these types of fan games are killed off by the IP owners but it seems that the team has been communicating with both Microsoft and 343 Industries so we may see it officially launch into the web. However, anything is possible so we’re hoping the project doesn’t get killed off after all the work was poured into the project.
There are plenty of gamers out there who remember playing the educational game The Oregon Trail. It was present in plenty of computer labs in elementary schools and as a result, it was quite popular. However, to make things a bit more challenging three developers, Ben Perez, Michael Block, and Ryan Wiemeyer decided to make up their own development studio, The Men Who Wear Many Hats and release the video game Organ Trail.
The game is very much like The Oregon Trail but as a retro zombie survival title where the player must make their way across the United States in a station wagon. Throughout the game, players must manage resources along with gathering fuel for the car so that the party can safely make it to the end destination, a sanctuary free of zombies.
Not only did this game release as a free flash-based browser game but the developers ended up bringing the title over onto other platforms such as PlayStation 4, Android, Ios, and lastly, PlayStation Vita.
Undertale is a wacky RPG created by Toby Fox. It’s full of unexpected surprises and as a result, the game became a massive hit. Overall, the game follows a child who has fallen underground and must work his way back to the surface. To to do so, players will encounter a wide range of characters, dialogue choices and a bullet hell combat system. Released back in 2015, it wasn’t long before fans started to throw their creations up online and you can find several available. One of the popular choices that most would recommend is Undertale Red.
It’s a shame to spoil the game for anyone as you’ll want to encounter it much like how you encountered Undertale for the first time. We will say playing Undertale first is a good start. The creator behind the project who goes by Taxiderby, has stated that there would be no future project for this particular game so once you complete it then you’ll have to move on to another fan game, but it’s received quite the positive reception.