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Fifth Place

Game of the Year 2012 Fifth Place

FIFTH - Black Mesa

Check out the PC Mod

A controversial inclusion on the nomination list, Black Mesa isn't technically a full paid-for release but is instead a fan-made remake of the original Half-Life. Almost a decade in development though, anticipation around Black Mesa was so high that we couldn't help ourselves - and neither could the people that voted for it either.

That's not surprising though, as Black Mesa is more than just a graphical upgrade over the original Half-Life - it's instead intended to be an idealised and streamlined version of the original classic. It cuts away all but the best bits of the game, reworking what's left into a nostalgic romp that simultaneously pays tribute to and eclipses Valve's original masterpiece.

That's something Valve's been unable to ignore, too. A recent Greenlight campaign to get the mod released officially on Steam was hugely successful, prompting Valve to reach out to the modding team and set the wheels in motion.

What makes Black Mesa doubly impressive though is that at the same time as remaking the original Half-Life, the team has managed to put their own stamp on the experience too. Black Mesa is littered with all sorts of creative changes and little in-jokes, so that even jaded Half-Life fans can find reason enough to replay the game at least once.

So, while some might take issue with Black Mesa's inclusion on our voting list this year, we'd argue there's enough creative flair and studio-level quality to make it qualify. Instead, the deeper issue we should be considering is what it means when a fan-made mod proves more popular in a public vote than the likes of Mass Effect 3...