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Geek Proud, GeekOut.

Top 10 – Fan Created Products

GeekOut Top 10s

You may be wondering how much content genuinely has been made by fans that we wanted to make a list about and the truth is – There’s a lot. We could get specific by saying best “fanart”, or best “fanfic”, or even best “fan made game”… But the truth is, there’s a lot of great content out there by crazy talented individuals. This week, we dedicate it to the fans who make their mark on the world, by taking something they enjoy and running wild with it.


Top 10

10) 50 Shades of Grey

It’s actually a Twilight fanfiction. No, I didn’t make a mistake. I promise you, 50 Shades of Grey, that smutty, adult book, is actually a hugely altered fanfiction of Twilight. See, before she was a famous writer for writing that book, the author of 50 Shades of Grey allegedly wrote a book, which was a Twilight saga fanfiction called ‘Master of the Universe’ under the pen name, Snowqueens Icedragon.

We don’t have too much to say on this one, as 50 Shades of Grey isn’t really something we’d cover here on GeekOut South-West – Not really. It doesn’t fall in geek fandom or anything like that… but we couldn’t help it. This is one of those cases where, actually, it’s fun to step back and just take a moment to appreciate what this once was…

… And how we’ve probably all had an internet name like Snowqueens Icedragon at some point.

9) Clone Hero

I’ve written about it before, but Clone Hero is legitimately something that managed to get me back into the rhythm game genre. I loved a good play around with Guitar Hero, as many of my friends will attest to. When I went to stay with Kim from Later Levels a few years back, I saw they had a Guitar Hero stand in an arcade and so I rush right over and bust out my skills as an inner teen wanting to be cool with a plastic guitar.

Anyway, Clone Hero is a labour of love. It’s gone way further, as they’re now rebuilding it completely from the ground up. Clone Hero featured some of the devs from Guitar Hero as far as I’m aware, or at least had some help from them – but for the vast majority of the project, it’s been fans who want to see the rhythm game giant live on… And it’ll always live on in our hearts.

8) MMO UI Mods

If you’ve ever played an MMORPG that allows mods, you have undoubtedly played around with them. With my current foray into the Elder Scrolls Online, I went ahead and downloaded something called Bandits UI, which has made the game look a lot better for me. The fact is though, I couldn’t make a Top 10 entry just for Bandits UI, but I thought long and hard and realised that this is a seriously overlooked section of modding.

When I played World of Warcraft, I made my own UI… But I also used loads of others. I would mash together UIs, or I’d use wholly made ones like elvui. Basically, this is one of the most underappreciated, but most genuinely useful sides of modding and if any modder ever reads this, thank you so much for making PC games so much more customisable. You all bloody rock.

7) Act I – The Protomen

Arguably one of the biggest fan-made musical productions, Act I is a whole album, a rock opera, of Megaman. If that hasn’t gotten your eardrums tingling in anticipation, then I don’t know what will. The Protomen made this as an homage to Megaman, even going so far as to opening it up by explaining the story, of a robot man who goes off to fight against Dr. Wily for all of humanity.

Really, Act I is a breath of fresh air. It’s genuinely exciting to listen to and there’s even a retro-inspired version of it too. You can check out their official website to support their music, or you can probably find versions of this over at YouTube. Seriously, have a listen and enjoy it. It’s some good music.

Also, a quick shout out to all other video game inspired musicians, as there are loads of you out there.

6) The Stanley Parable

Would you believe it, the Stanley Parable Principle, you know that game with the really fun narrator, was originally a mod. If you’ve never seen or played Stanley Parable, it was made originally as a way for a guy who wanted to use it as a technical showcase. Something you could do with choice within games. It wasn’t needlessly complex, but what’s even better is where it started – As a Half Life 2 mod.

Originally, the game was a lot more bleak than the one that we got on the Steam release. The voice acting was still as crisp, as that made the game a lot more appealing. It’s fair to say that guy who was just having some fun with the Source Engine didn’t make his mod, we may still not have a game like it. Narrative-filled stories are fantastic; especially when they give us unbound heaps of creativity and freedom to bend the rules.

5) Technic Launcher – Minecraft

The modding community for Minecraft is well of talent that has yet to run dry. From craftsmen who work tirelessly to create masterpieces of art using within the limited medium of metre-wide blocks of material, to creators of textures and skin-packs that alter the look and feel of the whole world, to the more technically minded who masterfully create things like true-movement of water, less block-ish lighting, and toolkits that allow creators the power to create things seemingly beyond imagination.

Featuring components that take regular Minecraft and add layer upon layer of technology that can lead you to make machines that can take you to space, propel you into new, interconnected worlds, and add Pokemon… no joke. These are the modpacks for people who want to expand their ability to create massively, and create enormous moving and functional machines. They add new creatures, new materials, new possibilities, and new worlds, and can even open up the power to travel to the moon.

4) The Zelda Project

This is a fan-made live-action film in the making. It’s been ongoing for some time, but if you do nothing else today, I implore you to check out The Zelda Project before you do anything else. I have seen some epic fan-made movies before, but in terms of the quality of the costumes, the production value and everything that goes into making a film, this has been quite something to behold.

Above is their teaser. The costumes are made by cosplayers, but the emphasis was to make sure the people doing the acting were professional actors. Music, fanart, the whole shebang is within this, making it arguably the ultimate Legend of Zelda fan-made anything in existence. I personally think it’s impressive, given the fact that the franchise has been around since 1986.

Check out thezeldaproject.net and perhaps show them some support over on their social media channels?

3) Yu-Gi-Oh Abridged

I met Little Kuriboh, nice dude.

Back in the halcyon days of early YouTube when there was creativity, somebody decided to make an animated series about a children’s card game that mocked an animated series about a children’s card game. Yu-Gi-Oh Abridged pointed a finger at the anime and said “hah! That’s dumb but I love it”, the affectionate parody highlighted some of the most ridiculous habits of anime, especially that particular genre specifically designed to sell toys to kids.

Crazy hair, crazy voices, a basic failure to understand the rules of the game they’re selling while at the same time wildly overstating its importance in the world, it’s all pure comedy, and that’s just the original series, once it’s abridged it simultaneously becomes more preposterous and entirely reasonable, while skipping a lot of the unnecessary exposition and flashbacks. Through the lens of observational comedy Little Kuriboh created one of the best anime parodies, and spawned a genre of abridged series, Naruto, Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon (which was actually somehow longer than the series it was abridging).

2) Red vs. Blue – Halo

Originally animated purely in the Halo multiplayer game, the series that once depicted a pair of opposing teams on opposite sides of a box canyon trying every day to steal the flags from one another’s bases, plotting to kill one another, and never actually doing either… ever. It’s not their fault, they keep getting sidetracked by various plots and schemes of political and military bodies that vastly outclass them in every way, and foiling their nefarious plots. It’s easy to forget that you hate each other… and then suddenly remembering and falling into squabbling.

It combines elements of sitcom, science fiction, video game parody, space opera, and super serious narrative with comedic cast. It… shouldn’t work, and yet it works incredibly well, and the series weaves and convolutes and entangles, without losing comedic value. Not only did the series eventually become the animation studio Rooster Teeth, but it’s not also available in full on Netflix, and while it now differs wildly from Halo in it’s intricate backstory and history, it’s still well worth a watch.

1) Sonic Mania

Let’s be frank for a moment – Sonic was looking rough. Oh sure, occasionally they’ll come out with a belter of a game, like Sonic Generations, but they had moments where there were more misses than there were hits. It didn’t stop people loving everything about Sonic, the game where the emphasis was on being cool, fast and most importantly – A great side-scrolling platforming adventure with a difference.

So who would have predicted that the way to really make this work is to let the fans get involved? The fans pulled through big time with this one. They made a game that the Sonic company themselves said “Yes, this is everything we wanted from a Sonic game”. The Sonic company got involved, helping the fans bring this amazing game to life. If you’re looking for a great Sonic game to rival the games of old, it’s this one – This is a real homage to the classics, made by the fans, for the fans.


Honourable Mentions

Fans are the reasons why pop culture, why our geek culture has taken off as much as it has. We have fan run conventions, fan run video games, services and more. The next two examples are super famous in their niches (though, in all honesty, one would have been better not being famous).

My Immortal – Harry Potter Fanfiction

Image source, KnowYourMeme

Here is a mystery that will die with the internet. Is My Immortal a parody of all poorly written slash-heavy fanfiction, or is it one of the best/worst examples?

As it stands the most likely possibility is that the one person in the world who claims to be author XXXbloodyrists666XXX, Rose Christo, is telling the truth, and that it is indeed a satirical take on the world of fanfiction and the Harry Potter fandom in general, but the claim is unfalsifiable and yet to be definitively proven. Rose’s claim came about ten years after the first appearance of My Immortal back in 2006, but came shortly before some questionable behaviour on her part, so let us keep the mystery alive for now.

The character of the author is defensive and confrontational, and perhaps a more important character than self-inserted Marysue Ebony, which lends a certain combatative nature to any and all attempts to read the story, which itself bucks and fights the reader as if defying your efforts to keep reading. The content is too erratic, too disjointed, too cliched to be real, and yet the addition of the author as a character who directly addresses the reader makes it seem almost plausible that such a person might exist, might be this bad at writing, and might be too obliviouly self-involved to realise their own short-comings.

Pathfinder

In a similar vein to Sonic Mania, Pathfinder was made by fans of the IP who wanted to hold it to a higher standard, in this case Dungeons & Dragons. Former publishers of Dungeon and Dragon magazines, Paizo’s modified and extrapolated version of 3.5 edition D&D became the chief rival of of the original for quite some time, and D&D’s controversial 4th edition only cemented Pathfinder’s place among the upper echelons of tabletop roleplay, becoming a top seller over the industry giant for many years.

Pepsi to WotC’s Coke, Pathfinder published in 2009, amending flaws they saw in 3.5 and adopting a more open license policy to counter 4th edition’s restrictions, Pathfinder seized a fan base that was feeling a little alienated and estranged from the radically different new version. They capitalised with a vast array of expansions and companion books that added material for players and DMs alike, and opened a large amount of the property for free use online, all of which has helped keep Pathfinder the key competitor it is today.


Put down that cutter board, it’s time to put an end to the hard work by the fans. They’ve done enough now, they can go home… Like… Guys you’re not even officially part of this. Go. Shoo. Ahem, now that we’ve gotten rid of the talented bunch, it’s time for you guys to have to put up with us, the not-so-talented duo of Timlah and Joel! Do I hear cheering? No? Okay. Well, over to you, the reader, to choose what we should cover next week:

Another week, another fun list. Thank you so much to everyone who votes, who reads, who agrees and disagrees with us. We have a lot of fun writing these lists – but not as much fun as the satisfaction from putting up a great product, like the above fans. But now it’s over to you – Did we choose the right fan products, or did we forget the best? Share your thoughts in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.

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