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Weird, niche mods make PC gaming great, and these ones prove it

 George Washington performs on stage in a mod for Guitar Hero World Tour.
George Washington performs on stage in a mod for Guitar Hero World Tour.

Mods are the lifeblood of PC gaming. Consoles can keep their pomp and highfalutin talk of "convenience," whatever that is, I'm busy turning The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion into a six-way gang war, vaporising myself in the prologue of Fallout 4, and turning Skyrim into a boundless playground of fetishes so hyper-specific they'd give the Borgias pause. I mean, I'm not doing that last one, actually. Don't put on the website that I'm doing that last one.

Thing is, though, that some mods are so specific, so mind-bogglingly niche, that you can't really justify building an entire piece just to cover them. It means you end up with a long list of weird and wonderful mods that you'd like to write about but can't.

Well fie to that, I say. On the walls of the PC Gamer offices hangs a bronze commandment: When life gives you a backlog of several relatively small articles you want to write, turn them into a slightly longer roundup. It's very heavy and may be damaging the building. Regardless, I'm taking the advice to heart. So here's a few of my favourite weird, wonderful, hyper-specific mods that I never got a chance to write about.

Dark Souls 2: Australia edition

Dark Souls 2 with the camera inverted so that the entire game is upside down.
Dark Souls 2 with the camera inverted so that the entire game is upside down.

(Image credit: HalfGrownHollow / FromSoft)

As Soulsborne games go, I think I had the easiest time of all with Dark Souls 2. It's got some tough fights (and don't get me wrong, I'm a stalwart DS2 defender), but it's the game I had least trouble breezing through with my weird, cloth-y, hex-throwing guy.

Well, time to amend that. And where others may trifle with enemy stats and AI, modder Half Grown Hollow cut to the quick by simply turning Drangleic upside down. Everything is harder in Australia, so problem solved. Dark Souls 2 is now more challenging than its successor and predecessor games and all we've done is turned the camera on its head. Good luck figuring that one out, bucko.

Kim Jong-un: Guitar Hero

Kim Jong-un sings into a mic in a modded version of Guitar Hero World Tour.
Kim Jong-un sings into a mic in a modded version of Guitar Hero World Tour.

(Image credit: WorseTYou / Activision)

Meet WorseTYou, a modder with bright eyes, a full heart, and one overriding mission: To let you play Guitar Hero World Tour as everyone who ever happened. At least, I assume that's their mission, owing to the fact their Nexus user files page includes 119 mods at time of writing that let you play as anyone from "Someone's Dad," to Barney Calhoun.

But enough about that. The real meat here is the dizzying number of current and historical world leaders the modder has crammed into the game. Want to play as Abe Lincoln? Teddy Roosevelt? Um, Joseph Stalin? Everyone knows Kim Jong-un has a song in his heart, now he can finally let it out.

Is it in good taste? No. But is it necessary? Also no. Yet I'm glad I live in the same world anyway. Let every mad dream find fulfilment. Let every delegate to the 13th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party learn to shred.

Shaved and blemish-free corpses

A totally hair-free draugr in Skyrim.
A totally hair-free draugr in Skyrim.

(Image credit: 1Nye / Bethesda)

"Just be happy that this extremely niche mod exists for your extremely niche problem," reads 1Nye's description of the No Draugr Hair (or Beards) mod for Skyrim, a mod which removes Draugr hair (and beards) from Skyrim.

What problem would that be? Draugr hair, of course. The scourge of our times. The word for a fear of corpses is necrophobia. For fear of hair? Trichophobia. Is this Skyrim's first and only mod aimed at players who suffer from trichonecrophobia? Sure, man, that works. Failing that, 1Nye offers the explanation that you could consider it an immersion mod, if you're into that: "can also be considered immersive if you think hair would still be intact on 500 year-old Nords," says the creator.

Of the nine comments the mod has earned in its lifespan, just one is from someone saying they thought they were the only person who was "VERY BOTHERED" by whatever this problem is. Imagine what an amazing day it was for that person when this popped up in their feed. There's feeling seen and then there's whatever that is.

Nintendo don't read this. Everyone else… hello

Yoshi presents an armoury of wares in a mod for Resident Evil 4.
Yoshi presents an armoury of wares in a mod for Resident Evil 4.

(Image credit: SupremeLeader777 / Capcom)

Okay, I think we're far enough into the article now that the Nintendo legal team won't read this far. SupremeLeader777 spent 2023 turning almost every character in Resident Evil 4 into almost every character from Mario. There's Krauser Bowser, Luigi Sera, Yoshi the Merchant (pun name in development), and a new title screen 450% more effectively haunting than the original.

I think what I love most about this is I cannot fathom a single reason anyone would ever seek it out, let alone create it, and yet here it is, stubbornly existing—even expanding—because someone, somewhere, had a weird urge and the means to fulfil it. This is what modding's about, baby. It's about infesting Mario with parasites.