Top 10 level editors
User-generated content has graduated in recent years from a finicky niche pastime to an alluring mainstream marketing tool for publishers to slap on the back of a plastic box. But even before the likes of LittleBigPlanet, Trials Evolution and its ilk opened the floodgates of abstract expression to the layman, communities had embraced track editors, modding kits and other creation tools of mass ingenuity with giddy enthusiasm. This collection of games isn’t a list of the most comprehensive creation kits available, but a compendium of pioneering titles and the passionate communities that helped shaped them.
There aren’t exactly a wealth of features crammed inside Bangai-o’s DS editing tools. However, the way in which the content is shared across devices is eccentric enough to warrant acknowledgement. Inspired by clumsy datacassettes used with old computers, user-created levels are then encoded into a sound that can played into other Nintendo DS consoles to share creations. Not only does it emit a noise resembling a broken 56k modem connecting but it also made the whole process of content sharing so pig-headedly impractical.
9. Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
It’s hard to believe that a Macho Man Randy Savage mod was exactly how Bethesda anticipated the community embracing the Creation Kit for its most recent RPG epic. Fans didn’t just expand the breathtaking vistas of Skyrim, or populate it with bygone characters from previous installments, but instead things went all a bit silly. Endless cheese rolling, My Little Pony dragons and Dr. Zoidberg mudcrabs represent just a few of hundreds of incredibly puerile, deranged and brilliant mods currently doing the rounds on the internet. Who needs dour fantasy when you can have the ever-indifferent Karl Pilkington accompanying your hero on a quest? Yeah, that happened…
8. Far Cry 2
Implementing a map editor into a shooter was a bit old hat in the PC marketplace by the time Far Cry 2 came along, but that wasn’t the case with consoles. Yes, it’s simple to use, and yes, it pretty much made every in-game object available. But what it also did was enable players to craft anything like some sort of malaria-stricken Minecraft. And we mean anything: we’ve seen Eiffel Towers, rollercoasters and grandiose cathedrals populate online servers, all meticulously crafted from the ground up. There’s little doubt that it raised the bar for content creation across the board… we just wish someone had noticed.