When a game has a modding community, that game will live forever.
That seems to be something that some developers realize, and some don't. Bethesda, you know, the guys who made the Elder Scrolls and the most recent numbered Fallout game, are some of the ones who get it.
It's been over a decade since Morrowind was released, almost 7 years since Oblivion, almost 5 years since Fallout 3, 3 years since Fallout New Vegas (which was developed by Obsidian) and almost 2 years since Skyrim. (Yes people, we've survived almost two years of bad 'arrow to the knee' jokes. Be proud.) Even after all that time the modding community for all of these games is still going strong, keeping the games fresh, new and interesting.
Yes, Bethesda makes incredibly massive, albeit kinda buggy, worlds that take hundreds of hours to explore, but even then they aren't infinite. Eventually you run out of things to do. There's only so many ways you can kill Dagoth Ur or help Azura, or fight the Enclave or Caesar's Legion (or work with them if you're a dick). There's only so many times you can delve into the same 1000+ caves and slaughter enemies and animals in droves before it becomes old hat.
With Morrowind, Bethesda released official modding tools. 11 years ago Morrowind released and there are still new mods being posted to the several very large hosting/community sites and forums around the internet. (Nexusmods is the first that comes to mind.) Ranging from re-textures, new mechanics, new areas and even total conversion mods. Hell, I think I saw one that turns the game into Half Life a while ago. Thousands of people still play a game that was launched the same year as the first Xbox.
Oblivion is the same. Mods to give it Skyrim level graphics, new quest chains bigger than some of its expansions, companions, everything you could think of.
Fallout 3 and New Vegas are definitely no exception. Fallout 3 has an incredibly amount of mods that change everything from re-balancing the combat to making the game incredibly realistic, giving you cars, romance and anything else you can want.
Or the plethora of mods for games like Dragon Age, Grand Theft Auto IV, Torchlight 2, Shadowrun Returns, Left 4 Dead, or Don't Starve. Things like Nexusmods and the Steam Workshop give these games years and years of life, even after sequels of those games release and most of the community moves on.
But the thing that sparked me along this far too long post were two mods in particular for Fallout New Vegas. Project Brazil and Fallout 1. Both are total conversion mods that are incredibly detailed and bring something completely new to the game. PB actually creates an entirely new game inside the Fallout engine. The voice acting, quests, story...everything about it is utterly fantastic, especially for a mod.
(Here's a play through of the first part by a damn fine lad that goes by the name Al Chestbreach)
(Another video by Al of the early alpha of the Fallout 1 recreation mod)
Another mod that was in development for a long time and was quite worth the wait was Black Mesa.
I don't think there's been a bigger or better mod for any game. It's not really even a mod, a team of dedicated fans recreated the entirety of Half-Life, all while improving it and bringing it on par with (and even surpassing) the current HL games.
All of the models are redone, the story is tweaked, new characters are introduced, familiar characters are finally fleshed out so they stand out from the other NPCs, an entirely new sound track was made, new voice acting; everything was finally brought to the current generation but still retained the same feel of the original game. That's something that almost never happens. It was a beautifully done game and I hope that the team behind it goes on to other projects because they're incredibly talented.
Wrap it up with another Al Chestbreach playthrough of the game.
Well, that's about all for this ramble. Guess it's time to get back to working on actual things instead of pointlessly rambling about vidya games.