Gaming Highs #3: Unofficial Patches For Broken Video Games

Updated: Aug 10




Welcome back everyone. In the last article we investigated what mods are as a concept. Now we will continue our look into Modding at the unglamorous end, with the least flashy, least interesting but most important type of mod out there, the unofficial patch.


Some games are released ‘broken’, that is full of bugs, glitches and the dreaded CTD (Crash to Desktop.)


These games are often unplayable in that state. There are several reasons why a game may be released broken. You can watch the video below to learn what they are from someone who has first-hand experience.



And now we know...



Another reason is when small to medium sized developers attempt to create something highly ambitious and unique, but find out they have bitten off a little more than they can chew. Kudos to them for trying, though.


Sometimes these problems will be fixed by the developers themselves with official patches, but this is not always the case. When not, it will be up to the modding community to come to the rescue via unofficial patches.


An unofficial patch is essentially a collection of bug fixes intended to make the game stable and playable.


For some games the unofficial patch will be fairly minor, only fixing a few details. Others are created to allow classic older games to run on modern hardware, and may include 16:9 wide screen support and compatibility with modern versions of Windows.


Others may go a step further, incorporating the above with a whole slew of fixes and improvements. This is most common for games that were released thoroughly broken, and so needed extensive patching to get them working. For example, the unique and highly recommended Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines is pretty much unplayable without using its unofficial patch.


Likewise, unmodded S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Clear Sky is unplayable without the Sky Reclamation Project (SRP) mod, which is an unofficial patch by another name.

Thankfully these mods are free and easily obtainable. Indeed SRP is included by default into most other mods for S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky.


These unofficial patches are digital life savers. Without these, and the others like them, potentially fantastic, but fatally flawed, games would remain forever unplayable, never being able to reach their potential.


To those who create unofficial patches, we salute you. You do not always get the credit and kudos you deserve, but you are game savers, and we offer you our thanks.


In the next article we will investigate the ‘bigger brother’ of unofficial patches, Cut Content Mods. See you all there.


Are there other games you can think of that have been saved by unofficial patches? Have you created one yourself? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.



Iain is a 40+ author and gamer from England, who started his gaming journey on the Atari 2600 36 years ago. His specialities include obscure cult classics, retro games, mods and fan remakes. He hates all sports games and is allergic to on-line multi-player. Since he is British, his body is about 60% tea. He can be reached via Twitter at https://twitter.com/IainBaker17, and contacted via email at the_nomad78@outlook.com

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