Ever since the excellent-for-its-time Aliens TC mod for the original Doom, I've been in love with the idea of the first-person shooter total conversion. The idea is that a bunch of passionate, talented people get together (online, at least) and turn an existing commercial game into an entirely different experience, often one that's themed with a popular license. In practice, that's not much different than building a new retail game on an existing engine, but TCs always have this homebrewed, grassroots feel you can really get behind.
The problem is, a lot of total conversion-style projects die on the vine before you ever get to play them. The mod makers get busy with their real lives, or a corporate interest steps in with some fun cease-and-desist action, and then you never hear about the project again.
So now I'm doubly excited about Black Mesa, a fan remake of the original Half-Life running on the Source Engine. Not only does it look impressive as hell, but hey, it's actually going to come out! Black Mesa's been in production for a good four years now, so I'd almost given up on it--but the team just put out this new trailer, which, well, speaks for itself.
How does this trailer strike you? Personally, I couldn't be more excited about Black Mesa. The game looks damn near as good as I'd expect a commercial remake of Half-Life to look; nevermind that it's entirely fan-made and it's coming out for free. The official site is getting hammered right now, but check it out for more info on all the new features--like cooperative play and a focus on Half-Life 2 characters--they're rolling back into the original game. Maybe I'm leaning too much on fond remembrance here, but I prefer the isolated, solitary feel of the first Half-Life to the more character-driven atmosphere in the sequel. This seems like the best possible way to relive that experience, a decade later. Let's hope the final product is as impressive as this video.