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Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Mod of the Year awards!

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For the last twenty years, ModDB has been one of the premier locations for modders to upload their content, and engage with a community hungry for new ways to experience their favourite games. Throughout that time, ModDB has seen some mega-successes, sleeper hits, total conversions and HD mods emerge, and all have had their shot and chance at placing in the prestigious Mod of the Year Awards alongside legends of the past to become the legends of tomorrow.

Ever since 2002, the awards have been an incredible way to emphasise the importance of engaging as a community. Players, creators, old and new gamers alike all share in the expression of what their favourite picks from the community are from across the years. New mods that arrive with a splash place alongside old mods chugging away tirelessly year after year; but at the heart of it all, at the heart of ModDB itself, is always the modders who are making the dream happen.

When I started ModDB in 2002, I never anticipated the community would reach the scale it has, and have inspired entire generations of players and game design. The Mod of the Year Awards are a favorite time of ours, an opportunity to pause and reflect, celebrate mods and people behind the projects. It's a great honor to be reaching our 20th year standing on the shoulders of giants, and we thank everyone who's contributed to the community over that time. Looking forward to the next 20 years of creation in games!

Scott Reismanis, Founder of ModDB.com

20 years of the "Golden Spanner"

Now we've completed a little textual retrospective of our own experiences with the awards over the years, here's a little something to help you look back even further - every Mod of the Year logo from 2002 to 2021, so you can see yourself how just as the logo shifted and evolved over time, so too did ModDB and our incredible community!

2002 MOTY

2002 marked the first Mod of the Year awards ceremony,
kicking off the tradition now integral to the sites

2003 MOTY

In the early days of MOTY, the community was polled via forum threads on the site to discuss
their favourite mods, with the site editors at the time producing results from the feedback

2004 MOTY

2004 was the first year the modern system of mod profile voting
booths was introduced for automating community interaction

2005 MOTY

2005's awards were hugely influenced by the release of new tools for games like Half-Life 2, with the immediately explosively popular Garry's Mod taking the competition

moty 2006 logo 1

2006 was the first year Editor's Choice was used to draw attention to other mods that
may - or may not - have placed in the award ceremony, but definitely deserved a special mention

2007 MOTY

2007 was the year the current revision of the site, V4, was shipped to the public,
and began a significant rebranding for all of ModDB and DBolical on the whole

moty 2008 trophy

2008's sheer number of sponsors gave winners a new set of prizes
to chase besides the honour of placing in the top 10

moty 2009 logo

2009 experimented with a set of articles reviewing the
modding activity on the site month by month for the year

2010 MOTY

In 2010, the Hall of Fame was introduced as an archive
of the top placement mods from each year's annual ceremony

2011 MOTY
2011 introduced an overhaul of the promotional widgets
to provide more ways for mod creators to reach out and rally their communities

2012 MOTY
Whilst not as commonly used these days, the official mascot
for ModDB was introduced this year and used for this year's emblem

2013 MOTY
From 2013 onwards, the MOTY profile and layout begins
to standardise for future years

2014 MOTY

For a short time, DBolical's expansion into mobile gaming promotion
saw awards just prior and for a little after 2014 include an App of the Year segment

2015 MOTY

Though the Metroid-like symbol here was the first time the wrench was not
the primary motif, it did not persist in later editions of the logo

2016 MOTY2

2016 marked the first year the wrench was supplanted
by the now-dominant cog motif in the annual logo

2017 MOTY

By 2017, the annual ceremony was streamlined to be only IndieDB and ModDB inclusive once again.
This awards ceremony was sponsored by mod.io, with 2018 being the company's debut year

moty 2018

2018 was the first year in which I personally took part, and by this year, the style
and layout of Mod of the Year awards was established for years to come

2019 MOTY

In 2019, mod.io was in full-swing and making strides in delivering
competent modding solutions to indie and larger development studios.

2020 MOTY

2020 was a rough year for everyone, but Core's sponsorship of the awards opened
up even more opportunities for mods and indie games to get a chance in the spotlight

2021 moty

2021 marks the momentous 20th anniversary of the Mod of the Year awards

Editors take - what Mod of the Year means to me

Since 2016, I've been using ModDB to download mods and engage with the modding community. Brought up with older games, I grew fascinated with modding and the modding landscape. Since 2018, I've been using ModDB to promote my own project, Raising the Bar: Redux, and taken part in every award ceremony since then. In 2018, we placed at 5th in the Player's Choice for Best Upcoming Mods; in 2019, we were noted as an honourable mention in the same category; and in 2020, having finally released the first edition of our mod (and having made a number of overhaul patches that year, too), we placed at 10th in the Player's Choice for Mod of the Year. This success, year in and year out, encouraged myself and my team to aim higher and higher; for whilst placing at all was a reason for joy, we knew we could do even better. I know many other modders using the site, whether they've placed already or hope to have a shot at it each year, feel much the same way.

The awards opened many doors for myself and others on my team. Having a great track record of active engagement with events on the site was a big reason for why I was fortunate enough to land this role at DBolical, helping promote the work of other modders and deliver opportunities to users on ModDB as gratitude for the support I received in the years prior. As for other members on my team, active participation with modding and placement in the awards helped in contract negotiations, job interviews, and more, to open up new possibilities and allow everyone to achieve more highly than ever before. Mod of the Year has pushed us to persevere regardless of the challenges ahead in development, knowing what we're capable of when we're at our best.

Next up - 20 years of winners

From the very beginning the now iconic spanner/wrench appeared, representing the hard-working, resilient attitude of modders. From 2016 onwards, the cog motif also became consistent and relevant, supplanting the wrench and representing the many cogs of the machine that is ModDB working together towards a collective achievement. Mod of the Year will continue - its legacy proves the staying power of the event - and we're just as excited for 2021's winners as were for 2002's. After the Top 100 mods are announced and the second stage of voting begins, we'll be back with a second article celebrating the past twenty years of modding history with a look at every 1st place winner in the Player's Choice - Mod of the Year.

INtense! Staff
INtense! - - 4,102 comments

So which years awards logo do you like the most? 2012 is pretty iconic for me, but also love 2009, 2010, 2015 and 2021

Reply Good karma+6 votes
Kralich/David Author
Kralich/David - - 836 comments

My favourites are probably 2018, 2020, and 2021 - I really like the "shield" motif!

Reply Good karma+5 votes
Halloween4 - - 768 comments

Nice news thread, & congratulations on 20 years of this fantastic site & for all the hard work you guys put into making it so.

P.S: Perhaps we could have a poll set up for the sites users to vote for their favorite MOTY logo from over the years, what do you think ?

Reply Good karma Bad karma+5 votes
NiiRubra - - 474 comments

Same, I think the shield motif gives it an iconic look and makes it pop out.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
Tabajara77 - - 315 comments

2009 and 2010 really shows the true look of Moddb!

Reply Good karma Bad karma+4 votes
INtense! Staff
INtense! - - 4,102 comments

Both done by the same designer, they are super good

Reply Good karma+2 votes
neophus - - 590 comments

As graphic designer I like the logo for 2012 with the character, the 2014 one is clean and good, the 2017, 2020 and 2021 looks more complex I like it too ! good job

Reply Good karma Bad karma+4 votes
Sph!nx - - 722 comments

Wow, we're getting old!!

Congrats and gratitude to INtense! Thanks for the past decades of hard work. Been a blast so far.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+4 votes
Tleno - - 1,074 comments

2011 logo and mod page is quite a cute artifact of early 10s zeitgeist when indies were new and the simpler pixelart styles were popular.

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INtense! Staff
INtense! - - 4,102 comments

Very true, the logos reflect a little what was trending in each year

Reply Good karma+3 votes
Hirluin_the_Fair - - 82 comments

2009 badge looks really good

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SweetRamona - - 5,149 comments

I like the 2015 logo! 😺

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
Halloween4 - - 768 comments

I think I'm right in remembering that some years back they had a competition on MODDB to see who could design the best MOTY logo, perhaps it would be fun to open that up again for next years competition.

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INtense! Staff
INtense! - - 4,102 comments

We did that in

2015: Moddb.com
2016: Moddb.com
2018: Moddb.com

Was fun!

Reply Good karma+3 votes
NiiRubra - - 474 comments

Thank you for keeping this platform around for 20 years, it has been not only a great source of fun but also of opportunity. It is no exaggeration to say that this is one of my favorite places to visit online, every time I come here, I'm simply overwhelmed by the sheer amount of creativity and ambition, that resides within the hundreds of thousands of projects you may find here, and within the minds of their developers.

Moddb and Indiedb are nesting grounds for ideas, maybe they don't always come to fruition, we all face our own challenges, especially in these arduous times, but I have always loved how this platform has given people a place to showcase their dreams, unbound by the constraints of what they can achieve, even the projects that don't cross the finish line are still worth looking at, because they are an expression of someone's imagination. So here's to Moddb, Indiedb, its community and staff, and everyone adjacent to it. Thank you for being such a valuable part of my life.

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INtense! Staff
INtense! - - 4,102 comments

Means a huge amount to all of us - thanks for sharing your story, it's honestly super motivating for another 20 years, love this community and the creators!

Reply Good karma+3 votes
Halloween4 - - 768 comments

I kind of like the 2004 MOTY logo as it sort of has this classy Olympic look about it.

Let the games begin lol.

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DyNaM1k_Official - - 217 comments

I really appreciate the insane amount of love you guys put into what you do here. Used to vote every year. That hasn't changed. The only thing that did is the fact that people can now vote for the mods that I work on too. Big thanks to the team for keeping up God's work.

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Kralich/David Author
Kralich/David - - 836 comments

Thanks for your support! People like you are what make the site the place it is :)

Reply Good karma+3 votes
theredmenace_ - - 259 comments

Thank you for hosting the website for all of these years. Truly, thank you.

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Daburubareru - - 738 comments

I like all the MOTY design, the 2007 and 2000s era was the most unique!

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
Alex626 - - 642 comments

Guys, your work with this platform is awesome! ModDB is like a second home to me after all these years of modding. Thank you, and please keep up the great work you're doing!

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
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