Until recently, games seldom received updates following their release, and if they did, a player would have to buy an entirely new copy to get access to the additional content included within it. Alternatively, they’d have to go out of their way to buy a special expansion pack that would then involve swapping discs part way through.
Today, however, that is no longer the case. Players are treated to a torrent of top-up content that can be downloaded in just a matter of seconds, with new vehicles, skins, weapons, maps, missions, and more being pumped out regularly.
But more doesn’t always mean better. Of course, some updates from recent years have been massive hits with players, but some of the best upgrades came many years before modern DLCs.
So, let’s take a look back at history’s best gaming updates and upgrades.
Roller Coaster Tycoon Expansions
Back in March 1999, Chris Sawyer released RollerCoaster Tycoon, a theme park management simulated game that he had coded entirely by himself using inspiration from a long trip he took across the USA visiting different parks.
It became an instant hit, building on the success of his previous title Transport Tycoon. Despite the wealth of positive reviews from critics and players, Chris had plenty more ideas for how to improve on his new labor of love.
He did this with two expansion packs named Added Attractions and Loopy Landscapes. These required the original game to be installed to be able to run but unlocked a wealth of additional rides, attractions, and landscaping tools.
The updates were so popular that Chris incorporated them into RollerCoaster Tycoon 2, a game that still has a very loyal following today, 21 years after its release.
Blackjack is a game that most people are familiar with. Its exact history is a little hazy as it appears to have developed independently in many countries over several centuries. But the game we know today evolved in Las Vegas, where casino owners took the original European “21” and added unique side bets that paid out when particular card combinations appeared.
One of these as known as “blackjack,” which rewarded players whenever they landed a black jack card in their hand. This particular side bet has long gone, but it did give today’s game its name.
Not only that, but the spirit of side bets lives on in modern blackjack, as online casinos have also embraced this tradition. Today, the 21+3 side bet is a popular choice among players because it combines two of the most popular card games together.
It does this by allowing players to wager that they can make a three-card poker hand with their first two cards and one of the dealer’s. This adds a new dynamic to playing blackjack, creating fresh opportunities to experiment with different strategies.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, or CS: GO for short, is a multiplayer first-person shooter that was released in 2012 at a time when video game business models were evolving. For the first six years of its life, the game was sold in stores and online, with players paying a fee to gain access to the whole game before being transitioned to a free-to-play title in late 2018.
Eleven years on, CS: GO continues to be one of the most popular video games on the market and has seen a lot of success in the esports scene.
However, a decade-long lifespan was not Valve’s original plan, and it was an update to the game shortly after its release that helped it to transition from an above-average shooting title to a smash hit.
This update, known as “Arms Deal,” allowed players to buy cosmetic upgrades to their character and weapons, similar to other games at the time. But Valve went further, providing tools for players to create their own skins, maps, and game modes that could then be sold on the open market.
This saw interest in the game explode and saw a huge volume of trades before the secondary market had to be withdrawn. Even without it, CS: GO’s popularity remains high.