My first was Demo World: The Legend Continues. I never finished it though, ragequitting somewhere in the second World.
The first hack I actually beat would have to be SMW2+3: The Essence Star. That hack left a bigger impression on me than DW: TLC could though. The difficulty was a lot more reasonable, and I was impressed by how thoroughly Super Mario World had been hacked. It showed me how much SMW hacking had advanced since I originally stopped hacking in the summer of 2007 and, ultimately, set me on a path to start hacking again in December of 2010. Thanks for pretty much bringing me back here, Golden Yoshi. Now, could you please make Essence Star compatible with newer emulators and hardware?
-------------------- Quintesson Judge: Silence, or you will be held in contempt of this court!
Hot Rod: I have nothing but contempt for this court!
- Transformers the Movie (1986)
I was pretty sure it was this one, Kaos Islands, but that one's from 2013...? There must have been an update submitted to it then, because I definitely played my first hack in 2009.
The IPS that comes in the ZIP file I have of this hack dates back to 2008 so yeah.
As for me, I thought the first hack I ever played was Brutal Mario but sorting the folder by creation date gives me that Alternate Mario World came prior to it, with Brutal Mario being the second. I played Alternate very long ago so that's plausible I guess.
I stumbled upon episode 23 of raocow's SMWCP playthrough, because i was looking up ways to get to the island above donut plains and through that i discovered a bunch of fake hacked SMW stuff with secret levels. Needless to say when i found out they were hacks i instantly started looking up hacks, found SMWcentral, and started playing SMWCP.
The first hack I played was Hammer Brother Demo 3, but I actually got into this community because I remember watching old videos years ago of SMW hacks and I was like "what is this is a sprite animation" and it was super cool.
I now remember what the first videos I saw were. I believe they were EvilGuy019's SMW Custom Boss Rush series. I thought the whole thing was really cool, and then I found loads of other videos of hacks, and just a few months ago I finally started making them myself.
The first SMW hack I played was Brutal Mario by carol, around mid-October 2015. While watching a gameplay video of the hack on YouTube, I was browsing through the comments and one of them had a pre-patched ROM link.
The first romhack I played was Mario's Amazing Adventure (not Revitalized) by superwiidude. It was a kinda fun romhack for its time. Although now that I look back at it, it had some glaring issues, I look past it mainly because the hack is kind of a guilty pleasure of mine.
I haven't played the Revitalized version yet, and every time I want to, I keep forgetting to.
I once played a pokemon cart called team rocket edition, my brother bought a copy from china and it was the shit. too bad it ends super early on. id play rom hacks from here but id ont want to download anything harmful.
Can't remember the first one off the top of my head since it was quite obscure from a site I don't even remember, but the first relevant one I played was The Second Reality Project in around July 2008. A classic. It's a full-fledged hack and the difficulty is spot-on, meaning it gets progressively harder towards the end. I played a few other famous ones later on, like Mario's Keytastrophe and Super Mario TKO. Those two blew my mind with the custom music, graphics and whatnot they had since I was fresh to the hacking scene and had no idea to what extent the games could be modified. Inspired me to learn a lot of my own things... which I ironically never finished.
The Second Reality Project 2 was my first one. It was such a mind-blowing experience at the time, to think that people could manipulate SMW and add all these graphics and stuff to make something "different". I was like 13 at the time.