I still remember my first hack I ever played. It was called ANOTHER MARIO WORLD by StiviBoy (No my username isn't inspired by his) and I didn't even know this was possible I saw screenshots and then tried to play the rar data on my bootleg system (It didn't work). Then like a year later I figgered out what a .rar data is and played the hack. It was great! The hack just changed the levels, the overworld, the title screen (with included gfx) and the credits. But I was really impressed. Good old times...
New Super Mario World 1: The 12 Magic Orbs (Yes, I'm not as old a user as most of you are )
I played it at the beginning of 2018 and I remember being surprised to be able to play super mario world but with everything totally different and I spent months trying to finish (and I used a lot of savestate because I was extremely bad).
It is hard to remember what the first ROM hack in general was, but I do know it was a SNES translation hack - I just can't remember if it was Seiken Densetsu 3 or Der Langrisser.
The first SMW hack I played was The Ninji Saga by The Kins back in 2007 and I thoroughly enjoyed it, though at the time I found it pretty hard, especially in that lab-looking space level. I would not put it down until I had beaten it. I do remember being thoroughly impressed seeing how drastic of a change to SMW it was and I thought hey, that's something I would rather do than sinking all this time aimlessly into FF6... I think I clicked an affiliates link on RHDN and ended up here.
I did leave a few remarks about it and what a time capsule this section is. I forgot I even made this comment. This hack came out in 2005, and back then I was calling this 10, and I first played it when it was 2. Wow.
Just look above you... If it's something that can be stopped, then just try to stop it!
I cannot clearly remember the first SMW hack I played it, but I definitely remember playing them on a website called Vizzed back in late 2012. Before that in the same year (probably during the late summer), I was desperately looking where to play the original SMW when I found out about it through the Wii Shop (yeah, I had a Wii that time and probably still do?). I think the website was called VSNES or something and the emulation was quite inaccurate (for example, the mosaic that happens when you enter a level was conpletely missing and the M7 bosses didn't work properly). One year later, I found out about SMW hacking and this site and was eager to learn about it. However, I couldn't do much until late 2015, as I was more interested in SMBX. Good times.
Despite this account is from 2019 (since I lost my previous account), I've been playing romhacks for many years. First romhack I can remember was Super Mario World Redrawn which was vanilla SMW but with enhanced graphics (I don't if the version I played is still in the site).
After that I remember I played the "Master Quest series" which also has a "redrawn" version and custom music (typically unsampled ports from Yoshi's Island, DKC1-2-3, SMB3)
(I played ^those hacks probably during 2010 or so, don't remember exactly the year).
It's been so long ago that I'm starting to question my early memories. Way back in the vintage year of (early?) 2007, I had stumbled upon either Rob-omb's Quest, or Luigi's Adventure (old version) as my first hack. For some reason, I don't remember too much of Rob-omb's Quest. I don't think I even beat it, because I got stuck at the world filled with SMB3 remakes lol. There was some sort of secret exit that I couldn't find, which would leave the player stuck on the SMB3 remake map. I remember laughing at the Chogibi sprite (Yoshi replacement) and getting mad at some of the pipes that would purposefully kill off the player just for laughs. It made going in any pipe really risky.
I spent more time with Luigi's Adventure. I have distinct memories of struggling through world 5, world 6, and that one world 4 castle filled with weirdo custom blocks. I think I got relatively far without savestates, because I actually didn't even know savestates were a feature for a little while lol. I probably didn't beat Luigi's Adventure without savestates, but I do remember genuinely trying and failing to beat the mushroom juggling stage with Dino-Rhinos (9-1). I also remember an airship stage filled with millions of enemies and ExAnimated fire that sometimes insta-killed you. I'm looking through Luigi's Adventure on smwdb.me, and I kinda want to play it again...
Does anybody know where the Acmlm board archives went? I remember someone there posted about Brutal Mario, which was how I discovered it. Brutal Mario was NOT the first hack I've ever played, so if I can find that old post, I'd have a better idea of when I played my first hacks.
First Hack that I ever played was a Pokemon ROM Hack called Pokemon Uranium. I will admit that I did not understand very much about it back then and so I trashed it not long after to continue with the vanilla roms...too bad I do not think you can get Uranium anymore since Nintendo sued over its creation haha ;/ oh well