Here's 3 romhacks for Simon's Quest from 1998-2002:
Notice that the first and third are spoofs that add in a bunch of things from other NES games and changes much of the text to be mostly edgy or unfunny one-liners. These kinds of hacks were VERY common back in the day, especially with RPGs like Final Fantasy. The second is a total conversion with a new story, new sprites, and new level design. It's not even labeled as a Castlevania game anymore.
But then, compare the most recent hacks from 2016-2018:
These hacks are taken much more seriously in approach. They don't do anything wholly original: rather they're focused on taking the game that's already there, and improving it in an objectively superior way. The goal of these hacks is to rewrite history. To be so seamless that they make you believe this is what the game was all along. To combine with each other to make what will eventually be the "definitive" version of the game that everyone plays by default.
Another example is Mega Man 1. Sorted by date, take a look at how the hacks for this game have changed since 2001. We've gone from people remaking the game into brand new MM games with new graphics to just...adding the Rockman title screen and changing the R to an M. Something as simple as a title screen edit is getting more and more popular nowadays. 15 years ago, such a hack would've been considered so minor and so pointless it probably would've been rejected by whoever hosted the hack.
So, I have to wonder how this change in hacking philosophy came about. It kinda fascinates me. What was the catalyst? Was it Sonic 3 Complete? Simon's Quest: Redacted? I'm not trying to suggest that new or old hacks are better, I'm just genuinely curious looking at how people's tastes have changed.