My undergraduate thesis was long, kinda boring, and involved dead imperialists; two students at McMaster University have created a Half-Life 2 mod called Half-Life Havoc for theirs, and attached a little paper on the history of video game physics.
Half-Life Havoc (HLH) is a lesson in video game physics created in Half-Life 2 using the included level editing tools. Taking inspiration from games like Garry's mod and Portal, HLH aims to create an environment where players can take some time to appreciate the complex physics simulations that are present in modern games. HLH is made up of a series of rooms, each of which has a puzzle or game that illustrates a feature of Half-Life 2's physics engine. Commentary nodes spread throughout the level teach the player about what is going on in each of the games and gives insight into video game physics.
In addition to the mod, you can find their essay entitled "Playing Dead: Physics in Pop Games".