Cult video game

Cult video game

A cult video game is a video game that has maintained a dedicated cult following among gaming enthusiasts.



Generally, the definition of a cult video game is a video game that was not widely successful, but has maintained a strong and dedicated fan following nevertheless. Other cult video games may be widely successful and critically acclaimed, but may have been overshadowed by other video games in the same series or released around the same time. For example, while Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask are both critically acclaimed, the former is widely heralded as one of the best video games of all time[citation needed], while the latter is remembered for its difficulty, unconventional gameplay and deep characters[citation needed]; a cult following of minority gamers who prefer Majora's Mask over Ocarina of Time has since developed[citation needed].

The appeal of cult video games often derives from their unconventional characteristics that are not present in other games, and which do not appeal to a wider audience. For example, certain Japanese video games have developed a cult following in the West due to cultural differences and other idiosyncrasies that appeal to a minority of non-Japanese gamers[citation needed].

There are other elements which may contribute to a game's classification as "cult":


Cult video games often stray from genre conventions, and may therefore be difficult to pigeonhole or to appeal to a specific gaming demographic (e.g. first-person shooter fans, role-playing game fans, etc.)

Plot and characters

Where applicable, cult video games often contain unconventional plotlines and characters.


Since cult video games are not generally considered mainstream, they are not widely received in a positive manner. However in the media, reviewers often consider cult elements to be enriching experiences and provide positive reviews.



1979: Star Raiders[1]


1980: Defender[2]
1981: Castle Wolfenstein,[3] Wizardry[4]
1984: Boulder Dash,[5] Elite[citation needed]
1987: Phantasy Star[6]
1988: Snatcher,[7] Bionic Commando,[8] Splatterhouse
1989: Herzog Zwei,[9] River City Ransom,[10] Mother, Clash at Demonhead


1990: StarTropics
1991: Another World, Metal Storm
1992: Night Trap
1993: Gunstar Heroes,[6] Zombies Ate My Neighbors, Shadowrun, Link's Awakening, Sonic CD
1994: Mother 2 (Japanese release), Policenauts,[11] Samurai Shodown II,[6] Wild Guns, Dynamite Headdy
1995: EarthBound (North American localized release)
1996: NiGHTS into Dreams..., Dragon Force, Tetris Attack[6], Die Hard Trilogy, Killer Instinct Gold, Metal Slug
1997: Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee[6]
1998: Panzer Dragoon Saga,[6] Guilty Gear,[6] Grim Fandango
1999: Shenmue,[12] Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber,[13] R-Type Delta,[6]System Shock 2,[14]Planescape: Torment[15], Blue Stinger, Street Fighter III: Third Strike, Clock Tower II: The Struggle Within


2000: Phantasy Star Online, Grandia II, Skies of Arcadia, Chu Chu Rocket
2001: Conker's Bad Fur Day, Ico, Fatal Frame,[6]Pikmin, Luigi's Mansion, Anachronox
2002: Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem[16]
2003: Beyond Good & Evil, Gotcha Force,[17][18][19] Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean[20]
2004: Katamari Damacy
2005: Killer7, Psychonauts, Trauma Center: Under the Knife
2006: LocoRoco, God Hand, Mother 3
2007: Okami, Odin Sphere, No More Heroes
2008: Valkyria Chronicles[13]
2009: BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger
2010: Deadly Premonition,[13][21] Castlevania: Harmony of Despair, Deadliest Warrior, Deathsmiles, Infinite Space, Nier, Splatterhouse[21]

See also


  1. ^ «A cult classic on the Atari 400 & 800 computers». "Star Raiders". Phosphor Dot Fossils. Archived from the original on 2008-04-17. Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  2. ^ Craig Harris (December 19, 2002). "Defender: Lesson one on how not to remake a classic on the GBA". IGN. Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  3. ^ D'Silva, Roy. (April 4, 2007). "History of Video Games". Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  4. ^ Parish, Jeremy. (2009). "The Coming RPG Storm: The Dark Spire". Retrieved 21 November 2009. 
  5. ^ "Tour the planet: Boulder Dash - Rocks! new trailer". December 16, 2007. Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i "TOP 10 CULT CLASSICS". June 22, 2005. Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  7. ^ Tom Goldman (19 Jun 2010). "Kojima To Unveil "Massive PS3 Exclusive" at TGS 2010". The Escapist. Retrieved 2011-04-01. 
  8. ^ "Previews: Bionic Commando". March 6, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  9. ^ Ian Erickson. "Game of The Week: Herzog Zwei". GameSpy. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  10. ^ "Atlus Set To Release River City Ransom Ex". GameZone. May 14, 2003. Retrieved 2011-04-01. 
  11. ^ David Chen (2005-12-14). "Retroactive: Kojima's Productions". Retrieved 2011-04-01. 
  12. ^ Don Reisinger (November 16, 2010). "Shenmue creator wants to make a third title". Retrieved 2011-04-01. 
  13. ^ a b c Stewart Shearer (February 14, 2011). "The 19 Best Underrated Games". GamePro. Retrieved 2011-04-01. 
  14. ^ Andrew Park (October 8, 2004). "System Shock 2 Retrospective". GameSpot. Retrieved 2011-08-17. 
  15. ^ Chris Dahlen (August 23, 2005). "Planescape: Torment". The Escapist (magazine). Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  16. ^ Zachary Gasiorowski (19 August 2004). "Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes". Retrieved 2011-04-01. 
  17. ^ "Gotcha Force for GameCube reviews". GameSpot. 
  18. ^ "Gotcha Force reviews". GameFAQs. 
  19. ^ "Review: Gotcha Force". Nintendo World Report. 
  20. ^ "Top 10: Why We Still Play". IGN. 
  21. ^ a b Brandon Sheffield (December 22, 2010). "Gamasutra's Best Of 2010: Top 5 Cult Games". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2011-03-21. 

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