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Cult video game

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Title: Cult video game  
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Subject: Video game genre, List of commercial failures in video gaming, Fandom, Video game culture, Herzog Zwei
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Cult video game

A cult video game is a video game that has maintained a dedicated cult following among gaming enthusiasts, although not meeting commercial success upon release.


  • Definition 1
  • Genres 2
  • Reception 3
  • Examples 4
    • 1970s–1980s 4.1
    • 1990s 4.2
    • 2000s 4.3
    • 2010s 4.4
  • See also 5
  • References 6


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 titles in the Legend of Zelda series, the former is widely heralded as one of the best video games of all time, while the latter is remembered for its difficulty, unconventional gameplay and deep characters; a cult following of minority gamers who prefer Majora's Mask over Ocarina of Time has since developed.

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.

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.


Graphic adventure games have seen a cult following in recent years. The Flash cartoon website Homestar Runner features a game called "Peasant's Quest",[1] a parody of the King's Quest series (particularly the first four games) with some references to The Black Cauldron and other early graphic adventure games using text parser. The website also features a parody of text-based adventures such as Zork or Hunt the Wumpus, known as Thy Dungeonman.[2] This game is part of a trilogy, the third of which features still images in a parody of early computers such as the Apple II.[3] The protagonist of the second game is described as being a "custodial knight", a reference to Roger Wilco, the janitor hero of the Space Quest series.

Telltale Games developed a few graphic adventure games for WiiWare, such as the Homestar Runner episodic series Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People and a revival of the Tales of Monkey Island series.


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[4]
1981: Castle Wolfenstein,[5] Wizardry[6]
1984: Boulder Dash[7]
1986: Fantasy Zone
1987: Maniac Mansion, Phantasy Star[8]
1988: Bionic Commando,[9] Snatcher[10]
1989: Herzog Zwei,[11] Mother,[12] River City Ransom,[13] Strider [14]


1990: The Secret of Monkey Island[15]
1991: Battletoads[16]
1993: Gunstar Heroes,[8] Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle, Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen
1994: EarthBound,[12] Marathon,[17] Policenauts,[18] Samurai Shodown II,[8]
1995: Cosmology of Kyoto,[19] Full Throttle, Panzer Dragoon
1996: Dragon Force,[20] The Neverhood,[21] Tetris Attack,[8] Toonstruck[22]
1997: Intelligent Qube,[23] Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee,[20] Shadow Warrior [8]
1998: Grim Fandango, Guilty Gear,[8] LSD,[24] Panzer Dragoon Saga,[8] Suikoden II [25]
1999: Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber,[26] Planescape: Torment,[27] R-Type Delta,[8] Shenmue,[28] System Shock 2,[29][30] The Longest Journey,[31] Valkyrie Profile, Vib-Ribbon[32]


2000: American McGee's Alice,[33] Jet Set Radio, Skies of Arcadia,[34] Sin and Punishment, Vagrant Story
2001: Conker's Bad Fur Day,[35] Fatal Frame, Ico,[8] Rez, [36] Shadow Hearts, Zone of the Enders [37]
2002: Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem,[38] Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven,[39] Ikaruga [40]
2003: Amplitude, Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean,[41] Beyond Good & Evil,[42] F-Zero GX, Kirby Air Ride, Panzer Dragoon Orta [43]
2004: Cave Story,[44] Katamari Damacy,[45] Yume Nikki,[46] Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines[47]
2005: Fahrenheit,[48] Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance,[49] Haunting Ground,[50] Killer7,[51][52] Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath,[12] Psychonauts[53][54]
2006: God Hand,[12] Ōkami,[12] Rule of Rose
2007: Folklore,[55] Odin Sphere,[56] S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl,[43]
2008: Mirror's Edge,[57][58] No More Heroes, Persona 4,[59] The World Ends with You,[60] Valkyria Chronicles[26]
2009: Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon,[61] 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors[62]


2010: Alan Wake,[63] Deadly Premonition,[26][64] Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, Nier,[65] Vanquish[55]
2011: Catherine,[55] Shadows of the Damned,[55] Xenoblade Chronicles[55]
2012: Spec Ops: The Line[66]
2013: The Stanley Parable[67]
2015: Undertale[68][69][70]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ «A cult classic on the Atari 400 & 800 computers».
  5. ^
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  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i
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  12. ^ a b c d e
  13. ^
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^
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  19. ^ David Coller (October 30, 1994), CD-ROM REVIEW : The Endless Cosmology of Kyoto, Los Angeles Times
  20. ^ a b [2]
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  26. ^ a b c
  27. ^
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  29. ^
  30. ^
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  33. ^ Watchmojo
  34. ^ [3]
  35. ^
  36. ^ [4]
  37. ^ WhatCulture
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^ Paste Magazine
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^ a b WatchMojo
  44. ^
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  48. ^
  49. ^
  50. ^ [5]
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  54. ^
  55. ^ a b c d e Entertainment Buddha
  56. ^ [6]
  57. ^
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  59. ^
  60. ^
  61. ^ [7]
  62. ^ [8]
  63. ^
  64. ^
  65. ^
  66. ^
  67. ^ [9]
  68. ^
  69. ^
  70. ^
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