The Best Cult Games

the_great_cessation

New member
Nov 29, 2011
233
0
0
The majority of my favorite titles would be considered "cult classics": Beyond Good and Evil, Shadow of the Colossus, Psychonauts, Jet Force Gemini and the Oddworld series being chief among them. So, I obviously recommend all of those as HD editions are ether available or the original is widely available through digital distribution.

With that said, I will recommend two "current gen" titles I suspect fit this label. Firstly, I whole heartedly recommend L.A. Noire. Although released by Rockstar, I'd consider the niche setting and obtuse gameplay systems it works with to classify it as a cult hit. This game has phenomenal atmosphere, a beautiful soundtrack and well written and engaging character interactions. While this game may not be for anyone, I adore this game and recommend it to anyone looking for a cinematic mystery/adventure game.

Another game I love that seems to have a very devisive reaction among gamers is Brutal Legend. I adore everything about this game (and yes, that includes the RTS lite gameplay). If you are a fan of creative world building, funny writing, heavy metal and cheesy pulp fantasy, you will likely love this game.
 

Johnny Novgorod

Bebop Man
Legacy
Apr 10, 2020
16,956
1,029
118
Country
Argentina
I think cult classics always belong in previous gens; it's hard to tell in the current gen what's a classic and what's part of a cult and what's both. There's also this weird relationship between commercial failures and cult classics which isn't very stable. Like how Okami and God Hand were commercial failures yet both are pretty widespread and universally acclaimed these days. So are they or are they not cult classics? Same deal with Psychonauts and Beyond Good & Evil.
 

Ipsen

New member
Jul 8, 2008
484
0
0
Come to think upon it, many JRPG's unanimously just fall into this category, for some reason. A large number of RPG fans, let alone whatever the hell mainstream gamers think, count JRPG's as crap, or at best niche, unless Final Fantasy is mentioned.

But whatevs. Adding the entire Etrian Odyssey series, EOU+I-IV to this list. They always seem to review pretty well, but their general presentation and difficulty easily keeps players out.
 

TheIceQueen

New member
Sep 15, 2013
420
0
0
The Wykydtron said:
This gen? MGS Rising Revengeance. It's fucking amazing, Platinum Games are the best developers of hack and slash games by far.

The plot is insane and that only adds to the enjoyment, there's a nice amount of references to other games (like all other games done by them they have a great sense of humour,) character development and interactions are good and the combat speaks for itself.

Special mention to the boss fights. Platinum Games strikes again.

Other gen i'm surprising nobody with Persona 4, best game ever, amazing story blah blah blah so on and so forth :D
I'm not sure if Persona 4 counts as a cult game. It was a pretty popular hit to start with and it's following has only just kept getting bigger. It's gotten quite a bit of mainstream success. Whereas a cult game like Psychonauts got such critical acclaim, yet failed so hard in sales that a sequel is out of the question, that's a cult game, despite having seen some success with the advent of digital distribution. Persona 3 and Persona 4, at this point, are pretty much licenses to keep printing money and will make the Persona series profitable for the rest of its lifetime if Atlus keeps the quality up.
 

StriderShinryu

New member
Dec 8, 2009
4,987
0
0
Johnny Novgorod said:
I think cult classics always belong in previous gens; it's hard to tell in the current gen what's a classic and what's part of a cult and what's both. There's also this weird relationship between commercial failures and cult classics which isn't very stable. Like how Okami and God Hand were commercial failures yet both are pretty widespread and universally acclaimed these days. So are they or are they not cult classics? Same deal with Psychonauts and Beyond Good & Evil.
That's sort of my thought as well. In this very topic, for example, we have an outpouring of support for the Persona and connected series of games. Now, I'm not saying those are bad games or anything but those games are largely lauded these days and P4 is continuously called out as being possibly the one reason to get a PS Vita. That doesn't sound like much of a cult title to me. Games like Psychonauts and Beyond Good and Evil feel the same to me.

I'd almost say you'd really have to go back a couple of generations to pick out true cult classics.
 

Yopaz

Sarcastic overlord
Jun 3, 2009
6,092
0
0
Ipsen said:
Come to think upon it, many JRPG's unanimously just fall into this category, for some reason. A large number of RPG fans, let alone whatever the hell mainstream gamers think, count JRPG's as crap, or at best niche, unless Final Fantasy is mentioned.

But whatevs. Adding the entire Etrian Odyssey series, EOU+I-IV to this list. They always seem to review pretty well, but their general presentation and difficulty easily keeps players out.
I'm not an expert, but I think that would be referred to as niche rather than cult games. JRPGs, despite how much dislike it gets has a target audience who likes the genre, while the games we come to regard as cult games are those who simply slip under the radar despite praise from critics and gamers alike.

I might be wrong though, but the Tales series (my favourite series actually) is usually referred to as niche while Psychonauts and Earthbound (one I forgot) are often referred to as cult.
 

KazeAizen

New member
Jul 17, 2013
1,129
0
0
Johnny Novgorod said:
I think cult classics always belong in previous gens; it's hard to tell in the current gen what's a classic and what's part of a cult and what's both. There's also this weird relationship between commercial failures and cult classics which isn't very stable. Like how Okami and God Hand were commercial failures yet both are pretty widespread and universally acclaimed these days. So are they or are they not cult classics? Same deal with Psychonauts and Beyond Good & Evil.
I know its kind of a weird topic. Like I said Remember Me got me thinking and then a friend of mine mentioned a game called Anarachy Reigns. Then Bayonetta largely came to mind. Bayonetta was moderately successful and has gotten more press lately because of Nintendo but before Nintendo stepped in it appeared to be doomed to that kind of cult area of video games. Yeah the cult classics always belong to the previous gen. but this past gen. was around long enough that it spawned quite a few it seems before it was even done. Its just one of those gray areas. Still making these threads every now again won't hurt anybody and at best can expose people to some new game they might not have played but might really enjoy.
 

josemlopes

New member
Jun 9, 2008
3,950
0
0
For a cult classic this gen I guess there is Deadly Premonition or something like EYE: Divine Cybermancy, those two are very clearly cult classics even though both came out not long ago.

Of all the ones that can be called that I really liked Conker's Bad Fur Day (although I only played the Xbox remake), Timesplitters 1/2/FP, Psychonauts, Mount&Blade, and I guess I can count the STALKER games in it too.
 

shogunblade

New member
Apr 13, 2009
1,542
0
0
FFP2 said:
For this gen I would have to say Nier. Amazing in every way. Sure it looks like a PS2 game and the gameplay can get a bit repetitive but my word the story and soundtrack are amazing. One of the very few games to make use of the videogame medium in a fourth wall sorta way.
Nier is one of those games that had something particularly unique in places, enough that I would call it a Cult Classic, but it worked and didn't work on me all the same time, so yes, I would also agree with this statement. The text adventure part was probably the most unique thing I had ever experienced, but the game is bonafide Cult classic from beginning to end.

OT: Would anybody call Catherine a cult classic? I loved the game, it's so bizarre, funny, different, and brilliant, to not acknowledge it in some capacity for being so different (flawed, certainly) would feel wrong.
 

Sandjube

New member
Feb 11, 2011
669
0
0
Cabisco said:
The best Cult game?

Would Timesplitters count? Possibly the best, most hilarious shooter of all time and yet never made quite enough money to survive. It was quite perfect, no other game could have Monkeys and Zombies throwing bricks at each other in the wild west.

It's Virus mode remains one of the best game modes I have ever played.
I plus one this post. Timesplitters 3, for me, is still pretty much my favourite shooter ever and probably always will be. So many good times making our own maps and playing virus.
 

Therumancer

Citation Needed
Nov 28, 2007
9,909
0
0
DarkhoIlow said:
Another thread where I can praise one of my favorite RPG's ever: Planescape Torment.

If you are an RPG fan you should play this game and see how it's done and how good a story can be.

Captcha: no time to explain. Isn't that quite convenient, thanks captcha.
That's far, far, far from being a cult game.

One of the big things to understand about Torment, is that it came out right when TSR/WoTC was selling out 2E for 3E D&D and pretty much taking an axe to all of it's properties. Some of the atrocities, lies, and betraysls of fans from this period are epic, but one that really stands out is how they promised to "save" Planescape as it's own setting and continue to support it more or less as-is, if the property could prove that it would sell due to that game. Planescape Torment basically went "gold" in pre-orders alone being one of the most prolific AD&D titles ever released in part because of that, more than doubling the goal the company set. They decided to cut the setting anyway, ending it with the "Faction War" super adventure, which was pretty much an affront to the setting and what made it great, and reducing "Planescape" to a mere footnote, an example of a possible cosmology in the "Manual Of The Planes" re-release.

Torment makes so many "best of" lists and endures (people still play it) in part because it was so heavily released and distributed. It's one of those weird titles that seems like it should be a "cult thing" but is actually one of the more mainstream and well known RPG titles. I suspect that this is also somewhat encouraged by attempts by TSR/WoTC to claim that the game didn't sell by way of trying to weasel out of what it told fans rather clearly on the RPGA forums, albeit they didn't expect fans to actually be savvy enough to look into the market data and for there to be so many game nerds working in the game industry (at Gamestops and the like) who had their eyes directly on the data and knew how many copies were moving.

While kind of irrelevant this is also the time period where they pretty much backstabbed fans of a system called "Alternity" rather epically as well. The system was doing pretty well and had a pretty dedicated following which continues to some extent to this day. The big thing was that TSR/WoTC decided to buy out the Star Wars license and did not want to try and balance two sci-fi properties, not to mention a lot of the people assigned to Alternity wanted badly to get in on the new project, and it was apparently getting very nasty and political in the office, largely because (surprise) all the sci-fi gamers writing sci-fi RPGs were huge Star Wars fans. The result was another deceptive move where they shipped out a couple of half finished products in very limited quantities like the "Klik Clack" supplement and then said "oh well, because this didn't sell well we're now justified in closing this down". Perhaps the most insulting part of this was how at the time TSR had a big license with Blizzard entertainment having released a rather well done "Diablo" sourcebook/worldbook combo with some neat random loot generation tables and stuff from the game in it (they also did a 3E version later), but also having access to the "StarCraft" license with a much touted Alternity write up coming, when they started swinging the sell-out axe around the took this from the planned 168 page softcover (I think I have that right) to producing a weak adventure in a little box thing with a few StarCraft names plastered onto some of the gear held by pre-assigned characters (not even a character generation set up).

The point is if you've ever wondered why a lot of people hate Ryan Dancey this is why, he was their hatchetman. I could say a lot more about it, but the basic point is that "Torment" came out at that point in time, and as such was being carefully watched by fans, while the license holder actually had a vested interest in seeing it fail, or at least presenting it as a failure. That's one of the big reasons so many people were saying from the beginning there would never be a sequel, or another "Planescape" game no matter how much people wanted it, if the game hadn't been so close to release during this shake up it would have been canceled, and TSR/WoTC murdered the setting.

See, at the time of 3E there was a big movement to try and turn "Greyhawk" which had been fairly neglected, into the default setting, and focus almost entirely on that product like. Due to amazing fandoms they couldn't quite do the same thing with Forgotten Realms, and to a lesser extent Krynn, but they did try. It was argued by some (including me) that the "Threat From The Sea" event was in part intended to try and assassinate "The Forgotten Realms" so people would migrate towards "Greyhawk" or perhaps "Eberron" when that became a thing. It however did not work, which allowed them to go with "plan B" as the event provided the perfect framework to start selling books updating areas they had already covered, as opposed to fleshing out parts of The Realms that had been neglected and had outstanding promises that they would be handled.
 

the_great_cessation

New member
Nov 29, 2011
233
0
0
StriderShinryu said:
Johnny Novgorod said:
I think cult classics always belong in previous gens; it's hard to tell in the current gen what's a classic and what's part of a cult and what's both. There's also this weird relationship between commercial failures and cult classics which isn't very stable. Like how Okami and God Hand were commercial failures yet both are pretty widespread and universally acclaimed these days. So are they or are they not cult classics? Same deal with Psychonauts and Beyond Good & Evil.
That's sort of my thought as well. In this very topic, for example, we have an outpouring of support for the Persona and connected series of games. Now, I'm not saying those are bad games or anything but those games are largely lauded these days and P4 is continuously called out as being possibly the one reason to get a PS Vita. That doesn't sound like much of a cult title to me. Games like Psychonauts and Beyond Good and Evil feel the same to me.

I'd almost say you'd really have to go back a couple of generations to pick out true cult classics.
I'd say that those type of titles typify the "cult classic". They had poor financial success but have very vocal and passionate fanbases that have made sure that they don't become relics of their age. I'd say that, despite the amount of discussion they generate in online communities like The Escapist, to your average video game player they are relatively unknown. The fact that they are discussed so much is because they are cult classics and not because they have transcended the label. If you look at film, The Big Lebowski is a pretty well known "cult film". Despite being well known among anyone fairly well-versed in film, it is still relatively unknown to the average film goer. I'd say games like Psychonauts, Okami, Beyond Good and Evil, Persona and even something like Shadow of the Colossus/Ico would all easily fall into this same sort of category.
 

FFP2

New member
Dec 24, 2012
741
0
0
shogunblade said:
Nier is one of those games that had something particularly unique in places, enough that I would call it a Cult Classic, but it worked and didn't work on me all the same time, so yes, I would also agree with this statement. The text adventure part was probably the most unique thing I had ever experienced, but the game is bonafide Cult classic from beginning to end.
That ending D... never seen anything like that before.

OT: Would Asura's Wrath count?
 

busterkeatonrules

- in Glorious Black & White!
Legacy
Nov 14, 2020
1,280
0
41
Country
Norway
EyeReaper said:
Hmmmm...that's a tough one. I'm sure games like Skullgirls and Oddworld are up there, but my personal favorite cult classic game is most likely Medievil.

Now that I think about it... what exactly is the difference between "cult" and "niche"? Don't they mean pretty much the same thing? Like, if a game is critically unliked and doesn't sell well, but has a devoted and small fanbase, is it a cult game or part of a niche?


I've now said "niche" in my head so many times that it sounds weird.
If a game has a small but devoted (and vocal!) fanbase despite never quite living up to the expectations of its developers, then it's a cult game.

A niche game, on the other hand, is a game that's only intended for a relatively small demographic in the first place. A non-mainstream game, for non-mainstream people. Supertanker simulators, etc.

Yeah. The reason a NICHE game doesn't achieve mass appeal, is because it isn't SUPPOSED to!

On topic: I very, very much hope that the original Grandia doesn't qualify as a cult classic - but it probably does, and hereby gets my nomination.
[small]It's on PSN, if anyone wants to check it out.[/small]
 

Yopaz

Sarcastic overlord
Jun 3, 2009
6,092
0
0
StriderShinryu said:
That's sort of my thought as well. In this very topic, for example, we have an outpouring of support for the Persona and connected series of games. Now, I'm not saying those are bad games or anything but those games are largely lauded these days and P4 is continuously called out as being possibly the one reason to get a PS Vita. That doesn't sound like much of a cult title to me. Games like Psychonauts and Beyond Good and Evil feel the same to me.

I'd almost say you'd really have to go back a couple of generations to pick out true cult classics.
I agree with you on Persona since it's popular as far as niche games goes, but Psychonauts was a huge failure sales wise. In 7 years that game sold 400000 copies, its sales were so bad the CEO had to retire. The most success that game got was when it appeared in a Humble Bundle last year where according to Tim Schafer it sold more in a few hours than it had done since its release.
 

Moontouched-Moogle

New member
Nov 17, 2009
305
0
0
Ipsen said:
Come to think upon it, many JRPG's unanimously just fall into this category, for some reason. A large number of RPG fans, let alone whatever the hell mainstream gamers think, count JRPG's as crap, or at best niche, unless Final Fantasy is mentioned.

But whatevs. Adding the entire Etrian Odyssey series, EOU+I-IV to this list. They always seem to review pretty well, but their general presentation and difficulty easily keeps players out.
I'd say Etrian Odyssey is more of a niche series than a cult classic. The fact that it got 3 sequels and an enhanced remake of the first one shows that it's done more than well enough sales wise. The difficulty may keep many players out, but that's basically by design. It's made specifically for the type of audience that enjoys a hardcore dungeon crawl, and has done quite well with that audience.
thesupremegamer said:
Arqus_Zed said:
The Wykydtron said:
This gen? MGS Rising Revengeance. It's fucking amazing, Platinum Games are the best developers of hack and slash games by far.

The plot is insane and that only adds to the enjoyment, there's a nice amount of references to other games (like all other games done by them they have a great sense of humour,) character development and interactions are good and the combat speaks for itself.

Special mention to the boss fights. Platinum Games strikes again.

Other gen i'm surprising nobody with Persona 4, best game ever, amazing story blah blah blah so on and so forth :D
thesupremegamer said:
persona 4s one of the few jrpgs i actualy enjoy im not the biggest jrpg fan XDD
I'm pretty sure being a "cult" game means it was a game that was unappreciated at the time of its release, resulting in disappointing sales and a gaining a following after the facts.

I would call Lucifer's Call a cult game.
I would call the Digital Devil Saga installments cult games.

But Persona 4 sold over 820.000 copies on the PS2.
And an extra 600.000 on the Vita - I didn't even know Sony had sold that many Vitas to begin with.

I'm not saying it wasn't a decent game, I'm just saying that I really don't think Persona 4 qualifies as a cult game.

persona 4 did do well but it has a decent sized fanbase so i say it counts ^^
See, by that logic, the modern Call of Duty games would be cult games simply because it has a decently sized(at the very least) fan base. It doesn't work like that.

Persona 4 isn't a cult classic, because it was critically acclaimed AND sold well when it was released, certainly well enough for an enhanced Vita port.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance isn't a cult hit either, since it's part of a well-established franchise(albeit a fairly unique entry in said franchise) and sold pretty well at launch. It even has a brand new PC port now that seems to be doing well so far.

Hell, you could argue that Shin Megami Tensei: NOCTURNE(Lucifer's Call in Europe, great job on that spoilery title by that way, Ghostlight) may not be a cult game, since it received critical acclaim and was reprinted a few times over the years. I'm unsure if the reprints are more a result of high demand for the game itself, or more for people who played Persona 3 and 4 and would otherwise have missed out on NOCTURNE without it. The fact that the game had 3 different editions(the second one was the version the rest of the world got) seems to suggest it did pretty well though, at least in Japan.

As for actual cult games I liked, The World Ends With You was pretty enjoyable. Had Square Enix kept the ball rolling, it might have grown into something bigger and better. Instead, we got hilariously fragmented soundtracks and a crappy, over-priced iOS port. RIP in Peace, TWEWY.
 

Casual Shinji

Should've gone before we left.
Legacy
Apr 4, 2020
17,177
1,202
118
That's a hard one to pin down. Most cult classics have gained a lot of popularity over time, like Shadow of the Colossus, Okami, and Beyond Good and Evil.

In the age of the internet the term 'cult classic' may have already lost all meaning.

But there's one game series that I feel might still fall under this description; Pixel Junk Shooter. Not completely unkown, but hardly a game I hear people mention at all. Despite being one of the coolest little physics based side-scroling bullet hell games.