Top 10 Cult Classics

Every now and then a game will come along that doesn’t immediately attract attention but becomes more popular with time. At some point this kind of game can have such a devoted following that it reaches the level of cult classic. This list features ten games that fall into that category. They may have not been huge commercial successes but there are plenty of fans out there who still love these games.

10) Psychonauts


Tim Schafer has shown he has a knack for humor with titles like Full Throttle and Grim Fandango; Psychonauts was no exception. The platformer followed Raz and his buddies as they traversed people’s minds and discovered all kinds of crazy secrets. The game boasted enjoyable platforming mechanics in addition to the funny and charming story. Despite all this, the game suffered from disappointing sales and plans for a sequel were abandoned. But there are still fans out there who loved the game and appreciated its fun and creative premise.

9) Indigo Prophecy

Indigo Prophecy

Heavy Rain got a lot of attention in 2010, but David Cage and the rest of the team at Quantic Dream had already tried their hand at that brand of cinematic storytelling prior to last year. Indigo Prophecy was a daring thriller that delved into paranormal themes while maintaining a deeply intriguing storyline. Gameplay amounted to simple movements and the occasional quick-time event, but the game’s bridge between video game and film was the main draw. Heavy Rain would build and improve upon that formula, but Indigo Prophecy was a great game in its own right.

8.) Conker’s Bad Fur Day

Conker's Bad Fur Day

Conker’s Bad Fur Day was a well designed action-platformer, but that’s not what most remember about this game. When you’ve got a title that features a hungover squirrel, swearing, and an opera-singing poo it’s kind of hard not to think of that instead. Seeing an M-rated game on the N64 certainly pushed people away, so it wasn’t very successful, but there are those out there who enjoyed its explicit content and dark humor.

7) Katamari Damacy

Katamari Damacy

Doo doo doo doo… KATAMARI DAMACYYYY! Anyone who has ever played Katamari Damacy will instantly remember the catchy theme song. This quirky game had you roll a ball around in an effort to collect all kinds of objects, from small pencils to entire houses. The addictive gameplay went perfectly with the game’s incredibly bizarre concepts and design, resulting in a creative and joyful game that was in a category of its own. Kenji Inafune may hate the Japanese video game industry, but games like this just make you love the fact that Japan exists.

6) Beyond Good & Evil

Beyond Good & Evil

Beyond Good & Evil featured everything you’d find in any great action-adventure title: solid combat mechanics, clever puzzles, and fun stealth sections. On top of that, the game’s photography mechanic added a whole other element. Lastly, the game included a fantastic story with endearing characters. All of these positive qualities could not prevent the game from being a commercial failure though. A sequel has been announced, but the first game came out all the way back in 2003 so the wait has been tough. Those who missed out on the game the first time around are in luck, though, as the game will be getting an HD update later this year.

5) Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem

Eternal Darkness

There are plenty of survival horror games out there but not a whole lot of them are successful in actually scaring the player and/or just plain creeping them out. Eternal Darkness was one of those few exceptions that offered an unnerving experience unlike most games. It showcased this best with the sanity meter, which would decease under certain conditions. When low, the player’s grip on reality would begin to falter, eventually leading to things like hallucinations or even moments when the game would indicate your game was being erased (I can’t think of anything scarier). Unfortunately, Eternal Darkness had trouble finding a large audience on the Gamecube, but kudos to Nintendo for taking a risk in publishing the game and providing those who played it with a satisfying survival horror experience.


4) System Shock 2

System Shock 2

2007’s BioShock, the spiritual successor to System Shock 2, was both a critical and commercial success. The game it drew inspiration from was not; System Shock 2 had trouble standing in the wake of classic PC first-person shooters such as DOOM and Half-Life. But despite a lack of strong sales, the game was praised for being ahead of its time, and rightfully so. System Shock 2 masterfully combined the FPS and horror genres to create a plot-driven game dripping with atmosphere and creative ideas. It also introduced SHODAN, an artificial intelligence that will go down as one of the greatest video game antagonists of all time.

3) Bionic Commando

Bionic Commando

A 2D platformer in which the player can’t jump — blasphemy, right? But who needs to jump when you’ve got a bionic arm that can cling to ceilings? Once you got used to swinging instead of jumping, Bionic Commando revealed itself as one of the best games on the NES. This was platforming at its finest, and it also proved to be incredibly challenging. Oh, and the ending includes Hitler’s head exploding. What other game would do that?

2) Ico


Ico is proof that minimalism in game design can go a long way. The game features simple, 3D platforming puzzles in which you must help the Queen’s daughter escape. The story is told with minimal dialogue and the audio uses a very limited amount of sound effects and music. Despite this the game manages to speak volumes with the use of so little, resulting in one of the most beautiful and artistic games ever created. The game didn’t garner a lot of attention in 2001, but Fumito Ueda’s next project, Shadow of the Colossus, would go on to be even more successful. Ico laid that groundwork and more players will get to discover the game when it is re-released later this year.

1) EarthBound


Do you remember playing Super Smash Bros., seeing the character Ness, and wondering what game he was from? Well the answer to that is EarthBound, an SNES RPG. EarthBound was a truly special game that just couldn’t find the right audience back in 1995. What separated this game was its incredibly unique take on the traditional RPG formula. Weapons included yo-yos and bats, enemies consisted of new-age retro hippies, and encounters were not random. Even to this day it is hard to find an RPG that was so unusual yet so amazing at the same time. The game now has a large and thriving fan base. In fact, a fan translation of the Japan-only Mother 3 (or EarthBound 2) was released just a few years ago. Now that’s a devoted following.


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Author: Anthony LaBella View all posts by
My first experience playing a video game blew me away. The fact that Super Metroid was that game certainly helped. So I like to think Samus put me on the path to video games. Well, I guess my parents buying the SNES had a little something to do with it. Ever since then my passion for video games has grown. When I found that I could put words together into a coherent sentence, videogame journalism was a natural interest. Now I spend a large majority of my time either playing video games or writing about them, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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