Critical Success, Commercial Flop

Cult hits and the people who keep them alive.

Critical Success, Commercial Flop

"It is the game you meant to play but didn't until it became hard to find and fell off the shelves, another single wailing the bargain bin blues: Grim Fandango. The crime noir, jazzy, art deco graphic adventure came from a hazy era when LucasArts' catalogue was more substantial than a long list of Star Wars titles, and the ever familiar shooters of today were only beginning to get really popular. The adventure game genre was in its death throes, and Grim Fandango was its last horseman."

Critical Success, Commercial Flop

"'Sega's focus on the hardcore player made them a failure in the general marketplace ... so most people see the console as a complete flop. I suppose that means it depends on how you view the console's place in the genealogy of gaming to determine its position in the grand scheme of multimedia. I won't go into this any further; I feel like I'll be talking politics, attempting to defend something that doesn't really need to be defended. The Dreamcast can just 'be' for now, and I'll be OK with it.'"

Critical Success, Commercial Flop

"Exactly how badly [Beyond Good & Evil] performed commercially is not widely known. For a company who made a game centered on a journalist searching for the truth, Ubisoft didn't make it easy for game journalists to get accurate sales numbers. Even six years after its release, no reliable sales figures are available. Michel Ancel was right when he discussed the game's theme of digging for the truth in an interview with GameSpy. 'Whether you are on one side or another,' he said, 'it's very hard to get real information.'"

Critical Success, Commercial Flop

"'When Julian [Gollop] went to show the game at MicroProse UK he had a good reaction. However they wanted the game to be more ambitious. They said they wanted a "Big Game" like Civilization and also one which people could relate to in some way, again like Civilization.'"

"Instead they got X-Com."

Critical Success, Commercial Flop

"Sales of the game Darwinia went on to rescue Introversion from financial ruin. ... But the graveyard of the videogame industry is littered with the corpses of starry-eyed developers who weren't as lucky. Impressing critics, building up a loyal cult following and staying true to your artistic vision are sadly often the signs of a failed company in an industry where licensed properties and repetitive sequels still dominate. So, why do people continue to make these cult games if they know there are greener pastures out there?"