“Cult Classics.” That’s a phrase that gets bandied about when talking about movies and video games. They are basically games that may not have been widely successful at launch, but maintained a dedicated following amongst their fans. We’ve picked out our eight favorites, but you can head into the forums to tell us your picks!
Back before Tim Schafer took to crowdfunding projects, he headed up development of Psychonauts, a delightful little platformer that starred a little guy named Raz. After running away from home, he sneaks into a summer camp for physic kids and spends the game entering the minds of his fellow campers to help foil a sinister plot at the camp. Despite selling poorly, Psychonauts is still spoken of fondly today, and Double Fine is currently working on a sequel.
Developed by the aptly-named Team Ico, Ico tells the tale of a young boy who was born with horns. His village considers this a bad omen, so they lock him away in an old fortress. While wandering the fortress, he finds Yorda, the daughter of the castle’s queen. The queen wants to use Yorda to make her live longer, so Ico is trying to help her escape. The gameplay has you solves puzzles and explore the castle. It was remastered in 2011.
Some cult classics are just underappreciated, but Earthbound is just weird. This follow-up to Mother has you investigating a meteor crash. As you might imagine, you end up battling aliens. Of course, along the way, you’ll have to battle hippes, piles of slime, rabid dogs, and even a happy cult, of all things. There’s plenty of weird stuff here, for sure.
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines is the game that embodied White Wolf’s tabletop RPG. While its gameplay might leave a bit to be desired, its writing was outstanding. It had some great missions, and it let you create a wide variety of characters. The game had plenty of technical issues, and they were exacerbated by the fact that Troika shut down just a few months after the game released. Luckily for the game’s fans, there have been a ton of fan patches that have addressed many of the problems.
Conker’s Bad Fur Day
If you only played the first Conker game, you might not understand the things you hear about Conker’s Bad Fur Day. Instead of a G-rated platformer, Bad Fur Day was a M-rated romp through a world filled with potty humor, swearing, and even a fight against a boss named The Mighty Poo. If you haven’t played it, you can find it in the Rare Replay on Xbox One.
Killer 7 was a Suda51-written game that followed the exploits of the Killer7, an elite group of assassins. It had a complicated plot that involves a conspiracy about the role of Japan in US politics. It’s an on-rails game with an unconventional control scheme and an arthouse-style aesthetic. It also had a great soundtrack.
If you were a fan of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, then you really need to check out Deadly Premonition. The game tells the story of a schizophrenic FBI agent named Francis York Morgan, who is trying to find the identity of a murderer known as the Raincoat Killer. You’d explore the open world on foot or using vehicles, and you’ll have to fight off enemies both human and supernatural using melee weapons and firearms. The further you get into the game, the more you realize that things are not exactly what they seem to be.
Platinum Games is probably best known for Bayonetta, but back in 2010 it released a third-person shooter titled Vanquish. It set itself apart thanks to its Augmented Reaction Suit that let you use boosters to move around quickly, but overusing it can push the suit into cooldown, slowing you considerably. It was a cover shooter that forced players to stay mobile, because all cover was destructible, and enemy fire comes from all directions. There’s also a rail shooter in the end credits. If you never played it, you’re in luck, because Sega has announced that it will release Vanquish on PC May 25.