Right now I am watching Pulp Fiction in an attempt to appease Lewis over at ScreenDemon. This has got me thinking about cult classics. Of course Pulp Fiction isn’t really a cult title, it received far too many award nominations to really be classed as that; it just feels like it could easily have been a cult hit.
So back to cult classics, lets look at games. Just as there are with movies and books there are certainly cult titles in games. I think it’s a little harder to identify in gaming sometimes, particularly given the way that until relatively recently I would say that the general perception was the whole industry had a cult status. Of course there’s a lot that’s changed after the last couple of console generations and I don’t think anyone could argue that the gaming industry is niche or cult any more.
The undisputed kings of cult in gaming are Team ICO. They’ve only produced two titles over the past 9 years, and both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus seem to be hugely loved by fans without really shifting a significant number of copies. Yes, it probably is a shame that those titles haven’t shifted the huge volume that titles like Call of Duty manage, but it doesn’t really diminish their value as games. In fact it probably increases it, as it makes those kinds of titles rarer and feel more special. If they became popular you’d just get a group of similar titles, making ICO’s titles feel more part of the gaming landscape instead of feeling pretty different from the majority of other titles.
As always when we discuss gaming in the modern era download titles should get a mention. Titles like flOw and Flower are certainly the cult hits of modern gaming, and they’re games that would almost certainly never be made if they were going to be released on physical media. With the freedom that digital releases give developers there’s the potential for more cult hits to emerge, although it may be hard for them to move beyond the initial niche market where most cult classics start off.
I know I’ve certainly missed out some pretty significant cult hits here, so lets hear your favourite cult titles. Do you think that we’ll see more of these kind of titles with the opportunities that digital distribution allows?