15 Failed Video Games That Became Cult Classics

Yesterday's failures are today's masterpieces.

spec ops the line
2K Games

The cult phenomenon is nothing new when it comes to film, TV, comics or music. In fact, some creators even cater to the niche crowd, but for video games, the concept is fairly young for a number of reasons.

Firstly, because games are not a passive form of entertainment if something is broken, flawed or just plain confusing, players and reviewers tend to dismiss it quickly, even if it holds hidden strengths elsewhere.

Secondly, the momentum of consoles were always barrelling forward, giving less opportunity to go back and rediscover a hidden gem or overlooked winner. Imagine if you could only watch obscure 80s genre cinema by dusting off an old VHS player? Most would be put off by the hassle.

It’s true that the medium has held cult success since its inception, but to find those gems now is easier then ever in a time of virtual consoles, backwards compatibly and remasters. It has certainly benefitted this list and helped games that were initially misjudged, mis-marketed or just plain weird for the mainstream.

15. Vanquish

spec ops the line
Platinum Games

Platinum Games third console release, Shinji Mikami's slick third-person shooter Vanquish, came and went in underwhelming fashion. It didn't help that it was another grey third-person sci-fi shooter when fatigue for the genre was heavy, or that there was a general disconnect to Japanese game developers at the time. Yet, this kinetic shooter was the breath of fresh air the stagnating genre was asking for.

Placed inside the armoured suit of a DARPA soldier amidst a mech-based battle with Russia, the plot is straight nonsense but luckily the developers never let it get in the way of what truly works: the breakneck and exhilarating combat.

Power sliding, slow-motion head shots and fluid bombastic action are all at your disposal, with Platinum's game mechanics pushing the boundaries of the action genre in fresh and subversive ways - even if it fell on deaf ears.

Over the years, a loyal and outspoken following for the game gathered, with their vocal efforts resulting in a slick PC port without a frame rate stutter in sight. Whilst their hunger for a sequel will never come to fruition, at least one of last gen’s stand-out action games eventually got its due and fan-fare.

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is a freelance writer that loves ingesting TV shows, Video Games, Comics, and all walks of Movies, from schmaltzy Oscar bait to Kung-Fu cult cinema...actually, more the latter really.