There's something morbidly fascinating about cults. The idea that someone can so fully believe something or someone, to the point where they give up their previous life entirely to commit to it, is baffling to me. Still, it is a topic that gets my mind racing. Couldn't other, more common things be considered a cult? What about love? One definition of cult describes it as “a misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular person or thing.” Maybe gaming is a cult? Gasp! No matter what we think about cults, the fact remains that they are an interesting facet of human culture. Let's look back at the famous video game cults.
Los Illuminados – Resident Evil 4
What better place to start our list of cults than with Resident Evil 4? Los Illuminados translates from Spanish to “The Englightened.” This was a group of people convinced that the Las Plagas parasite was holy. They believed that they had to give their bodies to the parasites, and only then would they become “clean” and given the chance to really live. This cult believed in human sacrifice, and Ada Wong almost fell victim to them.
The Order – Silent Hill
Not surprisingly, horror games are a great vessel for cults in video games. Silent Hill had a well-known cult of their own, The Order. It's made its mark on most every entry in the Silent Hill franchise as the main enemy. The Order believes that humans are inherently flawed, creatures of sin, filth, and greed. Only when the “chosen people” give themselves over to The Order, can they become pure. They believe in giving up material possessions and base their religion on the concepts of chaos and order rather than good and evil.
The Children of Atom/Tree Minders – Fallout 3
This title in our list actually contained two different cults, one of which spilled over into Fallout 4. Let's start first with the one only in Fallout 3, the Tree Minders. This cult only existed in Oasis and worshiped a mutant named Harold. Harold became part human and part tree after a plant began growing from his head. He loathes his existence and wishes to die, but the Tree Minders keep him alive, thinking he's merely speaking in riddles. They make for a small part of Fallout 3, but one that will stick with you for its irony long after you encounter them.
Fallout's other cult is probably more well-known, as it is The Children of Atom. In Fallout 3, The Children of Atom are mostly based in Megaton, where they worship in front of a non-detonated atom bomb. While there is a questline related to The Children of Atom in Fallout 3, the one devoted to them in Fallout 4 feels much more involved. If you want to delve into this religious cult that believes radiation, “the Glow,” is a gift from their god Atom (as in the atom, a basic unit of chemical elements) in Fallout 4, you'll find your wish in The Glowing Sea quest.
Cult of Jack – We Happy Few
If you've heard of We Happy Few, you're probably aware that the game essentially revolves around cultists called “Wellies” who live in Wellington Wells. These people take drugs in order to ignore the realities of a harsh environment. As far as they're concerned, they live in a world full of color, happiness, and all kinds of wonderful things. If you look even deeper into We Happy Few, you'll discover the Cult of Jack. As if the game wasn't already fill of cult logic, here's a group of people who worship “Uncle Jack.” He is essentially the Wellington Wells leader, appearing on television and the radio constantly. He tells the people to continue taking their drugs, joy, and brainwashes them to believe that not taking it and becoming a “downer” is a threat to their happiness. The Cult of Jack worships this figurehead and become enamored with very sight of him.
Project at Eden's Gate – Far Cry 5
Coming to a close in our list is the game that inspired it all. The best selling point for me is the fact that Far Cry 5 revolves around a cult. They call themselves the Project at Eden's Gate, and they follow the enigmatic Joseph Seed and his siblings. Project at Eden's Gate uses fear to brainwash their believers and to convince others not to oppose them. They are highly armed and annihilate nearby farms, hold hostages, and even destroy cemeteries and their graves. Essentially, they're not a group of people you want to mess with unless you can handle yourself. Many compare Project at Eden's Gate to the real life Heaven's Gate, which makes it all the more chilling.
Which video game cults have you come into contact with? Is there one that I left out that is even more memorable to you? Let me know in the comments below!