A cult is most commonly defined as a religious group that preaches unorthodox believes, granted a lesser state of credibility than "real" religions and are often derided for their extreme practices and viewpoints. Ostensibly, the difference between a cult and religion is popularity. So there, that's a nice inflammatory lead into the main article.
It's about cults in videogames. Enjoy!
The Mythic Dawn (Oblivion)
Considering the fact the Daedra are demons, several of whom take active pleasure from the misery and suffering of mortals, pretty much any of the Daedric cults found in Oblivion are certifiably insane. However, the followers of Oblivion's principal baddie, Mehrunes Dagon, take home the loony prize.
The ultimate goal of the Mythic Dawn is to allow an army of slavering, malformed, vicious Daedra to invade Tamriel, and it's fairly safe to assume the region's inhabitants will all be put to uniform slaughter. Members of the cult believe that they will be reborn in Camoran's Paradise, which of course is actually a Hellish pit of misery where cultists are tortured in the name of larks and japes.
For wanting to trade the lives of an entire world for a bit of power, and for being incredibly stupid at the same time, the Mythic Dawn definitely deserves a placement.
The Saturnine (BioShock)
To be considered crazy by an army of drug-crazed lunatics, one must be incredibly, impressively demented. That alone is condemnation enough for The Saturnine, a nature-worshipping cult first introduced in BioShock. The other citizens of Rapture simultaneously fear and revile this "aging bunch of fratboys" - and considering that Splicers are, by and large, all insane and hideous, it takes a real special quality to be seen as the worst of that bad lot.
The Saturnine are named after the Roman God of agriculture, Saturn. They like to wear masks made of wood and little twig antlers, and apparently sacrifice pumpkins to the gods they serve, which appear to be appropriated from other aspects of Roman mythology. They also have a bad habit of mixing up Plasmids and human blood to create a substance they call "Ambrosia."
The Covenant (Halo)
Like all good religions, The Covenant masks bigotry and intolerance under the guise of prophecy and divine law. Basically a bunch of racists, this theocratic military force from the Halo universe comprises a number of alien species united under the belief that humans are an affront to the gods and must be eradicated.
Slightly more sinister than holding a bake sale to save the church roof.
The Covenant's doctrine stems from an incorrect interpretation of something said by total strangers thousands of years ago, and yet from this bad translation comes an entire army of zealots who either believe everything they're told with blind faith, or have been conscripted, indoctrinated and essentially forced to swallow what they're being force-fed.
Unitology (Dead Space)
Dead Space's Unitology, otherwise known as The Church of Silliness, was formed after an alien artifact was discovered on Earth. As humans are so often wont to do, a significant number of people ascribed religious significance to this "Black Marker" because they didn't understand it.
Unitologists believe that humans weren't born on Earth, a belief started by a scientist (wrongly) guessing what the inscriptions on the Black Marker meant. Those indoctrinated into the church are often required to donate vast sums of money if they want to raise their status, and of course there are plenty of ritual sacrifices and mass suicides to keep things fun.
It's still slightly better than the Xenu shit, to be fair.
The Treeminders (Fallout 3)
When one thinks videogame cults, one of the first places to look is Fallout 3 and The Children of Atom, a church in Megaton that worships a dormant atomic bomb. That's pretty crazy, but it would be disingenuous to pick on these cultists as being any more mad than the rest of Megaton's residents, all of whom are seemingly fine with building their homes around a big metal box of nuclear devastation.
Instead, I'd like to talk about the Treeminders, a bunch of ignorant hippy jerks who live in the far-flung forest home of Oasis. They worship Harold, Fallout's longest-suffering mutant, who is being swallowed by a tree that started growing from his head.
As if dressing up like bad Legend of Zelda cosplayers wasn't enough, the Treeminders call themselves horrendously soppy names like Leaf Mother and Branchtender. They also deliberately ignore everything Harold tells them, pretending he's talking in allegories and metaphors when he's just trying to speak in plain English. Bunch of idiots.
The Order (Silent Hill)
The Order of Silent Hill truly dances along the lunatic fringe. These degenerate hicks love nothing more than worshipping malformed monstrosities as incarnations of God, taking drugs and setting little girls on fire. Many of them are driven insane by the cult's own cruel and unusual methods, and its special little orphanage has been responsible for the creation of at least one serial killer.
The Order's goals are your standard mental nonsense - bring about the apocalypse, ascend to paradise, yadda yadda yadda. It's their methods that are truly mad, however, ranging from evil to turbo evil, and culminating with the immolation of a teenage girl, who was then unnaturally kept alive beyond the human body's natural capacity for trauma, with her mother's full blessing, just so she could host some sort of deity.
In fact, a huge amount of The Order's doctrine revolves around Gods being inserted into fourteen-year-old girls. Something tells me the freedom of religion decree isn't going to let that one fly.
Catholicism (Dante's Inferno)
Dante's Inferno introduced us to one really bizarre little cult that seems to have a (fortunately loose) basis in reality. It's called the Roman Catholic Church, and you really ought to get a load of this stuff. Apparently, there's this thing called "Hell" full of monsters and fire and brimstone, and people get sent there to suffer for all eternity just for being a slut or wanting to eat too many pies. Not only that, but BABIES get sent to Hell if they died before a man in a black dress splashes some water on its head.
According to Dante's Inferno, this demented sect waged some sort of war in the Middle East to impose its belief on others, where soldiers were essentially allowed to rape and pillage to their heart's content. It sounds incredible, but somehow Visceral Games made it all sound borderline believable.
Thank God it's just in videogames!
Join or die
That's all the examples we had when this originally posted, but can you think of any newer cults you'd want to avoid? And no, Scientology doesn't count.
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