Tarot cards have been around for centuries. In their early history, tarot decks were intended for card games like the Italian Tarrochini. However, it wasn't until the 18th century that French occultists began imbuing meaning to the cards that would result in the art of cartomancy, otherwise known as psychic card reading.
Yet, despite tarot's occultist history, the intersection between tarot and gaming has never gone away. If you need an example, look at a video game. Whether tarot serves as a storytelling device, gaming mechanic, or cosmetic novelty, several video games feature tarot decks and their iconic arcana!
10/10 Dragon Age: Inquisition
Regarding tarot, an artistic medium focused on fate and destiny, no genre fits better than fantasy. That's why its inclusion in the open-world RPG Dragon Age: Inquisition is a fantastic fit! This title focuses on your character, the Inquisitor, as they settle the civil unrest in the continent of Thedas and resolve a supernatural phenomenon unleashing demons worldwide.
Like other RPGs, DA: Inquisition represents several of its characters as tarot cards. As you develop relationships with each character, their tarot card will change in your codex. For instance, some characters have different cards for when you form a romance with them, when you pursue a companion quest with them, or when they die.
9/10 The Binding Of Isaac
The Binding Of Isaac, a loose interpretation of the biblical tale, follows Isaac, a young boy whose mother plans to sacrifice him to God. After learning of his mother's intentions, Isaac flees into his home's monster-filled basement and fights to survive.
This indie gem resembles roguelike games with randomly generated dungeons, such as the early Legend Of Zelda titles. However, one unique mechanic of this game is tarot cards that boost Isaac's skills to help him take down enemies. A little sacrilegious, but we're cool with it!
8/10 Street Fighter 5
A fighting game may not be the first place you would look for tarot cards (unless that game is Persona 4 Arena). However, it turns out that even Capcom's illustrious Street Fighter series includes a deck of magical, fortune-telling arcana.
In Street Fighter 5, one of Rose's special skills utilizes a deck of tarot cards to give her special abilities or weaken opponents. However, the cards in this deck feature Street Fighter favorites posing as famous symbols, including Elena as The Lovers, Ryu as The World, and Chun-li as Justice.
7/10 Puzzle Bobble 4
Puzzle Bobble 4 is a retro title that boasts plenty of content for a 90s-era game. For instance, the game's expansive single-player story mode tasks your character with collecting lost tarot cards for Cronoa, Governess Of The Future.
After completing the single-player story campaign, Puzzle Bobble 4 unlocks a tarot reader mode featuring Cronoa. It's a fun addition that will keep you returning for your next psychic reading. Plus, the artwork and music in this mode shine with a heartfelt, nostalgic charm.
6/10 Marvel's Midnight Suns
It makes sense that Marvel's Midnight Suns includes tarot cards. After all, the game takes place in a witch's abbey. However, it's fun to see that the game includes the traditional tarot arcana with a superheroic twist.
As you traverse the expansive abbey grounds, you'll come across tarot cards with artwork featuring famous Marvel icons. For instance, Nova is The Star, T'Challa is The Emperor, and Deadpool is The Fool. It's one of the game's many treasures to keep you exploring night after night in between missions!
5/10 Cyberpunk 2077
Did you know that there are tarot references in Cyberpunk 2077? Yes, even in the realm of futuristic sci-fi, there is a place for the mysticism of the arcana. Furthermore, the arcana play a central role in the game's storytelling.
In short, the arcana becomes part of the story when the player-controlled protagonist's mind becomes entangled with the digital consciousness of Keanu Reeve's character, Johnny Silverhand. From that moment on, you'll find murals dedicated to the tarot throughout Night City and the Badlands. Later on, the game's various endings feature exclusive arcana representing each.
4/10 The Quarry
As you would suspect, tarot cards often play a significant role in games dealing with occult or supernatural themes. One recent example of the arcanas' role in horror is The Quarry, a narrative adventure game at a summer camp with a dark history of werewolf encounters.
Throughout the game, you'll meet with the title's narrator, a psychic who resides in a dark room with a foreboding crow and a tarot deck. If you find tarot cards while exploring the campgrounds, the psychic can reveal possibilities that may occur in future chapters. Still, it will be up to you to avoid or steer toward these pivotal events.
3/10 Cult Of The Lamb
Cult Of The Lamb proves that you can't spell occult without cult. This title follows a lamb who forms a cult honoring the evil deity that saved their life. Throughout the game, you'll control the lamb and its followers through roguelike combat to expand the cult's influence.
As you would expect of a macabre title like this, tarot cards play a significant role in the game's combat. Each arcana grants unique bonuses to the lamb. But even more interesting is that these tarot cards do not resemble traditional decks but stem from lore unique to the game. For instance, you'll find cards titled Rabbit's Foot, Ambrosia, and The Arachnid. Chilling!
2/10 River City Girls 2
If you're a fan of high school teens kicking Yakuza ass, River City Girls 2 is for you. This beat-em-up game follows high schoolers Kyoko and Misako, who must ward off Yakuza goons after a scuffle with the local Yakuza boss's daughter.
If you're wondering how this relates to tarot, don't worry. We're getting there. So, River City has several collectible items, including cats, selfies, blueprints, and tarot cards. Unfortunately, from what we can tell, these cards don't affect gameplay. Still, it's cool to see tarot pop up in such an unlikely genre!
1/10 Persona 5 Royal
No list about the tarot is complete without the Persona series. It's one of the longest-running game series to feature tarot cards. Furthermore, the arcana play a primary role in the games' stories and mechanics rather than a secondary thematic one. So, placing Persona 5: Royal, the latest chapter, at the top of our list was a no-brainer.
For those less familiar with the famous JRPGs, Personas are alter egos that reside in one's heart. Most people can only wield one Persona based on an arcana. However, the protagonist of each title, who holds the Fool arcana, can wield many. Therefore, the protagonist must bond with characters connected to each arcana in everyday life to strengthen their skills. This personal touch sets the Persona series apart from its JRPG peers.
Source: Read Full Article