View Full Version : Tarot in videogames

24-09-2010, 15:01
I'm a huge survival horror video game fan. I love games like Resident Evil and Silent Hill.

The game I started on, The House of the Dead (An arcade shooter) used the Tarot as a quick cutscene between parts. They showed the Tree of Life spread and you'd see how you progressed from one area of the spread to the next.

Tonight a friend and I were talking about Silent Hill. He showed me a website that goes over the first three games. The website goes into how the creator links characters to the major arcana cards. It was really interesting.

As well in Silent Hill there's parts where you find Tarot cards.

Anyone know of any videogames that have the tarot in it?

24-09-2010, 16:57
Age of oracles: Taras journey. Although i suspect a lot of people wouldnt realise what its about, but tara=tarot, and it goes through the major arcana, its a hidden object game, its cute and i love it, in between scenes, the mini games are played with the minor arcana :)
And it actually had some really good insight into the cards too, would be great for someone learning tarot, it brings the meaning to life, so to speak. But its not a dark game, its fun. Well, i think so.

24-09-2010, 18:13
I don't know about recent games, but I played The Fool's Errand on my DOS emulator and after many a frustrating puzzle I fell in love with the majors only deck in the game, turns out there is another game with decks I had seen elsewhere!! Who is Brad Parker, his 8-bit art is awesome!! :heart:

Did a google search for tarot in video games and found a random Japanese photo album with tarot cards from games...maybe? Guess they have a lot of game based decks in Japan. :D

24-09-2010, 21:17
There are some old threads here at the forum, try a search. I think the Persona games have turned up the most discussion. :)

25-09-2010, 01:38
The Persona series (a spinoff of the Shin Megami Tensei series) is saturated with tarot imagery, especially in the later games (Persona 3 and Persona 4). All of the enemies are linked to a major arcana. The idea behind the series is that certain individuals possess the power of "Persona"--the power to summon the other "selves" within them. In Persona 3 and 4, Personae are strengthened by interacting with other characters, who each represent one of the major arcana.

All of the Persona games are RPGs, not survival horror, but I've played all of them and they're all awesome. Persona 3 has just been re-released on PSP, and Persona 4 (for the PS2) should still be available. The very first Persona game was also updated and released on PSP, but it's more "old school" and has less of an emphasis on the tarot.

Here's the Amazon link for Persona 3 Portable:

Persona 4:

If you don't have a PSP, here is the link to Persona 3: FES, which is the original PS2 version of Persona 3 with additions like new costumes, events, and a new "Chapter" called "The Answer" which tries to tie up the plot of the main game:


I would definitely recommend buying Persona 3 Portable if you can afford it. Persona 4 is also amazing, but there's less of an emphasis on tarot motifs and more of an emphasis on psychological concepts like "the shadow", as you may have guessed, the series is also heavily influenced by Jungian psychology.

I love this series, in case you can't tell! :P

ETA: The tarot cards in the second link Sagefire provides are the ones used in Persona 3 and 4. I believe they were either a pre-order bonus or released in a special edition in Japan.

25-09-2010, 03:59
I love it when tarot pops up in a video game

Quest for Glory IV: Shadows of Darkness
The game's hero receives several (very well designed and in-depth) readings from Magda, the leader of a local gypsy tribe. It's one of the only video game appearances of tarot that uses the minor arcana extensively. The game uses the Russian Tarot of St Petersburg.

The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery
Gabriel's companion Grace receives a reading from a tourist couple visiting Germany (I forget which deck was used)

Street Fighter
Rose, a fortune teller and the mystical descendant of a gypsy tribe is one of the fighters you can choose to play in the popular Street Fighter series. She hails from Genoa, Italy and uses magical attacks in her quest to defeat the series' main antagonist M. Bison whose power is a dark mirror version of her own. In the latest installment she reads with the Radiant Rider Waite

Ogre Battle
In this popular RPG tactical strategy game you could use tarot cards to influence the outcome of various battles. Each major arcana card has a different power (The Magician blasts opponents with fire, the Lovers makes enemies fight on your side, etc).

House of the Dead Series
An on-rails horror shooter in which the major bosses are based on tarot cards - though I don't think this was ever really explained.

25-09-2010, 05:35
ETA: The tarot cards in the second link Sagefire provides are the ones used in Persona 3 and 4. I believe they were either a pre-order bonus or released in a special edition in Japan.

If I remember correctly...

They were released the the Japanese-only preorder bundle for the original P3. They're very hard to find, because they are a Japanese-exclusive and many of the people who have them in Japan are video game collectors and are not willing to break up their set to sell just the cards.

There is a second set though. I believe they released a series of collectible cards and the major arcana (+ the four kings if I remember correctly) were part of it. Of course, getting a complete arcana means getting really lucky when buying the booster packs, or buying it from someone else who was.

27-09-2010, 10:15
Baroque, on the Wii, references a lot of non-player characters to the Majors.

Of course, I learned very quickly that there's a reason it sells for $8 used and didn't get much fanfare. What an annoying game.

27-09-2010, 11:36
Baroque, on the Wii, references a lot of non-player characters to the Majors.

I'm not sure if each NPC is linked to the arcana, but each enemy definitely is (one of them being a tarot card itself, with the Sephirot on its back), and there was a majors-only deck made that features the characters from that game.

It was also originally going to be a Saga Saturn game, got released for the PS1(?), and later remade for the PS2 and the Wii. I believe they made a sequel, but I'm not sure.

I personally found the game to be intriguing because it's so surreal, but I am terrible at it and didn't get very far. :/

27-09-2010, 22:05
Although the game itself isn't tarot related at all, there's an excellent mod (user-created modification) for Sid Meier's Civilization IV that uses (with permission, I'm sure) most of Stephanie Piu-Mun Law's cards for the Shadowscapes Tarot in a 'side' game (which is rather fun) meant to take up some wait time in a multi-player game, but which can also be accessed and played (against the computer) in single-player mode. The mod, which has been carefully designed as a 'fantasy' alternative to the standard Civ game, is called Fall from Heaven, and is available free (installed though only if you have Civ IV and its expansion, Beyond the Sword) from the huge Civilization Fanatics web site (google Civilization Fanatics). It's also included in an even more detailed mod-of-a-mod called Fall Further. The latter has such depth and is so much fun that for the past year and a half it's the only way I've played Civilization. And the side game is beautifully integrated into the main Civ mod so that the results of the game have an impact (not huge, but noticeable) on the main game. I'm not much of a gamer, but if you haven't discovered Meier's Civilization in one of its incarnations, I highly recommend it! Subtle, truly strategic (no 'real-time' strategy here), enormously deep, and hugely entertaining.

08-11-2010, 03:05
I haven't followed the series, but Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, is being released by Square-Enix sometime next year. It's part of the Ogre Battle series.

Here is the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rr7CnJjrPak&feature=fvst

The game also uses game mechanics based on tarot cards: Fortune, the C.H.A.R.I.O.T (Combat History And Refined Implementation Of Tactics) system, which allows players to turn back the clock during battle, and the W.O.R.L.D (Ways Of Reordering Life’s Destiny) system, which lets you explore other branching paths in the game.

It looks like the story is heavy on political intrigue (which I like) so I might give this a go even though I hated Final Fantasy Tactics (also by Square Enix).

08-11-2010, 03:54
Fahenreit (Indigo Prophecy in the US) had a scene with tarot cards. Great game even if it goes weird later on.

08-11-2010, 04:22
I played that a couple of weeks ago!

Yeah. It has a tarot scene, and it makes you think you can choose the cards, but you can't.

It don't matter which ones you pick, they always come up the same.

And then she gets depressed.

Faolainn Storm
08-11-2010, 09:52
Several downloadable games have Tarot themes:

3 Cards to Midnight and its sequel 3 Cards to Deadtime, have very strong Tarot themes (including in the first a scene in an occult shop with a Tarot reader which includes an ad for the Tarot Connection in the background :D). The cards are quite pretty, and the meanings reasonably accurate and relevant to the storyline. The game however, not so good.

Age of Oracles: Tara's Journey as mentioned earlier in the thread, takes you on a journey through the Major Arcana. It is quite well done, with each scene representing a card, and actually being relevant to the meaning of the card.

The Tarot's Misfortune: Mystic reader is imprisoned because she is the only person who can foil the bad guy's plan :rolleyes:. Images are pretty, but no meanings and no relevance to the storyline.

And finally: Strange Cases: The Tarot Card Mystery a HUGE disappointment. The "Tarot" cards are actually playing cards :mad: and they have no use or relvance to the story. Don't bother.


03-01-2011, 13:53
I can't believe I forgot -- City of Heroes has an expansion for magic-themed characters. One of the special powers you receive is "Mystic Fortune" -- which draws a major arcana card at random for another player. That player gets bonuses depending on which card they got.

You can also get an "aura" of tarot cards spinning around you, for some reason.

03-01-2011, 16:05
I see it's already been mentioned, but Quest for Glory IV inspired me to get the Russian Tarot of St. Petersburg. The readings in-game were great foreshadowing for the main plot and showed off the cards beautifully (considering the pixel art of the time).

04-01-2011, 14:39
I'm not sure about Fable I or III, but in Fable II, one of your allies gives you a small pack of cards that run on the same concept as the Tarot, although it could more easily be construed as part of an Oracle deck.

27-01-2011, 06:42
Max Payne (the first one) I'm pretty sure was heavy on Norse mythology but had a scene with Tarot cards in them. I recall that it was in the kitchen of the mansion he busted in to.
Three cards lay on the kitchen counter. The Tower, The Devil, and Death. Max states that The Tower must be the mansion (the one he is currently in), The Devil would be the criminal/drug lord living in it, and Death would be him as he was there to kill the dude. At least I remember it to be something like that.

09-02-2011, 16:10
World of Warcraft has lots of tarot in it.

If you are an inscription person, you can make cards, and call up a fortune teller from the Darkmoon fair who will give you prizes.

Also you could collect a complete deck (which was ace-king) and get a reward in the past. They even had a fortune telling game up on the blizzard site awhile back. :D

Someone at Blizzard thinks tarot is cool. :P And knows about it.

10-04-2011, 01:13

turn based strategy, extremely pretty flash game, you can even download it, play it on android, and it is free!

As for persona, Persona 2 was WAY more about Tarot, in my opinion, but 3 and 4 are also just amazing.

Also: http://www.giantbomb.com/tarot-cards/93-1107/

10-04-2011, 01:26
anyone play this?


it actually has a divination system and and a full deck. hmm

12-04-2011, 09:59
anyone play this?


it actually has a divination system and and a full deck. hmm

Here's a video of gameplay, including a bit with the cards though they are hard to make out.

From a review:

The card system is quite elaborate in Iris. First of all, there are multiple types of cards.
There are types of cards that can be socketed in to gear to add stats.
There are types of cards that can be equipped on your character to directly add stats to your character.
There are types of cards called tarot cards. If you get a full set of these cards and use a couple items, you get a potentially very strong 2 hour buff. As long as you have the couple items needed, you can continuously give yourself the 2 hour buff.

15-04-2011, 07:52
Ok I hit the mother lode. TV Tropes has a list of appearances of tarot in many forms of media, here is what they listed under video games:

The obscure Sega Saturn game Mansion of Hidden Souls used Tarot cards as a compass, in the sense that each room would be associated with a tarot card and when you used the deck in the blank-slated main hall, the card revealed would guide you to which room you had to go next (if you remembered which room had which card associated to it, that is).

In Quest for Glory IV, you can visit a band of gypsies after you rescue one of them. The old woman will read your fortune periodically. The cards will vary depending on what point you are in the story as well as some minor tweaks based on which class you are. They added one card, the void - a pure black card that represents the Eldritch Abomination; it basically marks the end of reliable prediction and freaks the gypsy out severely that it keeps coming up.
o There were six other cards besides, each representing a piece of the Eldritch Abomination: bones, blood, breath, senses, heart, and essence. These only show up in the very last reading, when you learn where to find the spell scrolls that allow you to summon the body parts of said Abomination.

The Curse of Monkey Island has you encounter a gypsy woman who will read Guybrush's fortune five times. Each time the fortune consists of a single Death card. Guybrush asserts that the Death card is merely a representation of change, but the gypsy insists that in this case, it is not. You are going to die. Which is true, as you fake your death shortly after that. Several times, although maybe not five.
Guybrush:"I've got five Death cards. That can't be good."
o Later, you use those five Death cards to cheat at poker.
o Tarot cards are used as expository/recap devices in The Tales of Monkey Island.

Sa Ga Frontier had a whole Set of Spells based off the Tarot (Saber, Gold, Shield, Grail, Death, Fool, Magician, and Tower)

Almost every character in Magical Drop is based directly on one of the Major Arcana. Exactly how close they are to the actual card depends on the character — the Empress is nearly perfect, embodying the positive and negative maternal aspects of the card, with a Dominatrix Evil Overlord persona and a kind, nurturing, saintly one — the plot of the second game revolves around freeing her from being stuck permanently in the former persona. The Lovers, on the other hand, is a five-year-old girl who rides around on a pig — try figuring that one out. Notably, they actually corrected an instance of Did Not Do The Research between games. In Magical Drop 2, Strength was a huge, villainous, and male bruiser... which is the exact opposite of everything the card represents, so for 3, his virtuous and courageous tomboy daughter ended up taking his place. And last but not least, we have The World, who is not only Ms. Fanservice, but, ironically enough, the ribbon that strategically covers her takes away from a more accurate representation.

All of the boss monsters in the House of the Dead series excluding those in Overkill are named after Major Arcana cards. As of the fourth game in the series, only the High Priestess, Moon, and Devil have been left unused.
o The Magician, Emperor, Wheel of Fortune, and World are especially important, serving as the final bosses of the first four games. Respectively, they use fire, shapeshifting, electricity, and ice to attack the player, so in a sense, they symbolise the elements. Now all we need is a final boss that symbolizes Earth.
o Also, some of the bosses are hilariously off-kilter from their... appropriate interpretation. For instance, Temperance is the Incredible Hulk crossbred with a morbidly obese frog, the Empress is a dual-chainsaw-wielding monstrosity, and Hierophant is basically an undead Sahaguin. Others, like the Tower (big scary Hydra), Wheel of Fate ("I shall destroy everything... and resurrect everything."), Emperor (created to "destroy and hate mankind" (with that exact wording) and preserve the environment at ''all'' costs,) and Star (astrokinetic humanoid whose purpose is to test the heroes' strength) are more akin to their namesakes.

Persona 3 has this in droves. Every persona you can create belongs to one of the major arcana, and after battles you can get minor arcana cards as a bonus (Sword gives you a weapon, Cup heals you, Wand increases your EXP, and Coin, obviously, gives you money). Much of the game is dedicated to improving your proficiencies in major arcana through social interactions with humans that, through personalities and life situations, represent one of the major arcana. Persona were also originally to be summoned by cards, but the designers decided to have you summon them by shooting yourself in the head instead.
o Notably, all of your Personas get a boost from the "Social Links" you develop over the course of the game. These Social Links are each tied to a major arcana, and in a very impressive case of Doing The Research, the little stories in these links always manage to tie into the actual meaning behind the cards. Yes, even Death is used properly if you're paying attention, in both Persona 3 and Persona 4. It may not always be obvious that the stories properly reflect their arcana, but by the end you'll see it.
+ This is most jarring in Persona4's Moon arcana, who is a Rich Bitch nothing like her card's meaning at least until the illusion fades and she starts going suicidal, turning this into Fridge Brilliance when you remember that the Moon's mastery of illusions would mean any character who truly represents it would initially live with a created facade.
+ Persona 3 Portable also provides an excellent example of the Moon in the form of Shinjiro Aragaki, who comes across as cold and harsh. A good part of his Social Link is showing that that really isn't the case.
o Persona 3's major boss battles are correspond to the arcana and are arranged in order by number (until Death), and its social links correspond to an arcana-based metaphor for life, "The Fool's Journey".
+ The Fool's Journey also shows up in the protagonist's allies and enemies, as well as in the fourteen forms of the final boss.
+ Also, each of the Arcana bosses represent each tarot in the reverse position.
o Incidentally, the protagonist's associated arcana is The Fool, which is sometimes numbered zero, which can represent infinite potential, which is the protagonist's unique ability "Wild Card", as only he can use multiple personas.
o In the first three Persona games, Persona and Persona 2 (Persona 2 was split into two sub-games), the Persona are manifested through cards symbolizing them. Most of them are from one of the major arcana, but a few are from the minor arcana. They don't take the tarot motif quite as far as Persona 3, though.
o Persona 4 takes out the Minor Arcana, gives the summon via card (generally by striking it with a weapon - Souji is the only one who does it barehanded), removes Aeon (which is Judgment in another form) and replaces Universe with World, which is the exact same thing, just in a different deck. This time, however, you can have Personas from all of the Arcana - legally.

Tarot cards are used as magic spells in Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen.

Silent Hill contains this trope primarily in the third game, which also introduces a new Major Arcana card, the "Eye of Night". All of the Major Arcana, including the Eye of Night, are also used as page headers in the Book of Lost Memories.

Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia has an equippable ring for each of the Major Arcana. Some of them just increased stats, while others had special effects: The Sun and Moon rings, for example, increased most stats only during the day or night, respectively, and The World cut your MP consumption in half. The most notable one is Death (found in the Clock Tower, which is appropriately where you fight the real Death), which ramps up your stats in exchange for making Shanoa a One Hit Point Wonder.

The Four Masks in Shadow Hearts are based on four Minor Arcana of tarot, and are of the appropriate element for their suit. They're little-developed, so it's hard to say if they have the right personalities, unfortunately. As they're also evil, it features crossover with Four Is Death.
o Also, Lucia in Shadow Hearts: Covenant can utilize tarot cards as a special attack. True to tarot form, the cards have a chance of being "reversed" and applying their effects in manners that don't favor the party, so it's a gamble to use her tarots in a serious battle.

Lisa Punchinello from Max Payne was considered to be a witch. The fortune on the table at one point in the "Angel of Death" stage where you storm the manor has The Tower, The Devil, and Death. Max reads it as such: "The first card was the Tower. Maybe that was supposed to be the manor. It got easy after that. The Devil was the master of the house, and Death was me, coming for him."

Primal uses the Tarot motif in its four worlds. It never explicitly states this (except in the concept art gallery, which is laid out in the form of a deck). however, it is fairly obvious which worlds are which. Solum-Snow-Disks, Aquis-Water-Cups, Aetha-swords and knives and blades everywhere-Swords, Volca-Fire-Wands.

The online text game Achaea, Dreams of Divine Lands has a skill named Tarot which both Jesters and Occultists have. It allows them to inscribe blank cards with tarot symbols and actually use them as weapons; each card's use is based somewhat on the symbol inscribed. For example, Priestess restores health, Magician restores mana, Universe (a different translation of World) lets you move around the world quickly, Hanged Man lets you bind opponents with ropes, Hermit can return you to a room that no one is in, etc.

The puzzle game of The Fool's Errand has the Fool working his way through a series of puzzles and minigames based on various tarot cards, complete with illustrations of the deck, a corresponding story, and a card game using the tarot deck. The author has released his game for free download.

In Riviera: The Promised Land, the Tarot card item is available. Whichever card that is played is determined by the character and has some connection with it either in terms of appearance or background, so dark-clothed, bat-winged, and scythe-proficient Serene ends up playing The Devil.

While tarot cards aren't items in Yggdra Union, fan artist Akihito is working on a themed set of the Major Arcana. The set features Pamela as The Fool, Rosary as The Magician, Mistel as The High Priestess, Emelone as The Empress, Gulcasa as The Emperor, Baldus as The Hierophant, Russell and Flone as The Lovers, Durant as The Chariot, Emilia as Strength, Zilva as The Hermit, Luciana and Aegina as The Wheel of Fortune, Yggdra as Justice, Gordon as The Hanged Man, Roswell as Death, Nietzsche as Temperance, Leon as The Devil, Elena as The Tower, Kylier as The Star, Milanor as The Moon, Cruz as The Sun, Marietta as Judgement, and Nessiah as The World.
o A few cards haven't been finished yet, but those that are complete can be found here.

In the Japanese version of Xenogears, the Gears used by Elly's squad are named after the suits of the Minor Arcana. Only Sword Knight and Wand Knight kept their names in the English version, with Shield Knight changed to Aegis Knight and Cup Knight changed to Claw Knight.

In Mana Khemia, Roxis fights using tarot-like cards, both as flung projectiles, stringing them together like a whip, and by channeling their power.

The Meta-Beings from Baroque are based on each arcana with The Chariot change to The Tank and The Strength changed to The Power. Only major aracana can be encounter in main game, the minor arcana are exclusive in bonus dungeons.

Final Fantasy XI has the Cardians - magically animated soldiers used to defend Windurst, though a number of them have gone rogue. While the loyal Cardians use the standard suits from a deck of playing cards, rogue Cardians instead use the Minor Arcana suits. Also, considering that rogue Cardians may drop their namesake card when defeated, it is possible for a player to collect a full set of the Minor Arcana (though doing so is both time and inventory consuming, especially considering that the high rank cards are notorious monsters of frightening power.)
o Several of the Major Arcana cards are represented by the Taruit cards used in a sidequest in Jeuno.

The 'Magic Pack' optional minor expansion in City of Heroes includes a special power allowing players to give other players a random, long-lasting Tarot themed buff. Not all of the Major Arcana are represented, but all of them use existing characters, objects and organisations in the game to represent the cards.

Dragon Quest IV has Meena, a fortune-teller who can use a deck of Tarot cards in-battle for various effects. The only negative one, though, is The Fool, which results in a Total Party Kill.

Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean had the major arcana appear as a usable magnus. One magnus, received as the reward for completing the star map, would cycle between all 22. It makes sense seeing as how cards were the impetus for all battling in the game, anyway.

Lunar Knights has several Major Arcana cards as consumable items.

In Valkyrie Profile, a particular dungeon's major puzzle is based around the various tarot cards.

Ge.Ne.Sis, a flash game, has tarot motifs as summonings.

In Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, all but four of Luxord's twenty-four weapons are named after the Major Arcana. The two that are missing are "Judgement" and "Wheel of Fortune." The four non-Tarot cards are Fair Game (his weapon in Kingdom Hearts II), The Joker, Finest Fantasy 13 (Called Ultimate Illusion XIII in Japan), and High Roller's Secret.

Tarot readings figure into small events in two Sierra FMV games, The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery and Phantasmagoria.

Ditto in the game Indigo Prophecy, which actually features the reading as a Schrödinger's Gun.

In a popular mod for the fourth installation of the Civilization game series, Fall From Heaven II, there is a funny on-the-side minigame, Somnium, which is played with a deck of 54 cards; 3-7 in ten suits (Angels, Devils, Pentacles, Staves, Suns, Moons, Towers, Dragons, Swords and Cups) as well as three "Fool" cards and a "Death" card. The objective of the game is to gather cards so that your set of highest-of-each-suit sum beats that of your opponent, and you and your opponent each takes one turn at a time at drawing cards; You turn one card at a time and can "bank" the cards at any time, but if you hit the "Death" card or turn up two of the same suit, all drawn cards are discarded. The "Fool" cards allow you to steal a card from the opponent.
o You can win a minor diplomacy bonus towards leaders by besting them in a tournament game, but will suffer a likewise relation penalty by losing such a game.

20-06-2011, 18:43

One of my favourite games evar! Persona 3. ^_^

15-12-2012, 19:18
Hi there

I know this thread is a few years old but I thought it diserved a bit of a bump with the recent release of the game Dishonored featuring a tarot deck available when you pre-order the game. I myself am a proud gamer and tarot enthusiast and have bought a copy of this deck on ebay. It would seem to be of little interest to most gamers I guess, but their loss my gain :) I'll definately be buying the game when I comes down in price. For those who may be interested, Dishonored is by Bethesda, who also made The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim and Oblivion, Oblivion I am still playing today and I'm eager to pick up Skyrim, hopefully next year. I've been wishing and wishing and WISHING for someone to release a deck based on the Elder Scroll series, it is packed with lore, more than enough fodder for a deck or two!

Another game I've played myself and enjoyed was Strange Cases: The Tarot Card Mystery by Bigfish games. A hidden object game featuring a lovely deck which I thoroughly enjoyed playing. I wouldn't mind buying the deck from that game too!

I didn't post links because I'm not sure how to do that so just goggle these games if you're interested.

I'm a survival horror fan myself as well, good to see I'm not the only one! With all this interest in zombie tarots, I don't see why we can't have a deck or two featuring characters and themes from games such as Resident Evil or Silent Hill. I would definiately pick those ones up for sure.