[[caption-width-right:238:Genuine UsefulNotes/WorldWar2 era cursors.]]

The thing hanging around your screen right now. It's probably just an arrow, but arrows are boring, and if you're playing a video game, you don't want to watch boring things. So, the developers simply made your cursor into something related to the game and voila, every click is now a step toward immersion!

Most commonly, the cursor is a crosshair or a character's or creature's hand. A staple of RealTimeStrategy games.


[[AC:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/GoldenEye1997'' has an out-of-game crosshair cursor.
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}}'' (RTS) series the cursor is the hand of whatever race you're currently playing as. [[StopPokingMe Some characters are quite aware of the fact that they are being poked by a hand.]]
--> '''Priest (VideoGame/WarcraftIII)''': [[WesternAnimation/ToyStory I have been chosen]] by [[MediumAwareness the big metal hand in the sky]]!
* In ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquer'', when you have a unit selected, your cursor becomes a sonar-like pattern when hovering over passable terrain, a "no" symbol when over impassable terrain and a crosshair when over enemies. The first ''Red Alert'' subtly alters the crosshair design to indicate whether your unit is already in range of its target or not (which obviously only works if only a single unit is selected).
* ''VideoGame/{{Starcraft}}'' has... some fiddly scifi thing... for its "click me, I'm selectable" cursor. And the standard arrow is green with a dash of TronLines.
* In ''VideoGame/TheNeverhood'', the cursor is your standard arrow--but like everything else in the game, it's made of clay.
* The somewhat obscure game ''Lab14'' has a standard cursor... except on one level, you're using ''your mouse cursor as a platform to jump on''.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Myst}}'', it's your hand.
** ''VideoGame/MystIV'' takes it even further. Not only is the cursor actually your hand, you can use it to interact with things that are ordinarily useless by tapping on them to hear the sound they make. Also, some objects can't be touched (usually due to high voltage), causing the cursor to recoil and the screen to shake (since the orientation of the screen is pretty much tied to where the hand is at).
* In some games the cursor itself exists in universe.
** In ''VideoGame/MarioAndWario'', it's Wanda the Fairy, the player character.
** In ''VideoGame/WonderProjectJ'' the cursor is Tinker. In the sequel, the cursor is [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Bird]]. In both, they serve as your line of communication to Pino and Josette, respectively.
** Your cursor is also the player character in ''VideoGame/BubbleGhost''.
** In ''VideoGame/SonicBattle'', the cursor is an [[TakeAThirdOption arrow ''and'' your character]].
** In the ''VideoGame/{{Creatures}}'' series, the cursor is known as the Hand--it is, in fact, shaped like a hand. It's actually treated as its own separate entity in the game, and you can name it, and even have Creatures interact with it!
** In ''VideoGame/BlackAndWhite'', your pointer is pretty much your own godly hand, which you can use to pick up and drop stuff, throw things, and even pet or slap. It'll also change depending on your alignment.
** The hand in ''VideoGame/DungeonKeeper'' work like those in ''VideoGame/BlackAndWhite'' and ''VideoGame/{{Creatures}}''. Though more so, the hand can, in fact, possess said creatures and become their minds. The ''Dungeon Keeper'' series example would be one of the most extreme examples of this trope.
** In ''VideoGame/{{Anachronox}}'' your cursor is in world, but still arrow like, but is in fact Fatima, your [[spoiler: dead secretary brought back to life in a]] Life Cursor.
* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess'' has [[TheScrappy Navi]] as the Wiimote pointer. ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSpiritTracks'' used sparkles as an indicator of where you touched and ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaPhantomHourglass'' used [[ExpositionFairy Ceila]] (or Leaf/Neri if you were using their powers) to do the same.
* In ''VideoGame/MarioPaint'', the cursor is shaped like Mario's glove.
* ''VideoGame/JewelQuest 3'' has a cursor that looks sort of like a gold fountain pen nib.
* The Flash Game ''VideoGame/HedgehogLaunch'' has an equipment upgrade screen as well as the playing field for hedgehog-launching. The upgrade screen is trying to look like an ancient black and green monochrome computer screen and uses -- a primitive-looking green arrow. (Imagine if a Speak And Spell had an arrow cursor.)
* ''VideoGame/TheDungeonOfDoom'' turns the cursor into a broadsword.
* For some reason, the battle cursor in ''VideoGame/{{MOTHER 3}}'' is a feather pen...
* ''VideoGame/{{Ripper}}'' has a spinning knife as your cursor that points in the directions you can move, and spins in a circle when idle. Dialogue is triggered by a talking skull connected to a partial spine, and interactions in puzzles is used with regular Windows-like cursors, red for hotspots and white for idle.
* In ''VideoGame/TheSeventhGuest'', you have a few "horror"-themed icons to show different actions. A skeletal hand will beckon or point when you can move somewhere and wag when you can't. When you find a "hot spot" the cursor is an eyeball, and a puzzle is indicated by a skull with an exposed, pulsing brain.
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' fangame ''VideoGame/MariAri'', the cursor is one of Alice's dolls.
* ''Sburb'' from ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' has a cursor shaped like its logo.
* In ''VideoGame/OdinSphere'' the cursor is your current character's weapon.
* ''VideoGame/RuneScape'' implemented that in 2010.
* The cursor in ''VideoGame/{{Discworld}}'' was a spark from a magical accident that happens at the end of the first cutscene.
* The ''VideoGame/AgeOfEmpires'' series usualy had an arrowhead cursor for navigating the game map which changed to a hand if workers were selected and it was held over a resource and changed into a sword when held over an enemy.
* ''VideoGame/LiveALive'' has a different one for each chapter. The cursor for the final chapter depends on which character you decided to be the main hero.
* ''VisualNovel/{{Kanon}}'' has a blue feather, referring to the theme of wings in the game, and ''VisualNovel/{{Clannad}}'' a branch, referring to the tree on the title screen.
* ''VideoGame/HeavyWeapon'' has a neat, radioactive sign-like crosshair for its cursor during gameplay.
* The ''VideoGame/QuestForGlory'' games have fairly generic cursor icons for actions like Walk, Look, Use, etc....except for ''VideoGame/QuestForGloryIV'', which takes place in a DarkerAndEdgier setting rife with undead and [[EldritchAbomination Eldritch Abominations]]. In keeping with this theme, the Look icon is a disembodied eyeball, the Use icon is a severed, zombified hand, and the Talk icon is a mouth with vampire fangs.
* In ''VideoGame/SimCity 2000'', selecting the Center tool would change your cursor to a set of targeting crosshairs. This made for a nice EasterEgg once the airport became operational:
-->'''[=SimCopter=] One:''' [[OhCrap I'm hit]]! Mayday! ''[=[=][[VideoGameCrueltyPotential crash]][=]=]''
* In ''VideoGame/VirtualVillagers 5: New Believers'', as in all the VV games, the cursor is turned into a hand. The villagers ''worship'' the "giant flying hand in the sky" (that is, the player).
* ''VideoGame/{{Kingsway}}'' is a retro RPG with a fictional operating system built around it, and as such features unlockable custom cursors, such as a sword or skeleton hand.

[[AC:Other Software]]
* In ''UsefulNotes/MSPaint'' and such programs your cursor is simply whatever tool you have selected.
* The old UsefulNotes/NintendoEntertainmentSystem emulator [=NESticle=] turns your cursor into a bleeding, severed hand.
* Software packs filled with gimmicky cursors among other window dressings were popular in the Windows 3.1 era. Some of these had "animated" cursors that didn't work like you're thinking, but instead caused the cursor to dart around the screen at varying speeds, making it nearly unusable.
* The ''Literature/WingsOfFire'' wiki has a cursor shaped like a dragon that can change color like a [=RainWing=].