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Themed Cursor

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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 Real-Time Strategy games.


Video Games

  • The Age of Empires 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.
  • ANNO: Mutationem: The PC port's cursor is given a bright color and sonorous look to match the game's menu design.
  • Baba Is You has an interesting relationship between the cursor and the game, where the cursor is an in game objectnote . One hub area even has you transform it into other objects and back. There is even a secret level in the cursor!
  • The first Carmageddon game uses a severed hand (with blood dripping out of it) for its cursor.
  • In Command & Conquer, 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).
  • Cradle Series: Each game has a cursor appropriate to the setting, like the Roman-looking arrow head in Cradle of Rome.
  • The cursor in Discworld was a spark from a magical accident that happens at the end of the first cutscene.
  • The Dungeon Of Doom turns the cursor into a broadsword.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Attack of Darkforce: The cursor is a stylus paired with a softly flashing star. During cutscenes, the stylus rests under the star. In combat or menus, the stylus is pointed out at an angle.
  • GoldenEye (1997) has an out-of-game crosshair cursor.
  • Grand Theft Auto: When using the in-game internet in the HD-era games, take a close look at the cursor. Instead of the index finger being raised on the hand-shaped pointer as it would be on a normal Windows computer, it's the middle finger.
  • Heavy Weapon has a neat, radioactive sign-like crosshair for its cursor during gameplay.
  • The Flash Game Hedgehog Launch 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.)
  • Hypnospace Outlaw introduces these in its Hypnospace Plus expansion pack, as appropriate for a game based on '90s computing.
  • Jewel Quest 3 has a cursor that looks sort of like a gold fountain pen nib.
  • The somewhat obscure game Lab 14 has a standard cursor... except on one level, you're using your mouse cursor as a platform to jump on.
  • Kanon has a blue feather, referring to the theme of wings in the game, and CLANNAD a branch, referring to the tree on the title screen.
  • 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.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess has Navi as the Wiimote pointer. The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks used sparkles as an indicator of where you touched and The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass used Ceila (or Leaf/Neri if you were using their powers) to do the same.
  • Linx: The game's cursor is brightly colored and metallic to fit the game's aesthetic.
  • Live A Live has a different one for each chapter. The cursor for the final chapter depends on which character you decided to be the main hero. The remake Averts this to a generic quill, but keeps the old cursors as chapter cleared icons.
  • In Mario Paint, the cursor is shaped like Mario's glove.
  • The battle cursor in Mother 3 is a feather pen.
  • In Myst, it's your hand.
    • Myst IV takes it even further. Not only is the cursor actually your hand, but you can also 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 The Neverhood, the cursor is your standard arrow—but like everything else in the game, it's made of clay.
  • In Odin Sphere the cursor is your current character's weapon.
  • Persona 5: In the PC port, the mouse cursor takes the form of Joker's dagger.
  • Phantasmagoria makes your cursor an occult looking cross with a circle around the top.
  • The Quest for Glory games have fairly generic cursor icons for actions like Walk, Look, Use, etc....except for Quest for Glory IV, which takes place in a Darker and Edgier setting rife with undead and 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.
  • 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 are used with regular Windows-like cursors, red for hotspots and white for idle.
  • RuneScape implemented that in 2010.
  • Sburb from Homestuck has a cursor shaped like its logo.
  • In The 7th Guest, 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.
  • Sherlock Holmes: The Mystery of the Mummy: The cursor in this game takes the form of a hand holding a smoking pipe. It changes depending on the context of the object that it's held over. If it can be picked up, it's an open hand. If you can go there, it's a pointing hand. If it's a puzzle, it's a hand over a wrench. And if it can be examined, it's a handholding a magnifying glass.
  • In SimCity 2000, selecting the Center tool would change your cursor to a set of targeting crosshairs. This made for a nice Easter Egg once the airport became operational:
    SimCopter One: I'm hit! Mayday! [crash]
  • Splatoon has a squid-shaped cursor that bobs up and down.
  • Starcraft has... some fiddly sci-fi thing... for its "click me, I'm selectable" cursor. And the standard arrow is green with a dash of Tron Lines.
  • In the Touhou fangame Mari Ari, the cursor is one of Alice's dolls.
  • Treasure Planet: Battle at Procyon uses different cursors depending on what faction the player is playing as.
  • In Virtual Villagers 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).
  • In the Warcraft (RTS) series the cursor is the hand of whatever race you're currently playing as. Some characters are quite aware of the fact that they are being poked by a hand.
    • The Order of the Silver Hand are actually named (out-of-universe) for said Human cursor (a steel gauntlet).

  • In some games the cursor itself exists in-universe.
    • In Mario & Wario, it's Wanda the Fairy, the player character.
    • In Wonder Project J the cursor is Tinker. In the sequel, the cursor is Bird. In both, they serve as your line of communication to Pino and Josette, respectively.
    • Your cursor is also the player character in Bubble Ghost.
    • In Sonic Battle, the cursor used on the map screen is a jagged-looking arrow... and your current character, who appears next to said arrow and attempts to follow it wherever it goes.
    • In the 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 Black & White, 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 Dungeon Keeper work like those in Black & White and 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 Anachronox your cursor is in world, but still arrow-like, but is in fact Fatima, your dead secretary brought back to life in a Life Cursor.


  • Huckleberry has an orange arrow cursor, like the arrows of the orange golem.


  • Divinipedia, the wiki for Kid Icarus, has a cursor shaped like a bow and arrow, with the bow firing when you hover over a link.
  • The Wings of Fire wiki has a cursor shaped like a dragon's hand, usually themed after the latest book's protagonist.

Other Software

  • In MS Paint and such programs your cursor is simply whatever tool you have selected.
  • The old Nintendo Entertainment System 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 Walt Disney World Explorer's cursor is none other than Tinker Bell and her Magic Wand, flying in from the upper-right to the center of the screen. The tip of her wand shines with pixie dust when it's over something clickable. She waves her wand down and up when you click on most clickable items, then she either dives into the hotspot (if you clicked on one in the map), flies away off-screen towards the upper-left (if you clicked on an option in a topic's screen), or just stays in place.