The Chex Cereal Video Game That Garnered A Cult-Like Following

When you're a kid, there are few things more exciting than seeing a free prize inside your cereal box. It's even better when you don't know what that prize is. Could it be some kind of fantastic new toy or some rinky-dink hunk of plastic that'll break the second you touch it? Imagine the unexpected delight, then, when a CD wrapped in a sleeve of paper falls out of the bag. It's a brand-new, fully-fledged, honest-to-goodness video game!

While cereal and video games may not exactly be two peas in a pod nowadays, there was a time when cereal companies would package video game discs in their products as part of a prize pool. A lot of the games were based on either other famous movies, TV shows, or other video games. Gaming tells us that a sample of cereal box video games could be from Pixar's "Toy Story" franchise, "Rollercoaster Tycoon," and even "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" These games weren't exactly made by a triple-A company, and they were sometimes kind of cheesy, but half of the fun was just getting a free video game from your bowl of Kix cereal.

Chex cereal, owned by General Mills, is credited to be the first cereal to ever include a video game in its product (via MovieWeb). The company's "Chex Quest" game has garnered something of a cult following in recent times. What is this game, and what is it that makes it so famous for a cereal box prize?

Chex Quest was based on a much more notorious game

The premise of 1996's "Chex Quest," according to IMDb, is simple: the peaceful planet of Bazoik has been invaded by mucus-like aliens known as "Flemoids' and you, the heroic "Chex Warrior" must "zorch" the aliens back to their home planet and save the day. While "Chex Quest" is completely nonviolent, veteran video gamers may find that "Chex Quest" is strikingly similar to another popular game — one that is much more notorious and graphic than "Chex Quest."

"Chex Quest" is a "total conversion" of Id Software's 1993 game "DOOM" — in essence, Chex Quest uses the engine, textures, and design from "DOOM," but it also removes all of the graphic violence for more child-friendly material. Choosing "DOOM" to be the base model for a children's video game was, needless to say, a bizarre choice. As a result of the game's graphic violence and multiple references to Hell, "DOOM" has been marked as one of the most controversial video games of all time (via NBC News). 

While "Chex Quest" replaced the infamous "Doomguy" fighting waves of demons with a cartoonish hero in Chex armor duking it out against goofy aliens with cereal spoons and harmless ray guns that zap enemies away, using such a controversial game ranks as one of the most bizarre marketing choices. But perhaps it was so wild and bizarre that it just seemed to work, as many fans found the game to be something of an entertaining piece of campy fun.

General Mills released a remastered Chex Quest

The idea that something as notorious and hardcore as 'DOOM" could be turned into something as child-friendly and marketable as "Chex Quest" seemed totally ridiculous. But, according to PC Gamer, "Chex Quest" turned out to be a surprisingly competent and fun game. It was something cheesy and zany, but it also had plenty of campy charm to it that made it so popular.

In fact, so popular was the cereal-based space adventure prize that many game designers took it upon themselves to make their own versions of the game. Even the original art director Charles Jacobi released a fully-fledged "Chex Quest 3," a standalone adventure game that continues the adventures of the heroic Chex Warrior and his fight against the evil Flemoids. There's also a surprisingly popular Internet forum dedicated to discussing the game and its many fan projects, which is still active as of 2023.

General Mills also has shown love to its first (and currently only) video game product. In 2020, the company launched "Chex Quest HD," a fully remastered and redesigned edition of the 1996 game. The game features the return of the Chex Warrior, five new playable members (all based on different Chex snacks), and even a multiplayer mode. To top it all off, the game is available for free (via GameSpot). 

While General Mills hasn't shown any interest in developing other games, who knows? Maybe Kellogg's will release its own "Cornflake Warrior" game in the future. Stranger things have happened.