Autumn is a beautiful season, but it’s less common in games than powder-white winter scenes or sun-soaked beaches. I find this strange as you can find autumn themed t-shirts, artwork, and even autumn themed poker. It’s unclear why the peaceful chill of fall is becoming more challenging to find—but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few games that have captured the season in all its glory. Some are drawn to the foliage, while others are drawn to the more intangible aspects of this time of year. If you want a taste of fall in your gaming this month, here are a few titles to get you started.
- The Last of Us – Finding beauty in an end-of-the-world scenario with a zombie outbreak is challenging. As you travel across America, passing through many notable locations, you’ll notice at least one aspect that has been largely unaffected by the zombie outbreak. That would be nature, which, while overgrown and sprawling in some parts of America, becomes quite striking as soon as you reach autumn, with cozy American fall and simplistic moments of beautiful trees. Although I’m sure you’re not thinking about the foliage while trying to be stealthy.
- Alan Wake – Although Remedy’s 2016 game-turned-TV show Quantum Break was an ambitious flop, the studio’s 2010 title Alan Wake remains a triumph of mood and storytelling. The player assumes the role of Alan Wake, a writer seeking solace in the idyllic Washington town of Bright Falls but encountering horror. The game is a Stephen King-inspired autumn classic.
- Night in the Woods – Night in the Woods captures every classic fall feeling. As protagonist Mae Borowski walks down the street, struggling to find meaning in her life, the quiet town of Possum Springs comes alive with the colors of fallen leaves in the air. The season’s contemplative nature is on full display here as each character deals with issues such as depression, anxiety, and the death of small-town America. Night in the Woods adds to the season’s eerie atmosphere by posing a mystery for fans to solve involving one of Mae’s long-lost friends. Let’s hope the game’s engaging narrative and relatable cast are revived in a future sequel.
- Shelter – Bundle up in a new way as you explore the wilderness in autumn as a mother badger protecting her cubs. Shelter transports you to a beautiful forest teeming with natural perils that will make you want to curl up with a cup of hot cocoa when you’re finished. Determine how long you could survive in a dangerous paradise.
- Broken Sword: The Shadow of Templars – The city of Paris serves as the setting for this story of murder, mystery, and the occult. When hero George Stobbart wakes up after nearly dying in a cafe bombing, the first thing he sees is a swirl of brown leaves kicked up by the wind. In the autumnal chill, your cheeks almost redden. The peaceful, leafy streets of Paris in the fall starkly contrast with the sinister crimes you investigate in Broken Sword.
- Costume Quest – Costume Quest and its sequel cast players as a group of trick-or-treaters who change their outfits to improve their combat abilities. Everyone knows that Halloween is the best holiday during the fall months, and few games have captured the spirit of Halloween more effectively than this charming RPG. The only thing these games don’t depict is the week-long stomach ache and poor school lunch choices that inevitably follow.
We spend so much time in their worlds, wrapped up in their stories and dramas, that I believe autumnal video games hit us especially hard because the season reminds us that the game, like everything else, has a course to run, and the end is near. Fall reminds us that time is fleeting. That is what gives value to games and everything else we experience.