With the autumn season upon us, what initially comes to mind? For most, probably colder weather, leaves falling, pumpkin spice x (where x = everything), hoodies, haunted houses, Halloween, and so on. I greatly appreciate the fall season and everything that comes with it. In fact, it’s probably my favorite season. But for me, it’s more than black cats and apple cider. It’s a time where I can enjoy certain types of video games at their best. Nintendo is absolutely fantastic at creating games that burst with seasonal energy. That is; games that display the best a season has to offer.
Of course, every game does it differently. Being the season that it is, I’ll start with the original Luigi’s Mansion for the GameCube. This game is built around one theme: a haunted house. My October would not be complete if I didn’t spend a weekend replaying through this game with the lights off. Not because it’s terrifying, but because for me, this is how the game should be played. I just get so much more out of it. Playing this game on a hot mid-summer night, or when snow is flying just doesn’t feel right. When running through the mansion vacuuming up ghosts and exploring dark rooms, I want to be able to look out my window and see colorful leaves. Another fall favorite of mine is Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door. Why? This answer why may not be as obvious, but here it is: the chapter “For Pigs the Bell Tolls.” Yes, I know that there is a chapter where Mario travels to a tropical island and where there is snow, but making the trek to the Creepy Steeple (about 5 times), to me, is the most defining chapter. Everything about that section: the music, the characters, the lighting, the setting, creates a perfect Halloween experience.
Admittedly, I am biased when it comes to what season a game should be played because some of it has to do when the game came out, and my nostalgia for a game always peaks based on what time of the year I played through it and enjoyed it for the first time. The Thousand Year Door was released in October (yes, I may be a bit weird about my timely nostalgia). But seriously, if you haven’t experienced this glorious gem, there is no better time than now, and when you get to chapter 4, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
And of course, there are games like Animal Crossing, where the game is set up to follow the time of year no matter what, so it can be played to the maximum level of enjoyment all year. This game has become immensely popular, and I attribute that a lot to what I referred to above as seasonal energy. It just feels right. Nintendo was brilliant to realize this and capitalize off of it. I remember playing the game and running around my town on Halloween looking for Jack, hearing my real world doorbell ring, and passing out candy to kids. This created a full 360° experience for me, and I’ll never forget it.
I won’t make a complete list of games I like to play during specific seasons, but here are just a few others that really stick out: Mario Baseball (spring/summer), Super Mario Sunshine (summer), Banjo Kazooie (fall/winter), Resident Evil 4 (fall), Splatoon (summer), Pikmin (any season – these games capture them all greatly), Wii Sports Resort (summer), Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (all but winter), and Kirby’s Epic Yarn (winter).
Lastly, the intention of this write-up is not to tell you when you can and can’t enjoy a game. Of course, this is 100% subjective, and everyone is going to have a different take. If you enjoy cleaning off Isle Delfino in the middle of winter to get some virtual sun and cure those winter blues, more power to you. I would love to hear comments about certain times of year you prefer what games, or if you don’t care at all and anytime is the best time. Now excuse me as I eat a freshly picked honey crisp apple and take on King Boo.
About the author: Matt has been a Nintendo fan since 1996 after his parents got him a Nintendo 64 with Super Mario 64. His love for gaming took off from there with games such as Diddy Kong Racing and Banjo Kazooie. When not playing video games, Matt can be found cycling, golfing, playing with his cat, reading math books, and partaking in anything nerdy. Once in a great while, he even may play a game that is… gulp… out of season.