The autumn season brings crisp air, stormy winds and apple cider. But what people tend to love most about the season is the foliage, when the green chlorophyll in the trees’ leaves retreat and they begin to fall and be carried by the winds, in the trees’ preparation for the long, cold winter.
Even as the leaves start to thin a little, a few video games have settings that capture the spirit of autumn. Some of these settings may be based on real places or in distant fantasy worlds. Fall foliage can be seen in the wilderness, in the cities, and even on racetracks, with the best fall foliage in video games truly showcasing the beauty of the season.
1/8 Crash through piles of leaves in Mario Kart 8
Animal crossing is a gaming franchise that can put a smile on the face of even the most glum players. It is known for cute talking animals and an excessively chipper attitude to life. Part of the draw of this series is its unique time progression system, where events and seasons change based on the real time on the game console’s internal clock.
Mario Kart 8, which is one of Mario’s many sporting outings, plays with this idea. It is Animal crossing-Themed DLC features a track through a city inspired by the franchise, complete with different variations for each season. The autumn look features rich orange-red leaves, made more beautiful by an in-game sunset. Piles of leaves are also on the track for drivers to plow through.
2/8 Experience the seasons in Walden: A Game
Anyone who calls Walden: A Game a pure walking simulator is not too far away. At the same time, it is more than that. It is living Thoreau’s great experiment in experiencing life in its simplest terms, in his cabin in the woods around Walden Pond.
As Thoreau spends time maintaining the cabin and tending the soybean crop, he observes the seasons. This includes the golden color of the forest trees’ leaves, indicating the coming of the icy winter months.
3/8 Concentrate on catching falling leaves in Shenmue 2
When Sega fans think of the Dreamcast, they often think of the cult classic Shenmuewhere a young martial artist goes on an epic quest to avenge his father’s death in what was at the time an immensely detailed world.
The history about Shenmue continuing with Shenmue 2, where the series’ protagonist Ryo Hazuki is in Hong Kong. In one scene in this game, Ryo is tasked with catching the falling leaves from a fiery red tree in order to gain permission to access a book that will help him on his quest. The trees radiate a soulful energy, with the colors on full display.
4/8 Find peace in the midst of chaos in Muramasa: The Demon Blade
The Wii is known for many games, e.g Wii Sports and Super Mario Galaxy duology. A wonderful hidden gem on the system is Muramasa: The Demon Bladewhich was later ported to the PlayStation Vita as Muramasa Rebirth and follows two parallel stories in Genroku Era Japan.
The game is a stylish, fluid 2D hack-and-slash adventure game set across stunning landscapes. One such environment is a waterfall surrounded by trees deep in their autumnal transformation. Japanese culture has an intimate reverence for the natural world and the artwork for Muramasa: The Demon Blade manages to do it justice.
5/8 Things change tonight in the forest
Night in the forest is deceptive with its cute 2D aesthetic of talking cartoon animals. It follows Mae, a college dropout who returns to her hometown of Possum Springs and must deal with her personal demons and deal with the fact that things are changing.
The autumn setting reflects this. The leaves change color, fall from the trees and are kicked around the streets. The small foliage of the city contributes to a sense of melancholy that pervades the game, as the city struggles to stay afloat. Leaves tumbling past are an apt metaphor for Mae, who herself tumbles off without any direction.
6/8 It’s autumn time in Stardew Valley
That’s the simple life in Stardew Valley. The player character inherits his grandfather’s farm, and after struggling with life behind the desk as one of JoJa Corp’s minions, packs up and moves out into the countryside.
Life in the valley consists of tending crops, raising livestock, exploring mines and getting to know the local townspeople. The gameplay and internal calendar cover the four seasons, including autumn, which sees the trees change to red and golden yellow colors. The warm colors particularly reflect the autumn spirit, especially during the annual autumn festival held in the town square.
7/8 Høstfjellet is deceived
The Paper Mario the series arguably hit its prime with Paper Mario: Tthe millennium door on the Nintendo GameCube. It has since had a bit of a rocky road, but Metacritic scores for Paper Mario: The Origami King indicates that the franchise may be headed in the right direction.
One of the game’s new zones is Autumn Mountain, whose design matches the paper aesthetic of the game. The foliage consists of leaves that look like they were cut from construction paper, giving the feeling that this is something that could easily have come out of Yoshi’s designed world.
8/8 Another thing to do besides saving Zelda
For those who want to spend some time in nature without going out, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild could be the solution. A plethora of activities exist for those who linger on rescuing Princess Zelda from Ganondorf’s clutches, including hiking, swimming, rock climbing, paragliding and even shield surfing.
An activity worth checking out is walking along the trails of the Akkala region, where the layered colors of the trees are on full display. This is a relaxing ride that will be cleansing for the mind, as long as no monsters attack. The foliage is highlighted by the red light that peeks over the horizon just before the sun rises.
MORE: Cozy forest-themed games