Cozy or spooky: Experiencing the two sides of fall gaming

Fall means something different for everyone—and when it comes to gaming, especially in our house, that’s particularly prevalent. See, where I often get stuck in the cozy aesthetic of the season, I know there’s an entirely different side to it as well.

A very dark side indeed.

Normally, I don’t dabble too far into that other side. I’m happy to watch a ghost movie or two with my dear husband, provided I have at least one option of a blanket or cushion to hide my face when things go sideways. But the gaming itself is another matter entirely.

Where I like to stay

I know I’ve written about this before, but my go-to type of game, especially for the fall season, is the type of video game that has its own kind of fall season. Think Harvest Moon, Story of Seasons, Fae Farm, Animal Crossing.

Why? Well, they’re cute, they’re easy to play through while you’re relaxing on the couch, and they’ve all got the lovely vibes of autumn.

Plus, they usually have seasonal activities and festivals to go to so you can celebrate. In older Harvest Moon games, for example, you’ll get trick-or-treaters stopping by your farmhouse throughout the day; and in Animal Crossing, you can catch leaves and trade them for unique seasonal items.

Where I found myself

In all fairness, this isn’t technically the first time I’ve experienced the darker side of fall. Shane’s tried a few times over the years to introduce me to scary games, but it’s never gone particularly well because I’m a massive chicken.

By now, though, after years of being slowly indoctrinated in scary movies, I figure I have at least somewhat of a resistance to the horror genre, so I decided to try out a particularly creepy title Shane’s been playing a lot lately, Demonologist.

Unlike my experience with Until Dawn—in which I got so jump-scared by the first light flicker that I actually screamed—I thought I might be able to handle something like Demonologist simply because I tend to like movies about paranormal stuff. They’re not as rough for me as gore, and in a way, it’s really easy to step back and think about it almost like I’m learning about something that might be out there, you know?

And all things considered, I think it went pretty well.

If you’re not familiar with Demonologist, the idea is that you and your friends travel around to different haunted buildings, where you have to figure out what’s haunting them and how to get rid of the unhappy spirits. Obviously, you do run risks of things like possession and death, but death doesn’t seem to be permanent, so that likely helps.

I managed to get through three different buildings in my first session, and mostly through the efforts of Shane and a couple of our friends, we even cleared two of them.

I only experienced several jump-scares, two attempts at possession, one hallway of creepy dolls and/or babies (I ran too fast to know for sure), screamed once, and did what I can only imagine was miles of panicked running to the safety of a salt ring.

I don’t know if it will become a regular game of mine, but hey. I’ll celebrate the progress, at least!

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