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Our Favorite Autumn Moments in Video Games

Our Favorite Autumn Moments in Video Games

Our Favorite Autumn Moments in Video Games

To help people celebrate the beauty of autumn from their cozy couches, we at Just Adventure have compiled a list of our favorite Fall moments in video games.


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Long before it became the dreaded Season of Pumpkin Spice, autumn was a montage of apple cider, harvest festivals, and more decorative gourds than you could shake a stick at. Autumn, with its rich mais-en-scene, can be used to service aspects of both quirk and reverence in video games. It’s the season of picturesque leaves, brisk evening walks, and — for many people — the beginning of several months of gaming in a nice warm home.  

To help people celebrate the beauty of autumn from their cozy couches, we at Just Adventure have compiled a list of our favorite fall moments in video games. So finish carving that NES controller on your pumpkin, grab a cup of hot cider and a cinnamon stick, and read on!

Super Mario World (1990)


There was a time, a long long time ago, when games used to have secrets. Super Mario World is one of the greatest (if not the greatest) example of a secret-laden field of wonders. Half of the levels in the game had secret exits and some of them even had more than two ways out. For a ’90s 2D platformer, Super Mario World was wild. But its greatest secret was buried deep beyond Star Road. After the levels Funky, Groovy, and Way Cool, Mario emerges — usually astride his new dino friend — to a palette-swapped version of Dinosaur Island. The overworld map has transformed into autumn, and some of the enemies have gotten bizarre makeovers.

Piranha plants have replaced their rosy red mouths with carved pumpkins; Bullet Bills are now Pidget Bills (the crow-like birds that first appeared in Super Mario Bros. 2); the Koopa Troopas have donned haunting Mario masks.

Koopa. Troopas. Are. Wearing. His. Face.

Yes, it’s exactly as frightening as it sounds. Those beastly turtles have taken to roaming Dinosaur Island wearing masks fashioned after our plumbing hero.

And it only gets stranger when you see Mario weaponize his disembodied head to battle Dino Island’s basket of deplorables.

– Ian Sims

Super Mario World - Just Adventure Autumn 600

Banjo-Kazooie (1998)


“Jumbo!” shouts Banjo as he inevitably slips to his doom from the top of Click Clock Wood. The good news for Banjo and Kazooie is that they get a gorgeous view of the colorful leaves—that is, if their accelerated freefall takes place during autumn.

Click Clock Wood is a unique level that switches seasons depending on which door Banjo enters. Though each season has its ups and downs, it’s the oversaturated color scheme of autumn that truly captures the cartoony zeitgeist of late-90s video games. The theme of Click Clock Wood, already memorable in its own right, also takes on its most imaginative rendition in autumn. Frogs, woodpeckers, and owls populate the minimalist autumn song along with one of Grant Kirkhope’s blatty low-register brass baselines.

Whether Banjo is traipsing through the piles of brightly colored foliage, helping Gnawty the squirrel prepare for winter or laughing at Mumbo attempting to sweep away the leaves, Click Clock Wood is a standout moment in the quest to save Tooty.

– Ian Sims

Banjo-Kazooie - Just Adventure Autumn 600

The Last of Us (2013)

Naughty Dog

A battered sign marks the entrance to Jackson County, Missouri. Joel and Ellie, forced to walk from Pittsburgh to Jackson, are quiet. The summer has been brutal, and the brisk wind of autumn discourages conversation. The travelers are on their way to meet Tommy, Joel’s brother, who is supposedly camped out in Jackson. Finding no other way to go, Joel attempts to find his way through an abandoned hydroelectric dam until he discovers that it isn’t as abandoned as he first thought by way of a gun barrel pointed at his head. To his surprise, the gate opens, and Tommy walks out to greet him.

The scene is quiet and peaceful, and it contrasts the violence and cruelty that precede it. In the midst of the madness, and after a brutal summer of loss and heartbreak, fall begins with a quiet moment of family and friendship. Life returns to the way it was: two brothers reconnecting and telling old tales, but the tranquility won’t last, and it won’t be long before fall gives way to the chill of winter. The path is still as dangerous as ever. But for now, amongst the changing trees and hopeful faces, the future doesn’t seem so bleak.

– Kyle Brown

The Last of Us - Just Adventure Autumn 600

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (2013)

Starbreeze Studios

The youngest brother waves his arms and shouts loudly, making as big a racket as he can. The dog, a shaggy black mass of anger and teeth, lunges towards him, but can’t reach him atop the rocks. The older brother, seeing his chance, tiptoes around the back and tries to sneak past. The crack of a desiccated cornhusk rings through the air; the field is covered in them. The dog whips around and spots the older brother, who leaps just out of reach onto another rock formation. The older brother begins to wave his arms, keeping the dog’s attention, while the younger climbs down off the rock and moves forward.

The brothers have to continue, no matter what. Their father is sick, and the brisk fall wind will only get worse as winter approaches. The water from the Tree of Life will save him. But the tree is far away, across the mountains, and there are creatures in the darkness that feed on children.

Their journey is not without its beauty. As the brothers walk through the village, people are bustling about in preparation for winter. Sheep can be found quietly grazing in their pastures, while children run and play. Shafts of sunlight pour through the trees, reflecting off the ochre leaves and casting the earth in a warm, brown glow.

For the brothers, fall is just a sign of the coming winter and its hardships. But for the player, the gentle warmth of the season provides a beautiful backdrop to a journey worth taking.

– Kyle Brown

Brothers A Tale of Two Sons - Just Adventure Autumn 600

Life is Strange (2015)

Dontnod Entertainment

Life is Strange is light on the traditional autumn trappings—you’ll find no fecund apple trees, foamy kegs of apple cider, or mile-high stacks of pumpkins here. The game even screws with the weather over the course of the week; after a sudden snowfall in the middle of a bright day and a full-fledged hurricane, you might not be concentrating too hard on the calendar page. But Life is Strange is undeniably a story about autumn. It’s set in October in the early months of a new school year. There are clean backpacks and jeans and cloudy, golden afternoons spent sprawled on the campus lawn. The teenage protagonists are squirmy with senior-year anxieties, and you can feel the specter of an uncertain future lying ahead in the form of college applications and photography contest entries. The known is high school, and it is finite.

This autumnal setting is inseparable from a story that pulses with the pain of adolescence browning into adulthood. Summer is endless sun and fruit and hammocks and no responsibility. Autumn is the shortening of days and the awkward pullaway of old friends and trying to become a new person before anyone remembers who you used to be. Cold air brings changes. The fleeting image of Max and Chloe walking hand in hand along tree-lined train tracks captures a primal vision of what autumn really is: the slow, smoky death of what was once green to make room for something else.

– Bailey James

Life Is Strange - Just Adventure Autumn 600

Life Simulators/Survival Games

Harvest Moon franchise – Harvest Moon taps into the season better than perhaps any other life simulator, especially considering the name of the franchise. As in the real world, autumn is a season of harvesting and preparing for the upcoming winter. As the yearly harvest comes to a close, autumn becomes a season of raising livestock, reinvigorating stale relationships with the townsfolk, and trying out the many side activities you’ve been neglecting (like your marriage).

Animal Crossing (2001) – For many, Animal Crossing was the first truly seasonal game that they experienced. It breathed life back into a genre that was being dominated by Maxis and their expansion-frenzy God simulator, The Sims. Animal Crossing gave players a chance to learn to love a village and its various goings-ons. When fall finally rolled around, players who took a reprieve from working to pay their bank loans could receive a model of the moon from Mayor Tortimer or celebrate the cooler weather at their local Sports Fair.

Stardew Valley (2016) – Similar to Harvest Moon, autumn in Stardew Valley is a very profitable season for harvesting crops. Perhaps most importantly though, autumn is also the only season in which you can acquire the fedora. ‘A city-slicker’s standard,’ indeed.

– Ian Sims

Stardew Valley - Just Adventure Autumn 600


Ian Sims

Ian Sims

Ian is a video game addict with no hope for recovery. He spends his days trapped inside JRPGs, platformers, and adventure games. His favorite games include the Borderlands series, The Walking Dead, Final Fantasy Tactics, Super Meat Boy, and Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Given his penchant for emotional games and the horror genre, he hopes Oculus is developing a VR system that is resistant to his tears.Ian graduated from The Ohio State University and now works in Wisconsin as an Implementation Consultant at a software company. He is the Editor ‘n Chef of, a millennial food website. Ian owns a Virtual Boy and hopes that someday someone will actually care.

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