Halloween is always an exciting time around the industry. Games launch themed events and DLC, storefronts kick-off Halloween sales, and the games media produces countless round-ups of what we should play to get in the spooky spirit. Many of us have special gaming memories we always think of at this time of year, so here are some of Sandbox’s favorite games for the Halloween season!
Dan: A game I’ll always think of around this time of year is Scooby-Doo! Night of 100 Frights. I remember getting the game as a birthday gift one year and playing it relentlessly that whole season. The game did a great job to scratch the spooky itch – there was a creepy mansion, a graveyard, and a haunted fishing village, and you could even collect “monster tokens” from all the villains you defeated and find out their backstory. An honorable mention is the Halloween Town world in Kingdom Hearts.
Tim: I was listening recently about how our modern concept of Halloween was born out of a desire to curtail adolescent mischief and make the season a more socially controlled, family-friendly celebration. Which fits well with the themes of Night in the Woods, an adventure game about the generations of a small, rust-belt town trying to hold on to a dying sense of identity and prosperity. The existential horrors in Night in the Woods often play out in the background of this story, but are no less real, touching on the darkness that exists at the heart of the American dream. Also the little animals are cute.
Sam: For me the game that I always think of at Halloween is actually the first game I ever played, the Mega Drive/Genesis Classic from 1990, Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse. To this day, it’s one of my favorite games linked (maybe just for me) to Halloween. SplatterHouse and Haunting Starring Polterguy are two other MegaDrive titles I’ll always think of during this holiday.
Tyler: One of the first ‘horror’ games I remember playing – and something I’ll always associate with Halloween is Castlevania 64. I played it on my dad’s Nintendo 64, and it was so different and dark compared to the games I’d seen before it. The unrelenting skeletons, ominous music, and haunting castle kept me constantly on edge. I can’t say I ever made it very far – venturing into unexplored depths of the castle was a bridge too far, and once I found what was within the hedge maze once there was no chance I was attempting that again! It’s not the most fondly remembered Castlevania game, its controls and look haven’t aged exceptionally well, but I can’t help but love its nostalgic sense of erriness during this time of year.
Oh – also SCP – Containment Breach. Terrifying to play with a group of friends on a dark Halloween night.
Val: I will never stop pushing people to play DEVICE 6, which is great any time of year but especially during spooky season. We’re also playing through The Quarry and Until Dawn, both of which are new to me but have been fantastic for the season. I didn’t grow up with many scary games, so I’m exploring new and old titles as I embrace my spooktacular side as an adult.
Pat: My go-to spooky season game as of late would probably have to be Playdead’s INSIDE. It’s a relatively short experience (four-ish hours) but one that will stick with you well after you’ve finished it. I actually think their first title, LIMBO, has a creepier atmosphere overall but the main reason INSIDE takes the cake here is for one reason – those unsettling, long-haired water baby/mermaid from hell/death torpedo thingies. Pair this with excellent gameplay, a haunting soundtrack and an ambiguous ending that’s nearly impossible to anticipate and you’ve got yourself a perfect Halloween game.
It wouldn’t be Halloween at Sandbox if we didn’t mention Corey’s Chiller obsession, so for more on that check out our 2018 post here!