Well, it's Halloween at last. With a night of trick or treating and dangerously high sugar consumption ahead, some of you may be throwing some gaming into your evening. We've already listed 20 Wii U and 3DS games that could fit the bill, but now our writing team wants to share its recent gaming routines, and its plans for the most terrifying of nights.
Without further unnecessary pre-amble, let's begin.
For my Halloween gaming this year I've been doing a playthrough of The Evil Within, the not-Resident Evil game from Shinji Mikami. I'll admit that I went in with low-ish expectations, but I've enjoyed what I've seen so far; it's quite cinematic. Of course, I've also been working my way through Corpse Party – after doing our review on it last week – and that's been a great experience. Until Corpse Party, I'd never played a visual novel-esque game, but it's been a wonderful first stab at it.
As for retro games, I've been doing yet another playthrough of Super Metroid, as per my holiday tradition, and have also been doing a run of Castlevania: Circle of the Moon. With all the hype around Bloodstained, I figured it'd be cool to play through some of the earlier Metroid-esque Castlevania games, though I have been rather taken aback by how brutal the difficulty can be in places. Those Wii U VC save states have been quite welcome in that regard.
As I've noted in previous Nintendo Life features, Halloween still has the nation of Australia divided. Some people celebrate it, while others prefer to ignore the spooky season altogether. I myself have been on the bandwagon for a number of years now, and chose to embrace the annual event via the world of video games.
Normally I'm drawn to whatever game is offering a Halloween promotion and this year it happens to be mobile sensation, Pokémon GO. Admittedly I had not played it in a few weeks, and then much like a ghost appearing out of nowhere Niantic surprised me with the announcement of double the amount of candy every time you catch, hatch and transfer Pokémon from 26th October to 1st November - adding to this, buddy Pokemon will help you earn candy four times as fast!
Since the promotion began I've encountered Gastly and Haunter, and managed to evolve them into Gengar in less than a day. I have also caught a lot of Drowzee and now have a Hypno added to my Pokedex. When I'm not in the mood for a walk, I've been playing Miitomo to collect the limited edition Halloween costumes. So far I've collected the pumpkin and skeleton outfits. I just wish I could get the wolf man one now!
Halloween is one of my favourite times of the year, and those long, dark, candlelit evenings are perfect for some spooky movies and a skele-tonne (HAH) of creepy video games. I always end up delving back into older titles, usually leaving horror games on the backburner for just such an occasion, but my first port of call will actually be pretty tame...
I've just gotten back into Animal Crossing: New Leaf, so I'm looking forward to the decidedly goofy Halloween festivities after missing out for the past few years. The fact that my village will still be covered in a forest of weeds will surely only add to the atmosphere, and to my deep embarrassment. Sorry, villagers! Ideally the whole place might turn into Twilight Town if I leave it long enough, and then I can go around wearing a Doopliss-style party hat, having people try and guess my name.
I'm also going to recommend the weird and watery Wii U exclusive Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water to anyone who wants more of a genuine scare, which may have crept under the radar for some around this time last year. Adding on to that kind vibe, Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition will definitely get a look-in, as i'm always looking for another excuse to replay it. Having just invested in VR, half my Halloween may also get spent with a giant glowing headset strapped to my face, which kinda spoils the mood a bit but at least I'll have Until Dawn: Rush of Blood to try out.
Finally, here's my yearly recommendation to go off right now and download Super Castlevania IV. It's got all the creatures and creeps you need to fill that monster quota, as well as the ability to moonwalk up stairs. I don't know what else you people could possibly want.
I have a particular fondness for seasonally-themed activities, and Halloween is a favourite time of mine; along with handing out candy and wearing my Sonic the Hedgehog onesie to work, it's also the perfect excuse for some jack-o'-lantern-light gaming traditions! Every year, I make sure to scare up my trusty Neo Geo Pocket Colour to have a go on Cotton: Fantastic Night Dreams, a sweetly spoopy shmup that I'm still trying to beat 10 years later. Next, my wife and I dust off the Dreamcast keyboards and type our (and others') brains out in two-player Typing of the Dead. We've gotten scary good at most of the typographic horrors it's thrown at us over the years, but we're still trying to 1cc the hardest difficulty — shaking from the sugar high just adds to the challenge!
Along with those well-loved traditions, I always try to push myself to try something different — and maybe a bit dangerous — for Halloween. This year, I think I'm finally going to dip my trembling toes into Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water on the Wii U. I played the fun-size sampler chapter last year and had a great time snapping ghosts with the GamePad-controlled Camera Obscura, even if I had to turn the living room lights back on halfway through my first trip up Hikami Mountain. Here's hoping I can stay strong for long enough to see the end this time — or at least that all the door-knocks from candy-hungry kids will help keep me from getting too unnervingly immersed!
Over the years, my Halloween habits have grown decidedly geekier. Now my favourite thing to do on a dark October evening is to curl up and watch YouTube videos about creepy facts. This includes "spooky" Easter eggs in gaming, a surprising number of which can be found in Mario games. You know what the Hell Valley Sky Trees are, right? Liar. Nobody knows what they are...
I will likely pop in some ZombiU this Halloween as well, but there is another horror experience I always wish I owned at this time: Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. It may not have been much like its series brethren in how it played, but this showing on the Wii is worth playing just for the stellar writing alone. If you have the luck of finding an inexpensive copy, I highly recommend it.
Halloween is upon us! This means it's time to play the most perfectly crafted spooky spectacle in gaming - Banjo-Kazooie's Mad Monster Mansion. This N64 classic is the epitome of how to cram the perfect amount of ghouls and pumpkins into one small world. There's giant organ-playing hands, angry grave stones and a hedge maze filled with murderess ghosts. Also, a toilet who talks in farts. And honestly, what's scarier than that?
Actually, now that I think of it, Banjo-Kazooie has a lot of fantastic (and silly) horror aspects. The main adversary is a Witch after all. Maybe everyone should sit down and try their hand at snatching the original 100 Jiggies away from monsters, mummies, sharks, crocodiles, and giant hermit crabs. Just don't let Grunty ruin your night with her annoying laugh.
This Halloween, I'm going to be playing Pokémon GO with its cool new Halloween event. Going to be finding ghastly Gastly and hunting down Cubone like crazy. All the candy makes it so much the better, as it will help me evolve and power up so many Pokémon.
In addition to that, ahead of Pokémon Sun and Moon, I'll be testing out some cool Pokémon teams. One of my favourites is using Gourgeist and its signature move, Trick-or-Treat. It can be surprisingly powerful when teamed with the right Pokémon!
When Halloween comes around each year I'm the sort of person who turns off all the lights, hides under a blanket and pretends to be anywhere other than my house. Luckily – as long as you turn the brightness of your TV down enough – getting away with playing video games is as easy as taking candy back from the baby who stole it from your front door in the first place.
Recently I've been catching up on games that passed me by during release and right now I am stabbing, strangling and shooting my way through Dishonored; perhaps fitting for the time of year. But to get even more into the Halloween spirit – whilst also attempting to tame my ever growing longing for Breath of the Wild – I plan to hopefully get my teeth stuck into The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D. Yes, that's right, I never got round to playing it and yes that's also right – I've never played the original either. I'm sorry ok!? No tricks please…
This year will be spooky and romantic, as my girlfriend is also a horror enthusiast. Think of it like Valentine's Day for the Addam's Family and you're not far off. As a pair of geeks, we already have our plans carved in tombstone.
To whet our ghoulish appetites we shall be booting up the Resident Evil remake on the old faithful GameCube. As a fan of the series from the beginning, the remake built on my childhood memories of the original by surpassing it in every way. The controller will certainly be passing back and forth as we encounter the darkest terrors of the Spencer Mansion. And I can guarantee we'll scare ourselves silly at the sight of Lisa Trevor.
As the Castlevania expert, she'll be busting out her GBA collection for use on the Game Boy Player. Although we'll likely have some quick goes on the likes of Aria of Sorrow, our destination will be her favourite: the original Castlevania on the NES Classics cartridge. As a rock hard title with the original platforming approach, we'll be whipping like crazy.
But before the night is out I shall share with her the terror that is P.T. It's not on a Ninty platform, but as a horror title with astonishingly clever design and more psychological scares than you can shake a broomstick at, it's essential playing. Happy Halloween everyone!
Narelle Ho Sang
A few years ago, I decided it'd be a great idea to start carving pumpkins for Halloween. I'm sure it's as scary for the pumpkin as it is for me. I'm not very good at it. Besides worrying about butchering 'art' into a Jack O' Lantern into something vaguely recognizable, I worry about my hands being cut in the process. But every year, I just keep trying anyway. It's usually a gaming related pumpkin. This year, it's going to be relatively simple: a Dragon Quest slime.
The Dragon Quest series is rarely at the forefront of games I talk about as one of my favourites, but they actually are. I've played all the ones released on the DS and most recently - five days ago, in fact - finally finished the main story of the 3DS' Dragon Quest VII. I never had the chance to play it on the original PlayStation when it released all those years ago so I was incredibly excited to have the chance when the game re-released on my favourite Nintendo system.
After 103 hours, I'm once again in love with Dragon Quest. The series comprises some amazing games that often get overlooked. One of their problems are that they feel dated in combat (I mean, many of them are older games). The frequency of enemy encounters are usually way too high to be tolerable for extended periods of time, particularly in this day when combat of many modern JRPGs has vastly improved. But what's absolutely fantastic about them is always their deeply emotional stories. The other thing that's special about them is familiarity within their universe. Certain monsters appear in each entry and sells a journey that's nostalgic for fans of the series.
With Dragon Quest VII fresh on my mind, and my sister's introduction into the series' world with the very fun Dragon Quest Builders on the PS4, we've been on a DQ kick. And so, why not try to carve the games' mascot on a pumpkin this year? The only thing I am trying to figure out now is how to make it my favorite of the slimes: the evasive metal slimes, as opposed to an orange she-slime...
Those are some of our gaming plans for Halloween - feel free to share yours in the comments!