The car pulls into the driveway on a chilling Friday night some time in the middle of November. The stars shine through the crystal clear air as a brisk gust of wind blows orange, brown, and purple leaves past glowing street lights. The warmth of inside cures the shivers and goosebumps. A match strikes and a flame erupts in the fire place. An inviting controller waits on the cushy couch.
Now that the stage is set, it’s time to go through a few cozy games perfect for this autumn evening.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Developer Bethesda Softworks did nothing short of a masterful job creating the ice cold landscape of Skyrim. Although the land is treacherous and scores of bandits, wildlife, and dragons live only to kill questing heroes, the cities and villages refresh and warm up the soul. There are few games more immersive and relaxing than this fantasy adventure.
Staying inside is always the comfiest way to go. So when outside is the bottom of the ocean, staying in is pretty much all that’s possible. Make the situation even better by painting the inside as an art deco, dystopia, complete with a classy, jazz lounge music. First time players of Bioshock, from developer Irrational Games, may find it creepy and unsettling, but on the second or third play-through it feels like going home.
I can really only speak for New Leaf on 3DS, but all the other games in Nintendo’s Animal Crossing franchise share the same comfortable charm. The games run in real time, meaning 24 in-game hours equals 24 real-time hours. Take a stroll through the town and enjoy the cycling music that serenades and soothes. Tend to the gardens and enjoy a pleasant chat with neighbors. Grab a coffee at The Roost or sit on a bench and gaze up at the shimmering stars. Shake the trees and gather some fruit. Collect furniture and set up that super comfy room back at the house.
The dynamic music, glowing visuals, and inspiring storytelling make Journey, from developer That Game Company, one of the most beautiful games ever made. The game takes plays on a path that is a physical representation of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey. It doesn’t last long, but it leaves players feeling warm and contemplative with a craving for a re-play.
Grand Theft Auto
My personal favorite is Grand Theft Auto IV, but it’s really up to player preference. The best part about GTA is that the story isn’t necessary. Driving around and taking in the environment and world is just plain fun. Whether it’s a shootout with a gang, a race through the streets, or a flight across the skyline, the open worlds of Liberty City, Vice City, and San Andreas offer hours of what feels like meditation.