Thanksgiving Treat is Holiday Horror at Its Best
I’m having an Avengers moment. “You couldn’t live with your own failure. Where did that bring you? Back to me”. I imagine that’s how Itch.io is feeling about me right now. I searched far and wide for a Thanksgiving horror game as the holiday is fast approaching. I wanted to make little jokes about a game set on Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, whereas Christmas has so many horror games I could write editorials about them for years, I could only find one. single. Thanksgiving. horror. game. Naturally, this bit of weirdness, known as Thanksgiving Treat, has come straight from some of the top minds at Haunted PS1. The thing is, I’m not sure I was supposed to find this.
You see, games made by the folks at Haunted PS1 are usually big events. Go and check any of the pages for their demo discs and you’ll see hundreds of comments, lots of ratings, and generally lots of activity. Thanksgiving Treat has none of that. It has one lone 5 star review. I was intrigued. The description said it was 3 hours long. I was even more intrigued. I downloaded it and found that it was only 52Mb. There is no way this is 3 hours long, I whispered to myself. There was a sneaking suspicion that this wasn’t for me.
You see, I’m a member of the Haunted PS1 Discord server, but I wouldn’t consider myself as “part” of the community. I keep track of their releases and play their games, but I don’t know their in-jokes and their running gags. I say this because I think Thanksgiving Treat is some dense form of in-joke that I was never meant to understand. A side effect of this is that its incomprehensible nature comes off as surreal and off-putting. You play as Micah, a person made out of cooked turkey (dong included). You start the game standing on a plate, being watched over by two giants. One is a scarecrow with a pumpkin head, and the other is best described as, a lump of clay brought to terrifying sentience by the power of dark magicks.
You can move around the plate and eat food under the watchful eyes of these Thanksgiving gods. The plate, the giants, Micah; they’re all in this large Thanksgiving void, with scrolling images of cranberries and other festive items. There is discordant piano music over the festivities. It’s off-tune and strangely sad, like a drunk trying to sing Sweet Caroline. You can scroll up and down, and scrolling as close as you can to Micah “rewards” you with a techno-backed chant of “happy Thanksgiving” in a chipmunk voice. Do you understand the madness I’m explaining?
You can seemingly scroll out forever, until the giants, Micah, and the plate become invisible, and you’re trapped in a void of festive imagery while the discordant piano tunes of Charles Ray, the Ray Charles impersonator who is bad, as a bit, continue playing in the background. It gives one a sense of dissociation. I just wanted to find a scary Thanksgiving game to write about, not some dadaist interpretation of every Discord joke ever made. It was scary. It’s terrifying, actually. It feels like something no one was meant to find. For Christ’s sake it wasn’t even released on Thanksgiving! According to Itch it came out March of 2022. What?
This is an undertaking I should have left alone. There was plenty for me to write about, but now I’ve stumbled upon the end of all things. I feel like an early 1900’s explorer opening a cursed tomb. I didn’t know any better, and the warnings were in a language of dense in-jokes I didn’t understand. The scariest part is: What if these aren’t in-jokes? What if this nightmare imagery sprang fully-formed from the creator, Feverdream Johnny? Is Thanksgiving Treat some sort of low-level curse? I can’t wrap my brain around the existence of Thanksgiving Treat.
I shouldn’t complain. It succeeds at what I was looking for. I wanted Thanksgiving horror, but now that I’ve found it, I don’t know if I’ll ever be the same. Heed my warning: Don’t go looking for Thanksgiving Treat. Don’t plumb the depths of the internet searching for this game. Don’t do what I did. Just follow this link, it’s much easier. HERE.