Light 'em up
Step into any candle store and you'll be met with walls of scented wax with names like Summer S'mores and London Calling. You'll look at the label and think, "Huh, I can't imagine that scent could exist in this wax," before popping the cap and drawing a deep breath. Suddenly you're a teenager again, sitting around a campfire and lowering a marshmallow into a fire. Suddenly, you're aboard a majestic ship packed with crates of fragrant teas in search of the Isle of Lavender. Candles can transport you to a memory long lost, or bring you to a place you never knew existed. And, when mixed with video games, candles can fully immerse you into the world on the screen.
Light a wick or two and suddenly you're there, seeing the sights with your eyes, hearing the sounds with your ears, feeling the rumble with your hands, and, yes, smelling the smell with your nose. Scent is a criminally underutilized tool when attempting to evoke emotion, but it's not that difficult to bridge the gap and bring one more sense along for the ride.
The Last of Us
Candle suggestion: Honeysuckle
Overgrown and retaken by nature, the future is both beautiful and bleak in The Last of Us. Every location Joel and Ellie travel through is covered in vines, flowers, fungus, and plant life, showing a world no longer under the control of man. While the characters never discuss the smell, we've found that lighting a three-wick Honeysuckle candle does a great job at immersing us in the natural world. Its smell is unmistakable, reminding us of an innocent, childish walk through the forest. And yet, despite being a pleasant aroma, the scent is so strong that it might make you somewhat light headed while you play--further enhancing the setting.
Candle suggestion: Summer Boardwalk (with Paris Daydream lit in another room)
Columbia isn't so much a floating city as it is a floating island--every block sees out into the great beyond. This is likely why most of Columbia looks like a boardwalk or a beach town--the entire thing is oceanfront property. We suggest lighting the Summer Boardwalk three-wick candle, as it favors the smells of caramel corn and warm taffy-apples. But there's more to Columbia than happy Americana, and it's not hard to layer that mystery into the aroma as well. Light a Paris Daydream one-wick candle and put it in another room. You'll still catch a whiff of it every so often, but it'll be covered in the faade of Columbia, reminding all of your senses that things aren't what they seem.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf
Candle suggestion: Depends on your native fruit
This one is fairly simple--when you boot up your game and arrive in your town, you'll find one of five fruits that grow naturally. These "native fruits" have been growing here for years, and we assume that the town has to, at least in some part, have taken on the scent of the fruit. Luckily, candle-makers have you covered, whether you have apples (Country Apple), Cherries (Japanese Cherry Blossom), Oranges (Caribbean Salsa), Peaches (Market Peach), and Pears (Passion Flower). While not all of them directly match the fruit in question, they'll still give a good analog for the real thing.
Metro: Last Light
Candle suggestion: Lilac Blossom, Strawberry Picnic, Juniper Breeze
This is going to sound strange, but we need you to work with us for a minute. Metro: Last Light is a game of duality, with around half of the 10-hour long story taking place in the dingy, dirty subways of Russia and the other half being outside in the free, natural world. When you're underground don't bother with a candle--odds are your gaming room smells like a rotting sewer already. When you get outside, though, light up the Lilac Blossom, the Strawberry Picnic, and the Juniper Breeze. Breathe in deep. The scent will hit you like a wall, as it should. It'll be jarring and emotional.
Dead Island: Riptide
Candle suggestion: Meet Me In Tahiti - White Sands & Vanilla Flower, Spice
You're going to want a good base smell for Dead Island: Riptide. Set on a tropical island, the pseudo-sequel brings you into a tropical nightmare, and while the island in question isn't technically Tahiti, we have no reason to think it'll smell much different. Well, besides the smell of decaying corpses falling off the undead horde--a smell we assume you won't look to replicate with a candle. Obviously there's no Rotting Flesh Delight candle, but there is Spice, a pleasant, although strong odor that'll do the trick.
Candle suggestion: Oceanside, Tropical Spice, Aloha Waikiki
There are plenty of different "island" scents available, all hoping to evoke the feeling of a luau on the white sands of Hawaii. Oddly, there's none that immediately screams "scary island full of pirates and cultists," so you're going to have to use a mix. Have Oceanside burning nonstop--the scent of the sea will be cast over the island at all times--but be prepared to light up Aloha Waikiki whenever you move inland. During large, epic battles you should light up Tropical Spice, bringing the biting scent of the fire into the room. And when you enter a tomb? Blow them all out at the same time, and allow the scent of burnt sulfur to fill your nostrils as you delve ancient, untouched catacombs.
Candles, candles everywhere
Well, that's your last few months of gaming taken care of. Now you, too, can enter the fourth dimension of gaming like we have, inhaling the aroma of the virtual worlds you're playing in. Do you have any candle tips you'd recommend to gamers desperate for immersion? Mention them in the comments, below!