An Entire Stadium Went Nuts for a Small Indie Game, Pride, and the Threat of Axe Based Violence

At yesterday’s Portland Timbers game, fans erected a huge mural for Pride, featuring the main character from indie game Night In The Woods wielding an axe.

The Timbers Army is an independent group of fans who gather together to create what soccer and European football fans call tifo, which are huge pieces of art to display their fandom. They’ve used figures from popular culture, like Freddy Krueger from Nightmare on Elm St., in their works before. Their pride-related mural from yesterday not only included an enormous painting of Mae Borowski, the humanoid cat main character from Night in the Woods, but also mimicked the font, color scheme, and general aesthetic from the game. Their tifo read, “From Stonewall a brick, and Portland an axe, respect our pride or expect our wrath,” with other fans holding up signs with anti-LGBTQ legislation to “axe,” as it were.

Night in the Woods, a hit indie game from developers Infinite Fall, is about the trials and tribulations of a small group of friends in the fictional Rust Belt town of Possum Springs. While the game goes a lot of places, the characters it’s concerned with are also dealing with the stagnation of their hometown, being queer, and having urgent mental health crises. While Mae wields a baseball bat rather than an axe, this game does encompass the themes of solidarity and pride that Timbers’ fans expressed in their mural.

Scott Benson, one of the lead developers on Night in the Woods, told Waypoint that he thought the tifo was really cool to see.

“Really pleased that Mae keeps popping up in cool places and for cool reasons,” he said. “Seeing a giant bootleg version of a character you drew in your apartment years back used as a giant representation of resistance and survival during a time of reactionary violence and increased danger is really something. We support the message and the implied threat of axe violence.”


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