Dark Souls or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love FromSoftware
Never in a million years
Because of this ethos, I never even considered the idea of playing a game like Dark Souls. I remember when Demon’s Souls came out and people were talking about taking two dozen deaths to a single boss early in the game, and that didn’t remotely sound like anything resembling fun to me. I grew up in the 8 bit era. We owned games like Ghosts n’ Goblins and Battletoads. We went to arcades and played games designed to empty our pockets of quarters with ruthless efficiency. It was an era that passed. For a reason. Coming back to games like this was like the gaming equivalent of a kid being told to eat broccoli when there are french fries right over there waiting for him. It’s perhaps a bit of a stretch metaphor to call playing Bioshock 2 on easy french fries and Demon’s Souls as broccoli (or insert other perceived disgusting veggie here, which I honestly should have done because hey, I like me some broccoli), but hopefully you catch my drift. Why would I play something so stressful, so harrowing and so frustrating when I’m specifically using gaming as a release, as a source of fun. What’s fun about dying a bunch of times, especially with a game that seems to take particular glee in doing that to me, flashing YOU DIED on the screen in blood-red font every time you receive a killing blow. These games revel in your misery. That’s part of the fun, after all.
Just in case you weren't sure what happened
I did try my hands at a From Software murder-thon eventually, choosing to pick up Bloodborne shortly after its release in spring 2015. It was a big PS4 exclusive release that had gotten a rapturous response, and the creepy Victorian horror setting was a big bonus for me (I’m not as in to medieval swords and sorcery and dragons and stuff as some may be). I didn’t even know about the cosmic Lovecraftian elements that lurked beneath the surface! And I am a huge sucker for cosmic horror. So I bought it on a whim, tried it, and hated it. It didn’t help that Bloodborne was cursed with absurdly long load times at launch, meaning every time I died I was forced to look at a black screen with "Bloodborne" written in fancy white text for 30 to 45 seconds (or more). And, this being a From Software Souls-style game, I died a lot. It took hours for me to fight my way through the opening section of Central Yharnam, dying to the first enemies in the game (hell, I had to look up on the internet how to get a weapon, because even that wasn’t obvious and I spent an embarrassing time trying to fight with my fists) eventually staggering over to the domain of the Cleric Beast, dying horribly a few times and giving up for good. Clearly I was right. Clearly these games weren’t for me.
I feel like I spent more time looking at this screen than actually playing the game
The hooks had sunk in deep
Here we go
What a jerk
Once more into the breach