Life, The Universe And Gaming: “Real Gamers Have Finished Dark Souls”
Last week we previewed the upcoming From Software masochism simulator Dark Souls II for you guys. Now what you might not know is that prior to that, last week’s preview — which it was my turn to put out — was supposed to be Dying Light however the realisation that its release date had been pushed back forced a fresh start with a new game. At the time I had taken to Twitter to ask my beloved followers what game they would like previewed and amidst the various Final Fantasy XV and The Witcher 3 requests (both too far away) I got a Dark Souls II request, which I accepted. What happened next was a flurry of replies along the lines of, “But did you even finish the first one?” and, “Real gamers have finished Dark Souls.”
One of my university friends, whom I get on splendidly with IRL, actually followed that up with a tweet that went as follows: “Think you a gamer … beat Dark Souls ..”
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Harmless jab though it was, he wasn’t the only one who seemed to think so and it certainly warranted me starting up that Dark Souls II preview with an immediate disclaimer that went like so: “I’ve never finished the first Dark Souls but I gave it more than one solid go.” I figured that way I wouldn’t immediately be taken to task for previewing Dark Souls II and anyone who disagreed with someone who hasn’t finished Dark Souls previewing the sequel could just close the tab then and there and be done with it. Thankfully there wasn’t too much in the way of fanboy rage in the preview article itself… at least not until you go to its N4G page. Ouch.
And so I decided it was time to address this issue once and for all. Even though it’s totally been addressed literally billions of times before. Even though this particular discussion was going on before your respective deities created everything you know today. Even though nobody doesn’t know the song of the people that is about to sung right now. Fuck it. I feel like having a rant and right now, these Dark Souls fanboys, the so-called ‘gaming hardcore elite’, have pissed me the fuck off. So let’s do this, shall we?
First off, straight up, fuck Dark Souls.
I don’t think I’m less of a gamer or a person in general if I haven’t finished Dark Souls. I’m sorry but if difficulty is what makes someone a gamer then I have completed all of the Gears of War games on insane, I’ve completed both the Darksiders games on apocalyptic, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings on dark, nearly all of the Call of Duty games on veteran and even the Mass Effect games on insanity difficulty; I’d actually pay real money to see some of you Dark Souls hardcore gamer elites try to do even half of those. So no, difficulty is not the issue for me. (Sorry if that sounded boastful but in a discussion about Dark Souls fanboys… you get the idea.)
The real issue for me is time. A lot of people have time to throw hundreds of hours into an RPG. The last time I had that kind of time was when Skyrim was out and I gave it three weeks of non-stop gaming before putting it away and not even getting so much as an hour to get back into it after acquiring all of the DLC for it. Dark Souls is one of those games that requires hundreds of hours worth of time investment. Between doing game reviews and playing other games for myself (which happens so rarely these days) I just do not have the time for another hundreds-of-hours-long RPG the likes of Dark Souls.
It’s not about difficulty; it’s about time allowance.
Still, so many gamers will scoff at my not having completed the game as if it makes me less of gamer or a person in general and yet how many of you finished Dark Souls — to play your own game for a second — without resorting to guides or tips of some sort? How many of you actually played the game to completion? And yet you call yourselves hardcore. Excuse me for saying so but any game that requires you to do extensive research before making progress is not a game I would play in a hurry. And that’s not to say I don’t like a challenge, because I’ve played the Myst games and various other old puzzle titles the likes of which I guarantee a lot of Dark Souls players would struggle with. I finished Beneath A Steel Sky without a walkthrough, if that means anything to the kids reading this. It’s not about challenge, I assure you. I relish a challenge, and I will worship the ability of a game to educate me. But a game that presents vapid difficulty just for the sake of being difficult… I mean really, that’s like entering a relationship with someone you know is a creepy stalker who will ruin your life. And then wondering what happened.
I get that there’s a sense of achievement to be felt in Dark Souls and I get that the reward comes in figuring out the common sense route to take, but why can’t I be allowed to do that in my own time? Hell, Yahtzee only got around to Dark Souls this year. I currently don’t own a copy of Dark Souls, having returned the copy I had, but I plan on purchasing the game when next I come across it at a store. I plan on actually giving it another go, mostly because the completionist in me won’t allow me to just put it down and walk away, and because like I said, I do like a challenge. Even if it’s just egregiously masochistic difficulty.
But don’t frustrate me with your assumption that because I’m putting it off until later, I’m not worthy of the title of gamer. What the fuck even is the title of gamer meant to mean, then? I’ve played hundreds of games, a lot of them on the highest difficulty. I’ve spent hundreds of hours playing some of those games. There is nothing in Dark Souls that scares me or makes me apprehensive about playing it. I simply do not have the time for it right now, nor the willingness to have difficulty for the sake of difficulty shovelled constantly into my face.
Please tell me again how that makes me or anyone else like me any less of a gamer or a person in general, because I’d really honestly like to know.
As if Dark Souls is the qualifier for all gamers in order to call themselves gamers.
Bitch please, that’s Half-Life 2.