Thursday, 10 July 2014

Saying No to Dark Souls

Three evenings ago I punched my right leg numerous times and with great force. I stood up, the joints in my hand cracking as I squeezed them into sweaty fists. Nasal discharge oozed into my moustache and flecks of spittle flew from between gritted teeth.

In those brief moments I felt anything could happen. Fortunately my girlfriend Emma was there to sympathise with my loss and remind me that it's just a game.

The game was of course Dark Souls -- a videogame with a legendarily high level of challenge, beatable by those with the utmost patience and determination. It's a game I'd always wanted to play, but never got around to buying. That is until it became available for "free" via Microsoft's "Games With Gold" scheme.

I've played it everyday since downloading it, and have contemplated giving up for almost as many days. Personal bottlenecks such as the Taurus Demon, being cursed in The Depths, and the Blighttown swamps all had me close to breaking point. But for some reason, my death at the hands of a gang of tree people, a.k.a. Demonic Foliage, was the last straw.

The story goes that after opening the gates to Sen's Fortress, I backtracked to explore some of the areas I'd purposefully skipped in the past. That meant a trip to Ash Lake, Demon Ruins and the Darkroot Garden, slaying a Hydra, an Undead Dragon and a whole load of Tarus Demons before eventually meeting my death by the hands of Great Grey Wolf Sif -- loosing a hearty 15,000 souls.

I fought on and eventually managed to defeat the wolf, netting me a very handsome 40,000 souls. Minutes later I was slain by the aforementioned Demonic Foliage. A few more minutes later and I was killed by the same Demonic Foliage once more, rendering me soulless. All because I was too cocky to use a Homeward Bone.

I was legitimately upset. I could have leveled up several times with that many souls, or bought enough Titanite to upgrade my Eagle Shield and Elite Knight armour set. But I died. It was my fault, and I was angry.

It's strange to think that it wasn't the individual challenges presented by Dark Souls that made me walk away from the game. Instead, it was my own shock at the level of anger I reached due to my own, stupid mistakes that has made me take a break. After beating Great Grey Wolf Sif I felt like a Dark Souls champ, and so the game put me in my place.

I'm not quitting Dark Souls for good, I'm simply waiting an entire week to cool off and come back to the game without any silly thoughts of virtual revenge against virtual tree men for the death of my virtual avatar. In fact, I'm not playing any videogames at all, despite the fact that my girlfriend Emma recently bought a spiffing new computer.

I'm reading books instead.

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