From Software: The Art of Ass-whoopin'

These are dark times. The Kardashians are at the top of their reign over mankind. We had to chose whether to stay with Dad (Trump) or Mom (Clinton) after the divorce, when we didn't want to deal with it at all. McDonald's brought the McRib back for the millionth time. The world is a terrifying place. In this era of skyrocketing blood pressure, people are always looking to take the easy way out, with video games being no such exception.

I remember the exact moment years ago when the realization hit that games just aren't challenging enough anymore. I’m not talking about playing the story mode over again on a higher difficulty where enemies have more life and inflict more damage. I’m talking about being truly challenging; having to learn the in’s and out’s of everything to be successful. There’s nothing worse than buying a game, and within a few days, storing it away to collect dust or trading it in for 2 dollars at GameStop. You'd think that designers would want to make the most challenging games to stand apart from the competition, but it seems like they've given up on creating tough experiences in fear that people will steer away from them. Maybe they've just given in to serving people the instant gratification that they crave.

There are way too many games that spread their legs for anyone. Wouldn't it be nice if there were still some classy games out there? You know...the ones that make you wait until the 10th date and make you work for it? Enter From Software. If you have no clue who they are, please look them up because you're a heathen and need to be enlightened. These guys have been making some of the most challenging (and fun) games in recent years. It began with the first released title Demon's Souls in 2009, and has since then continued with the Dark Souls series and Bloodborne. Do a little research on these games and you'll likely find a plethora (yes I used plethora) of experiences ranging from controllers being chucked at televisions to screams of suffering resonating through late nights to pure ecstasy reached only by beating something fought 46 times in a row.

My first From Software experience happened at friend's house. My buddy and I were playing guitar when we heard cries coming from the living room. It turns out his twelve year-old brother was getting slaughtered over and over again by something called the "Cleric Beast". It was at that moment the almighty power of the Universe threw Bloodborne into my life and showed me how weak I truly was. All I could hear was, "In Soviet Russia, game plays you."

I bought Bloodborne the next day because the game had to be destroyed. It took a lot of pain, but I finally got it. Remember that instant gratification you so desperately crave? Yeah? Well, From Software sees your need for it and raises you a big, old, steamy dump. They simply don't care. This is exactly what's beautiful about these games. You die a lot. A lot a lot. But each time you rise stronger than before, and even though you think you're still failing, you're actually learning. Trust me when I say everything will eventually make sense.

I don’t want to spoil too much about these games. You really need to just dive in. My best advice is to stay calm and throw all your current gaming habits out the window. And for God sake’s…PARRY! I’m currently working on Dark Souls 3, chipping away through one emotional breakdown at a time. I tip my hat off to you, From Software. Thank you for making me feel like a helpless child again. I think we all need a good ass-whooping once in a while to clear our minds and bring us back down to Earth.

© 2018 by William Davis.