It happened around the middle of last week. I looked at my pile of shame. It towered high, and I felt intimidated. Worse, there were only a handful of games on the pile I actually wanted to invest time in. Some I knew I wanted no part of — dull generic games — others felt as though they would require too much time. “Why am I doing this,” I asked myself. Isn’t Shameless Gaming supposed to be about playing the games you want to play, instead of the games you should be playing? It was at this point I made a bold decision.
Instead of racing to finish as many games as possible, I’ve decided to play just one game. For the entire month. A game I’ve been desperate to play since its release. A game I was worried to start because it seemed like too much of a time investment. A game I always pushed aside for new releases.
That game is Dark Souls.
For the remainder of Shameless Gaming month, I’m going to remove the pressure of playing and finishing as many games as possible. I’m going to toss that monkey from my back, because that stress is almost the precise same pressure I have to deal with throughout the year — I want July to be about playing the games I want to play.
The game I want to play is Dark Souls.
The second I made that decision, I knew it was the correct one. The relief was palpable. I had tried Dark Souls before, but turned it off the second I stopped making tangible progress, because the stress of completing games as quickly as possible is supremely overbearing when you feel as though you have a constant deadline. Now, with the rest of the month cordoned off for the purpose of playing Dark Souls, I can really concentrate on enjoying the process.
Dark Souls is a difficult game. Progress comes through dedicated, hard work. I spent two hours on Sunday, playing through one section. Making no progress in terms of checkpoints, just slowly levelling up, learning how to play the game — lesson by lesson. Instead of feeling the frustration of building pressure in my chest, I felt relief. There was no rush. I was doing this because it was fun, because I was learning a skill. I was playing Dark Souls to relax — this was a leisure activity. I was playing because I wanted to.
I felt liberated. As though video games had suddenly become fun again.