Shameless Gaming: Plan B

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.


Comments

    OH GOD NO WHAT ARE YOU THINKING MARK YOU ALMOST SAW THE AFTERLIFE DUE TO MICROSLEEPING NOW YOU WANNA LET FROM SOFTWARE IN YOUR HOUSE? WHATS NEXT? YOU GONNA SET FIRE TO YOUR HAIR? COSPLAY AS WILLIAM WALLACE?

    lol.. he'll definitely be not getting much sleep now :)

    I am struggling to finish a single game I had a plan of a few games I could knuckle down on, and I was doing SO WELL at finishing games and I'd actually gone back and done a few old onces. It's like as soon as July started, all that ended.

    I've barely played anything. 2 weekends running I've said I'll finish Prototype 2 then move onto Alan Wake. What'd I do? Minecraft. Bought games off steam. Went back to playing Minecraft.

    I don't feel bad about my purchase choices (I mean, you don't really finish Civilization games, so they haven't added to my pile of shame), but the only time I've held an Xbox controller in the last week was to help my wife clear out a bunch of obsidian in her Minecraft world.

    I am terrible at this.

    being a zombie from polyphasic sleep probably makes this game easy. Every so often you think you have it down pat and have 'beaten' the system and then it slaps you hard again.

    Playing Dark Souls to relax....?

      Mark's sanity has never been in doubt.

      It just never existed.

        You do relax while playing dark souls, but only while you are looking at the mushroom men :D

    Play the games you want to play. Now there's a lesson for all of us.

    I finally completed Dark Souls last night.

    It took me 47 hours all up. I probably missed heaps of stuff as well.

    Not to mention the 30 or so hours of my previous partial playthrough that I lost in The Great YLOD of 2012.

    Now NG+ is tempting me but I think I might move onto another game.

    Awesome choice. I should really do the same! I got to Anor Londo, and stopped for no reason...

      I managed to kill the Capra demon, ran into another player who managed to backstab me while I was a decent distance away (and facing him).

      Decided that I was done with things for now. That was a few months ago and I just haven't felt the urge to pick it back up. Will probably have to start from scratch. Offline because of that damned lag.

        Yep, I got backstabbed from a great distance once, and since then have played offline.

    Ask yourself "Why did I die?". Find the cause, don't do it again, repeat. This is how you win.

    I couldn't agree more. I started playing this a week ago, and my faith in games has been restored.

    I'd liken it to 90's gaming, when there was actually a challenge to the game. I think it really has a good balance of modern aspects mixed in with it.

      You should check out my game Lunar Flight if challenging games that expect something from you is your thing. :)

      It's also currently on sale on Steam %50 off: http://store.steampowered.com/app/208600/

    I can totally relate to this, there seems to be a never ending pile of games vying for my attention. I wish I had the discipline to just play one of them to get the most out of it.

    There's no law that says you have to finish every game you buy. Games are supposed to be fun, if they aren't then they lose all purpose. That's when it's time to either sell it, trade it or just... god forbid, not play it. Stop buying so many games if you can't finish them, I mean seriously you have to think sometimes - does it border on an unhealthy obsession? I do the same thing and it's down right stupid. I waste too much money on games I will never finish just because they're there. It's a habit and an expensive one.

      Buying games can be a bit of a compulsion for some people. Other times, you simply don't have the time to play something when you buy it and then forget about it.

      You don't have to finish everything you buy, but sometimes it's nice to go back and play the games you've forgotten about to see what you missed out on.

        I buy a lot of games I'd like to play, but then never find the time. However, thats usually during the steam sale. I've only bought one game that cost more than $5 that I haven't played - it was kingdoms of amalur, and I had massivr Skyrim fatigue by that point.

    I reached anor londor, but i cant progress till i kill the mother fucken wolf! Hes a hard bastard

      Sure you can. You can kill the wolf second last if you want. It doesn't stop you from progressing in other areas.

      You mean Sif? I ended up fighting him late in the game and found him really easy to beat. Of course, it also depends on your build (Mine was tank). I basically just tried to stay to his sides and tail and hacked like a madman at his ankles. You shouldn't need to defeat him until after your first visit to Anor Londo though, or did you mean New Londo ruins?

    Basically the best game ever yeah. Enjoy it Mark.

    Great choice. Completing Dark Souls made me a better person. Should be compulsory in schools.

    Dark Souls is definitely a game you play slowly. Trying to rush through it is like gulping down a fancy wine.

    I had a similar epiphany the other day when I found myself pushing through my current game as fast as I could. It's one thing to try and shrink your pile of shame, but to do so at the cost of enjoyment defeats the purpose of having the game in your Pile of Shame (to play a game you enjoy).

      I platinumed it in a week. :D
      but then according to PSN profiles I was the first Australian to get the plat... so perhaps that makes me the exception rather than the rule. So pumped for August, moar Dark Souls!

    excellent choice for this months worht of gaming, got it recently myself and love it to death.
    IO've lost count of how many times i've died in it but i have recently discovered the joy of co-op play in this and have played with some great players online (and killed/been killed by many invaders too)
    Have fun with it Mark and enjoy jolly co-operation!

    Right on, great choice Mark. The trickiest thing with Dark Souls is trying to find that perfect balance between looking up enough information to understand how everything works , but not looking up too much and spoiling the game for you!

    I've not yet played Dark Souls (and you call yourself a GAMER?!?!?!?!?), anyhoo, I have been working on a quite challenging game from my pile of shame.. Lego Batman. It's pretty cool, probably not quite as difficult as Dark Souls tho...

    So Shameless Gaming Month is no longer a 'thing'? It's just 'play any game you want' month.

    I approve of this decision wholeheartedly.
    In a few weeks I'll most likely have a new TV and I'll finally be able to continue Dark Souls. I don't want my poor character to be stuck in Sen's Fortress for all eternity.

    Yep I'm doing the same thing, Dark Souls shall be mine. After putting it down for a good 3-6 months I'm getting back into it and making heaps of progress - but christ it punishes you the second you get into a new area *looks at you Sen's Fortress*.

    Also I'm fairly sure I gimped my character's stats so he's a bit crap.

    Egad. I got stuck about an hour in and haven't played it since, as much as I want to.

    I've started playing Bastion. It's the only thing I've played this month that isn't a 3ds game. I've had a massive headache this past weekend which brought things to a halt though. I think I'm over that now, so I'll start playing again today.

    I decided on the weekend to finally get around to finishing Assassins Creed 2, which I was half way through. Picked it up and realised I forgot what I was doing and how to play it.

    So now, I'm back to the drawing board and restarting the game from the start. Not playing any other games until this is complete.

    My shameless gaming has fallen by the wayside a little - I started Dead Space, but like every other time I've started Dead Space, I stopped starting Dead Space pretty soon after I started it. I've still got another couple of weeks though ... just gotta bust Quantum Conundrum first.

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