When I thought about Shameless Gaming month, and the games I truly wanted to catch up on? The only one that really mattered, the only game that started a wee fire in my belly. And now, a week later — as a man who enjoys the basic pleasure of having a game brutally punish me over and over — I'm having an absolute blast.
Many words have been written in praise of Dark Souls, so I'll try and keep mine concise. Much has been said about the difficulty level of the game, how unforgiving it is. But my favourite aspect of Dark Souls is the universe — how sparse the universe is, how little it gives you, but how powerful that is. That minimalism. I want to learn about the game — I want to learn its systems, how the combat works, what other areas of the world look like, I want to engross myself in this place because it's so mysterious.
Dark Souls often clicks into place like an intricate jigsaw puzzle, but leaves enough rough ends to lend itself a real feeling of authenticity. The world is seamlessly put together. Like the best games — like Metroid Prime, A Link To The Past — it interlocks. It makes sense, it feels beautiful. It's a space to play in, but it's also a place.
So Dark Souls is difficult. But that isn't what defines that game, it's just a small aspect of it. Dark Souls is difficult for a reason — it forces you to learn its intricacies. It would be a dull game if it was easier. In this case intense difficulty is simply a smart design decision, it forces you to plumb the depths and learn the game. Over the weekend I put about four hours into the game and made barely any progress in terms of checkpoints, but I feel like I've grown in my understanding of how the game works — and that in itself is enough reward.
So yeah, in terms of Shameless Gaming, my progress has been terrible, but I'm taking solace in the fact that this month has allowed me to invest time in a game I've always wanted to play, but avoided. Having the freedom to spend time with older games you've been longing to play is what Shameless Gaming is all about, and I've been having the time of my life!
What is Shameless Gaming? Well, I’m glad you asked! Shameless Gaming is Kotaku’s version of Dry July, a month where we ignore new releases and play through our video gaming pile of shame together. We take all those unfinished, ignored games, the ones we cast aside, and we give them the attention they deserve! Join in!