Thanks to the international date line, my weekend was devoid of any Oscar parties. Instead, lots of videogames.
Dark Souls claimed my entire Sunday afternoon. If you are an RPG fan but don't want to get into Dark Souls because "it's too hard," just embrace it. You'll thank me later.
I thought of Dark Souls today as I read this great editorial on Nightmare Mode about how videogames have become domesticated: holding the player's hand and always telling them where to go.
Like taking the training wheels off your bike for the first time, getting into a game like Dark Souls that doesn't assist the player is initially scary, but ultimately empowering. At the outset of my Dark Souls adventure, I kept the game's official wiki in reach. You know, just in case something went wrong. A few boss fights later, I found that I wasn't using the wiki at all anymore.
Seeing a bizarre enemy come out of the woodwork, hanging back while figuring out its weakness, and executing on it, is a visceral experience. And there are no NPCs, minimaps, compass arrows, or even musical cues that let you know what you are in for.
I also dove back into the DS version of Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective. After a year-long hiatus from the game, I decided to pick it back up to ease the monotony of a long train ride. I love the unique touch that designer Shu Takumi provides to the colorful characters and intriguing storyline. Check this gem out on iOS if you have the time; the introductory chapter is free.
On the other hand, if you left Ghost Trick a while ago and want to pick it back up, know that the game's start menu does a really good job of summarizing all the characters and relevant plot details. It took me about 5 minutes for a full refresher.
Finally, I sunk a few hours into Planescape: Torment. This is a game I go back to every once in a while for good reason. If you appreciate writing in games, you really should head over to GOG and buy a copy. I sit back about once every hour of play and think, "wow! That is a great sentence."
My current queue of games is going to get turned upside down when Mass Effect 3 releases later this week, but I will try to make another sizeable dent in Dark Souls before Shepard has to save the galaxy.