Storytelling in Dark Souls: Ambiguity or Arrested Adolescence?

DARK SOULS BABY

DARK. DARK like my SO- oh, wait, that’s just redundant.

I love Dark Souls. I’d have to – I’ve invested over 100 hours and I don’t plan on stopping. It’s a great series and well deserving of most of the excessive praise it gets.

Most of, because a ton of that praise focuses on the game’s approach to its story; something I struggle to understand since it doesn’t have one.

You see fanboys throwing around statements like…

‘You just have to work to get it.’

Well yes and no, because you work like fuck to get it and what you get is fuck all. Dark Souls tells its story in tiny scraps which don’t ever piece together into a big picture.

Some details can be found by chance, but these are infrequent, easily missable, and invariably insubstantial. Weapon descriptions and snippets of character dialogue may hide the backstories of bosses or some small fragment of overarching story, but more often than not these things simply go unexplained. And even if you go to the bother of collecting them, these hidden details barely add to the story. They’re snippets of a nonexistent whole.

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Between a Rock, Paper, Shotgun and a Hard Place

The Rock, Paper, Shotgun community is terrifyingly hostile to women and there’s nothing RPS can do to fix it.

Yeah, we’re gonna start this on a downer and work our way up. There’s a light at the end of this. Well, thoughts about a light, at least. There’s visualisations of a desk lamp at the end of this.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the fuck out of RPS. It’s the only gaming site I visit regularly. When I see one of their contributors elsewhere, I perk up a bit and check out the piece. But you can’t say their vocal reader base is…without its issues.

In the comments for yesterday’s Blizzard interview, a cool dude calling himself Wulf summed the problem up nicely:

This is why you don’t get many women posting on sites like this. Even if some of the articles are supportive, the comments are anywhere between misogynistic and sociopathic.

But don’t be surprised if there are women out there who talk in places you don’t visit in rather disappointed tones about you. Exactly you. Shaking their head, at you, because they can’t help but see you as a little bit sad.

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GTA V is a Casual Game

GTACasual

GTA V is a casual game because it is played by casual gamers. It is also played by guys who keep the fridge by the sofa and piss into empty bottles to avoid putting down the controller, and a whole bunch of people inbetween.

But the biggest market, the ones who are going to really be driving the sales, are people who like to play something brainless when there’s nothing good on and the pub seems too far away.

Like my neighbour: a gym bunny who plays local league footie and only turns on the Xbox when both those pursuits are off. Or if the salmon fishing has been cancelled this weekend. And he will be playing GTA V, because he chooses games by walking into GAME and walking out with whatever looks brainless and shooty. His current way of wiling away the half-hours is Sniper Elite V2.

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Evony 2: Electric Boobaloo

MyOwnRisk

‘Men Only’, it says. Because there is nothing more heterosexual than a group of guys isolated from the opposite sex and basking in the glow of each other’s horniness. It’s why the Royal Navy has always been so famously straight.

Wartune is a browser-based RPG. My brief glances at its website haven’t revealed anything that might keep a person busy for weeks, but I admit tits are not my area of expertise. Maybe the game is full of them. Maybe it is full to bursting point with barely-covered knockers. Maybe it is actually set on a single, mountainous breast.

Like I said, tits aren’t exactly my area of expertise.

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Kojima’s Financial Focus Creates Shoddy Characters

When you gaze into the cleavage, the cleavage also gazes into at you.

When you gaze into the cleavage, the cleavage also gazes into you.

With Corporal Wonderbra being shoved in your face, it’s difficult to notice pretty much anything else accompanying the awfulness. One thing seems to have been overlooked, though: Kojima said he designs characters with the primary intent “to make u [sic] want to do cosplay or its figurine to sell well”.

At first I wasn’t sure if he was serious as, up until now, I understood that the man was valued as a fantastic – if overcomplicated – storyteller who could create rich and interesting characters. But then I saw the accompanying woman who could fit all of her clothing into the holster of her gun and wondered how rich and interesting fishnet-wrapped thighs could be.

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Fallen London is a Lousy Sandwich

'BLT Sandwich + Fries' by punctuated on Flickr, used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

Fallen London is a lousy sandwich.

For years I resisted playing it, knowing from the barest descriptions that this game would hook me like cocaine. But last night, in a moment of weakness, I gave in, hid my wallet, and signed up.

It’s…not been the addictive marathon I was dreading.

I understand the theory1 behind the dragged-out, drip-fed mechanics: to stop players from gorging themselves sick. To show them this perfect sandwich, where the bacon is just the right side of crunchy and the lettuce is crisp and the tomatoes, oh, the tomatoes, and to allow them one scrumptious, savoury bite and then to take it away. The anticipation will make the bread softer, the mayonnaise…marginally less disgusting, and the whole experience will just be one of delicately delayed bliss.

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Why Thief 4 Needs to be a Reboot

ThiefWanted

Why does Thief Mk2 need to be a reboot? Because industrialisation, bitches.

Despite the previous games’ themes of magic vs. technology, there hasn’t been any room for technology vs. artisans. Cogs and levers are too integrated into the setting; you might as well do The People of London vs. Indoor Plumbing. Yes, we haven’t seen any evidence of, say, widespread machine weaving but they can sort out a functional artificial eye, I think they could knock together a clockwork loom.

There is, technically, space for it in the current incarnation of Thief, but you’re gonna need a shoehorn and a mallet to get it in there. In fact, you’re going to need that combo to fit anything into current Thief canon. That timeline’s fuller than Arkham graveyard after a full moon.

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Violence and Vitriol: Answering the Call of Duty

'Day 365: Triangular Tea Bag' by emily.laurel504 on Flickr, used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

Pictured here: a subtle metaphor.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally written for academic purposes, and is not necessarily directed towards gamers. It has, however, been edited somewhat, as all you motherfuckers know what a camper is and are also capable of reading the word motherfucker.

As much as I’d like to tell you that any preconceptions you had of online gamers were misguided and ill-informed, I regret to say I cannot. Aside from a small handful of genuinely lovely folk, chatting online is tantamount to seating yourself amongst the opposition at a football match: unless you’re an emotional masochist or looking for a violent debate, I wouldn’t recommend it.

The vitriolic rambling of pre-pubescent players in Call of Duty can resemble a domestic argument at best, and hate speech at worst – curse-laden complaints, vehement insults, and acidic accusations of foul-play are enough to scorch the ears of any unsuspecting individual. But why is it so, and does it have to be this way? It does, because Call of Duty lacks any kind of established social-norm and the guise of anonymity shatters any sense of public shame, allowing ill-manners and impoliteness to run rampant.

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Dead Rising 3: Our Artistic Vision Only Comes in Greyscale

There’s a reason The Walking Dead doesn’t let you wear a shark suit.

It’s because The Walking Dead is a serious game with serious consequences and serious characters and a serious message on society. I come back to The Walking Dead each few weeks to see how the characters continue to cope with their situation, to see how the gang of survivors carry on surviving. I’m engaged with its story. That is not Dead Rising.

DeadRisingWoo

Is Dead Rising. Trying to treat B-Movie: The Game as a serious piece of art is like adapting The Very Hungry Caterpillar into a parable about the futility of greed.

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Who Cares About Games on the Xbox One?

XboxOne

We’re really going to tell one story across two events. So we’re going to start on the 21st. And really that’s about revealing the next Xbox platform, really our vision for the future of games, the future of entertainment.” – Alan Greenburg, Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Chief of Staff.

To me, that’s pretty fucking clear. This event, this console reveal, was not about the games. It wasn’t ever intended to be about the games; it was about the Xbox One and what it could do. Not what could go in it. Not what was going to come to it. What it offered. What’s that, you say? You missed this announcement? No. No. You. Did. Not.

E3 will be all about the games,

Like crystal.

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