Ahh, 2011. The year in which we were supposed to have the Rapture (twice), the year of the Arab Spring, of Occupy, of the Whipping Judge and Pepper Spray Cop. The year of Steerpike’s Neglecting To Get His Carpets Shampooed, Even Though They Need It. The year of the release of Titus Awakes, which I haven’t finished but which probably doesn’t include my namesake since he died in Titus Groan. The year Brandon, Amanda, Bearwhale, and Ravious joined us as contributors. The year I gained weight, and the year I played games.
As it happens, all the games I rank below came out in 2011, though that’s not a rule. Our objective is to tell you about the games that we’ll remember most from 2011, whether they shipped that year or a decade before. And we’re each taking it in our stride – ranking, rambling, sorting. There are no rules. These are the ones that stick out in my mind. Some made me irresponsibly happy. Others made me inconceivably sad. I leave the rest to you, because I love you all, and I wish you a glorious 2012. If the world doesn’t end in December, be sure we’ll return with that year’s batch.
Let’s begin the countdown!
I was especially intrigued by Brandon’s comments about Uncharted 3, since I haven’t finished it yet and include it on my list largely because though I’ve only had the game since Christmas, it’s slurped up a disproportionate amount of my time. Paraphrased, he said that Uncharted 3 took the near-perfect formula of its predecessor, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and… didn’t follow it.
…especially in the case of Naughty Dog’s pulp adventure, I stare and stare and cannot figure out what made them think that certain design decisions were good ones.
At Chapter 14-ish, I’ve found mostly delight in Naughty Dog’s latest. The humor is still there; the decision to have actual, fit actors deliver their lines while doing the mocap remains one of the most effective and cinematic ways to bring a subtletly of mise en scene not expressed in other games. The Uncharted games are classic romps, like eighties action romcoms. Writer/director Amy Hennig has, to my mind, done it again with this installment, deftly weaving in the crucial but largely unspoken surrogate father/son bond between Victor Sullivan and Nathan Drake himself. They and the others are characters you believe in. Being, as I said, unfinished, my chief worry – maybes unfair to Hennig since she hasn’t stumbled yet in three games – is that something’s going to happen in this relationship that’s out of character for one or the other.
Uncharted is like a tentpole for the concept of holiday blockbuster releases. Since the beginning of the series it’s been a PS3 killer app, each new arrival marked by a level of froth only a few steps down from what you see during a Gears launch. With affordable double packs of the first two games available, PS3 owners who haven’t jumped on this (sometimes speeding through Siberia) train owe it to themselves to do so. Naughty Dog continues to hone its narrative skills, its puzzle design, even the combat sequences – an uproar about changes to gun physics in the early stages of Uncharted 3’s release is totally lost on me; the guns work like they always have. And Naughty Dog knows what it means to craft an over the top, globetrotting action comedy – sun-drenched Arab streets, creaking freighter graveyards, spider-infested catacombs, and of course devious clockwork puzzles that inexplicably still work 500 years after their construction.
I sure hope I don’t get sucker-punched by some awful design move late in the game, because so far, Uncharted 3 gives me a lot to love and almost nothing to hate.
Inscrutable French designer Eric Chahi came out of a pretty lengthy hiatus (his last game was 1998’s Heart of Darkness) to deliver a hypnotic god-puzzler that’s drawn comparisons to many other games but really stands on its own. First released as an XBLA indie, From Dust suffered a rather rocky PC launch and is now also available on PSN.
The Tribe came into being. They wore masks. They made music with shells and horns. But they did not know who they were. Communal and helpless before a raging environment, the Tribe seeks its own memory, on a journey of settlement and exploration that grants you the divine powers necessary to see them through a hostile world.
And it’s the world itself that’s hostile – no lions or tigers or bears; it’s lava floes and tsunami, raging storms, unquiet earth. The Tribe needs you for the big-picture management of getting them where they want to go, while they themselves handle the day-to-day activities. And as a deity, you’re not really interested in them on a granular level. Yours is the power to lower oceans or raise volcanoes, part seas and paint deserts. The Tribe needs you but you need them only tangentially.
It’s mesmerizing just to watch the settlements grow, to watch jungle flora inexorably creep outward from fertile land as individual Tribespeople dance their tribal dances and use brightly painted kites to send primitive information from settlement to settlement. From Dust is mostly a puzzle game, which turned off a large-ish faction of players who’d thought it would be more like Populous or even Black & White. While it surely bears resemblance to those titles, it is its own experience in so many ways. The maybe five hours you’ll spend with From Dust are rhythmic and rewarding. It’s a soothing game to play. Even disasters seem to happen in slow motion.
Chahi seems like a friendly fellow, not one of those grouchy reclusive Salinger-esque artists. I don’t know how From Dust did compared to its budget, but I do hope he stays in the industry. His ideas have never been so wild that they’d actively turn people off, and he makes games that can move us and make us think. There’s more we could see from him. If you don’t own From Dust, and you like unique puzzlers, shell out. You won’t regret it.
Canada’s indie game developer-cum-fantastic-writer Christine Love sprang this one on us midyear: a visual-novel style game designed to make you feel uncomfortable. It could just have easily been called V for Voyeur, but instead Love’s title reminds us that we’re outsiders looking into the world of don’t take it personally. At the time I was mesmerized by how awkward, embarrassed, empowered, and dirty-in-a-clean-way it made me feel. Thinking about it over these past months I’ve come to appreciate it more and more as a really intelligent essay on the fact that our worlds are changing, maybe faster than we’re ready for, but changing all the same.
don’t take it personally has maybe 20 decision points throughout, when you – nominally playing as John Rook, a late-thirties crisis addict who takes a job teaching literature at a swanky Toronto private school in the near future – are actually invited to make decisions. The rest of the time you’re reading, or, more creepily, watching. All the students at the school use a social network similar to Facebook, and you’ve got access to everything, even their most private communications.
That Rook is a deeply flawed man, and that he is a man, are both key components of the metanarrative. Christine Love’s work is fearlessly driven. She writes masterfully about gay relationships, straight relationships, the confusion of love, and the societal moirés we’ve applied to all kinds. don’t take it personally, babe, it just ain’t your story is about secrets, about romance, about sex, about shame, about pride, and about communication. While I don’t think Love would ever waste her time on such an obvious message, while playing don’t take it personally I also came to realize what’s wrong with our education system today: namely, that kids capable of processing information much faster than their forebears are still being bored by the same lecture-style approach. Rather than changing how we teach, we’re medicating the kids to slow them down to our primitive level.
don’t take it personally, babe, it just ain’t your story is a free download, and I’m eager (I will even pay, if she charges) for Love’s next work. Imagine a Which-Way book that makes you feel skeezy in an incredibly well-written way, and you’ve got the beginnings of what this game feels like to play.
Let me show you a good time: it’s called Bulletstorm. It’s everything that a beautiful monster should be. It’s the number scrawled in Sharpie on the lid of a toilet tank in a shithole pub in a strip mall. It’s crazy and funny and stupid and mean and lovable and it will make you laugh, unless of course your heart is stone or your head is mush. It’s offensive. It’s sexist. It’s disgusting. It’s classic. I love it. I loved every little minute of it. Like the Uncharted games it masters the art of action comedy while bringing a ton of mechanical innovation to the shooter genre. The Skillshot system which lies at the core of Bulletstorm’s theatre-of-the-absurd combat adds a mile of depth to a game that sells itself on shallowness – and thus like an Escher painting you find Z-space inside something that should be flat. The script’s cologne offers subtle saffron overtones of Psychonauts peppered liberally by a nose of 1930s-slapstick-meets-Harold-and-Kumar. People Can Fly gave us the ruminative and relentlessly bleak Painkiller, then turned around, Ice-Pick Lodge style and effortlessly tossed off a gut-busting splatter comedy the likes of which many will hate. And to those many I say, get over yourself.
Plus of course the character of Trishka Novak, who got her share of attention during the game’s cycle for a variety of reasons. Most reported upon was the fact that Bulletstorm’s producer Tanya Jessen – who’s about as talented and well-placed as anyone in this business – insisted that for once a female character be well proportioned and properly presented, going so far as to overrule the game’s lead designer. The result? A character who’s as sexy and ambiguous as she is awesome; smarter than the protagonists, tougher than the enemies, and very very human. Trishka reminds me of Eda from (geek alert) Rei Hiroe’s Black Lagoon series. Eda is more dangerous than Revy, more cosmopolitan than Rock, more connected than Miss Balalaika, but everyone thinks of her as nothing more than (her words) “the God-damned nun from the Ripoff Church.” Their mistake. Similarly those who underestimate or disregard Trishka find themselves at her mercy.
It breaks my heart that Bulletstorm wasn’t a moneymaker. It deserved to be, far more than the Modern Warfare crowd. There’s really nothing wrong with the game. Sure, it may not be your cup of tea, but if it’s not you shouldn’t be judging it. Me? It’s been a long time since I played a game that made me so purely happy. Every instant of it, from the outrageously cartoonish gunplay to the hilariously asinine humor, was perfect. I doubt there’ll be a sequel, but if there is, I can only offer one piece of advice: don’t change a damned thing. You got it right the first time.
Imagine being fisted by joy, and you’ve got Bulletstorm.
If Bulletstorm brings joy, Dark Souls brings only pain.
“What’s your game of the year so far?” asked Pete. “Don’t say Dark Souls.”
It was only, like, October 8 when he asked this, and Dark Souls had only been out for a few days. I wasn’t yet prepared to call it game of the year. So I told him the truth: “So far? Bulletstorm.”
“Rapist,” he said. (FOX News warned us that Bulletstorm would make you rape people, though I’m on my third playthrough and haven’t raped anyone yet).
Anyway, it’s now been months, and while Bulletstorm holds a place in my heart, the winner is Dark Souls. I’ve spent more time playing this game, more time thinking about this game, and more time cursing this game than I have any other game this year… possibly more than all other games I’ve played this year combined. And I’m not even halfway through. As I type this I’ve been distracted by the delightful Uncharted 3, but I’m inching my way through Sen’s Fortress and I’ll be back sooner rather than later.
The aforementioned Pete believes that people only claim to like the Souls games so they can appear “hardcore.” You know, like, if you admit that you don’t like them, other people will accuse you of not being a true gamer. Pete doesn’t like the Souls games.
Let’s talk about Pete for a minute.
Pete hasn’t played Portal or Portal 2.
Pete is unnecessarily tall. Like 6’4”. That’s like wearing high heels on a trampoline.
Pete didn’t own a console until I GAVE HIM ONE, bequeathing my spare 360 on him after my original came back from its fifth visit to the Red Ring Store.
Pete’s dog is batshit crazy. Pete also refuses to eat anything smarter than his dog, which limits him not just to fruits and vegetables, but to specific, mind-bogglingly dumb fruits and vegetables, like persimmons.
Tell me, does Pete sound like someone to whom you should listen? I didn’t think so.
I’ve known Pete for 20 years, and I can say with authority that he’s a great big stupid stupid-head. Everyone else thinks the Souls games are awesome.
Still, Dark Souls is hard and beautiful, and cruel, and cold, and I can understand why people wouldn’t like it. But no one (not even Pete, he admitted it) can object to its beauty, its flow, its hypnotic whorls of challenge. Dark Souls makes you know yourself. Even moreso than its predecessor Demon’s Souls, a game I revere, this masterpiece by Japan’s From Software is a culmination of sorts, a game with complete self-confidence, one that almost never missteps, but keeps you in its thrall until it chooses to let you go.
The innovative multiplayer capabilities from Demon’s Souls are retained and improved, and while the game is often more spiteful it’s not truly more difficult. So many words have been written about these games that I find myself at a loss to come up with new ones (itself a shock); I risk actually plagiarizing because I feel others more qualified than I have written so much and so well, and in the same baffled tone. Why do we like these games? Everything about them should be a turn-off, except maybe their horrific beauty. And yet I find myself inexpressibly drawn to Dark Souls, wanting to stop writing and start playing.
It has something to do with the game’s intentional or unintentional philosophical foundations. Joseph Campbell’s ignorant cockdrivel is proven to be that in Dark Souls, all those millions of tripe words he wrote about what it is to be a hero dashed against solid proof that his entire theory is nothing but bigoted charlatanism. There’s no meeting the parents’ ghosts or visiting the underworld in Dark Souls; everyone’s a ghost and the universe is the underworld. You’re doomed. You have no chance. In fact, you’re already dead. Each inch is as hard-won as it is worthless. Progress means nothing as failure looms dominant like an approaching storm cloud promising a deluge. For all this, you’d think gamers would have to make themselves like Dark Souls, but the like comes on as naturally as night follows day. It’s existentially brutal, never missing an opportunity to remind you that you are small and weak and unable and unsuitable and unworthy and unwelcome and hopeless, and you lap it up.
Other games entertain; Dark Souls tells you who you are.
Nothing wrong with those games, not by a damn sight. Indeed, they’re more “perfect,” in some ways, than those I mention above. But 2011 was also a transformative year for me. I realized I’m not the kind of gamer I once was. Am I thrilled with that? Fuck no. I miss the kind of gamer I was. I miss being a pajama-wearing, 16-hours-playing ludophile. And while I am still in some ways all of those things, I’m found myself drifting from Skyrim, and I still have my Eleventh Colossus problem with Portal 2. There was nothing wrong with them… just something wrong with me.
But perhaps most relevantly I came to understand that rosy-colored hindsight will always adjust us. Ask me in three years what games I remember most from 2011 and I’d probably give you different answers. Gaming-wise, the epiphany I reached in 2011 is that everything changes, even games of the year. And it’s okay to be okay with that.
Email the author of this post at email@example.com.
“Imagine being fisted by joy, and you’ve got Bulletstorm.”
Press quote right here people.
What was your Eleventh Colossus moment in Portal 2 again Matt? I remember you mentioning it in the ill-fated podcast we did but don’t recall the specifics.
Nice to see some love for From Dust. Not played it myself yet but got the impression that people expected the wrong thing from it, that and the technical issues at launch. Which version did you settle with?
Poor Pete, indeed.
Let’s talk about that guy for a moment. Just pure factual stuff.
Pete owns an Xbox 360 AND a Playstation 3. He also still has Matt’s old Xbox 360, making the grand number of consoles currently at his house three. The man essentially owns 3 consoles and has two flatscreen TVs and, thus, the ability to system-link his two Xboxes in his family room for gaming greatness.
Pete has been playing console games for over 30 years, since his Intellivsion days. He was perhaps the greatest “Sea Battle” player, in his age group, in the world. He even had the Intellivoice, “B-17 Booooomber!”
Pete also has a kick-ass gaming laptop and his played and finished many, many games over the last couple of years: Dragon Age, Dragon Age II, Fallout 3, Mass Effect, Mass Effect II, Temple of Elemental Evil, Vampire: The Masquerade and Half-Life II. He is also currently in the middle of BioShock (yes, the first one) and Fallout: New Vegas. He also spends a considerable amount of his gaming time playing Civilization V, whatever current version of Football Manager is out, and Left 4 Dead. Pete has also played 43 minutes of Portal according to Steam. In sum, his gaming tastes are wide and varied, his experience deep and his accomplishments many.
In that same time period, Matt has completed S.T.A.L.K.E.R. about a dozen times, Bulletstorm and that one hour and a half “don’t take it personally” game.
Yes, Pete’s dog is special and quite crazy, but I do believe just this past weekend Matt commented, “your dog knows far too many words”. How can a dog that knows “far too many words” be that stupid? He is neurotic, overly sensitive, a bit anti-social with people he doesn’t know, but he’s a pretty smart little dog. He also looooves his Uncle Matt.
Pete is tall and quite handsome.
Now let’s talk about this cool Pete dude and “Demon Souls” and “Dark Souls”…
Pete also played “Demon Souls” for about an hour. The first 30 minutes or so were pretty engrossing. The game is beautiful and eerie. The game play is very tense. Then the cracks began to show. The game is painfully repetitive. Getting killed at “Point K” and then having to start back over at “Point A” to get back to “Point K” is terribly frustrating. Pete doesn’t like having to fight things and over and over again. And that’s 90% of what the Souls games are.
For example, a few months ago Matt and Pete played through some of “Gears 3” over the weekend. They kicked much ass, until they were so drunk and tired that they couldn’t find our way out of a church for some reason. They are still foggy on how that happened. Anyway, they fought this “Immulsion Monster.” A boss battle. Extremely tough fight. It tooks them about 15-20 tries to kill it. But they finally managed to take the bitch downm because they were awesome. Now, if they had to go back to the beginning of the board and fight everything else up to the “Immulsion Monster” just to get another crack at him each time they died… That would have been the end of “Gears 3” for pete. Homey don’t play that. Pete don’t have time for such nonsense, despite enjoying the game.
There are a ton of fun games that “punish” you for making a mistake, but are still enjoyable. Take “Batman: Arkham Asylum”, for example. The game is a blast. No game has ever simulated being and feeling like a specific superhero like that game. But the moment you stop being like Batman, sneaking around, taking people unawares and try to play the game like, Wolverine or Superman, just charging head long into room full of guys with guns. Boom. Dead. Game over. It’s trial and error. You figure out what works and what doesn’t, but still don’t have to go back to the begining of every board and lose all of your experience points each time you die.
The games are also incredibly obtuse. There might be some sort of story to it, but Pete had no idea what it was and no real interest in it. There’s no narrative. It’s essentially a hack and slash game with only the barest of bones RPG elements. Simply killing difficult monsters to get to one boss at the end has never been all that compelling to Pete. The old gold box D&D games, Bards Tale, Ultimas, etc, all had their tought battles and tough bosses, but he liked the stories well enough, simple as some where, to keep moving forward despite annoying “wandering” monsters and random encounters.
Pete stands by his statement that many reviewers refused to call these games out for fear of not being considered a “hardcore gamer” or “true gamer.” This whole notion that the Souls games harken back to older games that were hard and unforgiving feeds into that. I am not sure what games people are referring to when they say that, but they are most likely a bunch of games Pete did not like or found boring like “Mega Man” and “Metroid.” Other than a few exceptions, Pete doesn’t tend to like platformers.
Here are a few quotes from various VERY GLOWING reviews of “Dark Souls” that further prove my “hardcore gamer” point:
“The overall lack of direction the game gives you is harder to forgive. The world laid out in Dark Souls is absolutely massive but, beyond cryptic hints from a handful of scattered NPCs, you’re not told where to go. Exploration is a key part of the game but, with a world this huge, you’re bound to hit multiple points where you feel like you’ve explored everything open to you and don’t know where to go next. Sometimes the correct path ahead is unnecessarily obscure, requiring you to drop down a cliff or walk across a narrow ledge that doesn’t look passable. Without the help of a guide or consulting Internet forums, it’s likely that you’ll spend hours searching through old areas before you discover that the way forward was hidden in plain sight.” (Game Informer)
“I spent a full day playing through the death-trap-filled Sen’s Fortress level over and over again…” (Game Informer)
“Let’s get one thing straight: Dark Souls hates you. It hates who you are and what you stand for. It hates your friends, it hates your spouse, it hates your family, it hates your pets, it hates every single little thing about you right down to the fact that you even exist” (Strategy Informer)
“The fact that the difficulty has been ramped up as well only serves to make this game more frustrating than usual.” (Strategy Informer)
“Make no mistake, it takes a certain kind of person (never mind gamer) to stick with and possibly enjoy this game – we believe they are sometimes called Masochists…” (Strategy Informer)
“If Demon’s Souls was purgatory, Dark Souls is a descent into hell.” (Eurogamer)
“So yes, Dark Souls is hostile and cruel…” (Eurogamer)
“[The] first few hours of Dark Souls represent a vindictive difficulty spike which many will never surmount.” (Eurogamer)
“Dark Souls has a stubborn unwillingness to explain itself…” (Eurogamer)
“Yes, the game is difficult and obtuse.” (Eurogamer)
“Conversely, Dark Souls beckons the masochistic with its chilly indifference.” (Edge)
“The lock-on system hasn’t changed, so if you don’t manage it properly, you might whip the camera around rather than target an enemy or lose your lock if a boss jumps too far away from you.” (Gamespot)
It feels as if each reviewer is wearing those statements like some sort of badge of gamer honor or something.
Here are comments from another website after so poor sod said he didn’t like “Dark Souls” because it was too hard:
“Demon Soul’s is a hardcore game for hardcore gamers… If you want a game that holds your hand and gives a checkpoint every two minutes there are hundred’s of other modern games for that.”
“If you didn’t learn to hold up your shield after 10 hours of dying… Then I completely agree with you, you should really go play a game that will make it easier for you. May I recommend Wii Sports Resort, zero to no frustration there, or maybe the new Prince of Persia where it’s absolutely impossible to die!”
“Clearly you are of the new hand holding, have the game play it for me persuasion, ie eveything thats wrong with games these days! Back to the old school i say, thats why these games are terriffic!!”
“You did something dumb… you died plain and simple.”
The one thing Pete has learned from all of this is that he is very likely a moderatecore gamer. He is not a “XXX” hardcore gamer, likely not even a “NC-17” gamer, but more like an “R-Rated” gamer.
Dang, great list. Don’t Take It Personally was on mine, too, maybe I might consider changing it now to write about something else! But I did like it so much.
I looked at Bulletstorm quickly, earlier in the year, and was put off by bad reviews. I failed to notice People Can Fly in the developer seat, which gives me an idea of what it might be like and why it was poorly received. My bad. Insta-buy at non-sale prices for you, Mr. Helmut stupid head.
Thanks guys, except for Ajax19, whose dog does in fact know a lot of words, but they’re all variants of “dinner.”
Helmut, I remain flabbergasted that so few people appreciated Bulletstorm. People Can Fly’s lead designer Adrian Chmielarz has said that many were turned off by the vulgarity, but… the vulgarity is kind of the point. It’s like buying coffee and saying you hate its warmth and brown-ness. I do encourage you to invest, particularly if you’re in the market for a wonderful wonderful shooter that’s just… wrong in so many right ways. Currently $19.99 on Steam!
I enjoyed Painkiller immensely, I bought it because you wrote 87267482 words about the darkness of being a treatise on the bit about the time between life and dark and purgatory and I was like oh man but then I found exploding barrels and it was like fuckn whoa for sure.
And a stake-gun! I loved me some stake-gun.
Maybe the problem isn’t that you don’t have enough time to play video games, Steerpike. Maybe the problem is that you spend much of that time writing 87 million words about one of them.
I bought “Bulletstorm” during the Steam sales for like $5 based solely on your gushing about it. I am sure I will get to it soon.
Words Pete’s dog knows:
“Squirrel” (what they call his toys)
“Aegon” (his name)
“Sit” (in addition to the word “sit”, he will also sit if Pete holds up one index finger, so the dog knows some sign language too)
“Down” (in addition to the word “down”, he will go down if Pete hold his hand parallel to the ground and then lower it in front of him, more sign language)
“Stroll” (what they call walks)
I find it simply astonishing that we have the two World’s best Sea-Battle captains here at Tap at the same time.
Now that’s a rebuttal!
“The lock-on system hasn’t changed, so if you don’t manage it properly, you might whip the camera around rather than target an enemy or lose your lock if a boss jumps too far away from you.” (Gamespot)
This! I wound up dead so many times from fumbling the targeting.
Imagine being fisted by joy? I’m just trying to imagine being fisted.
Gimme a minute.
Well, it’s no good unless it’s by joy.
Gregg: to answer your earlier questions…
I wound up playing From Dust on the 360, but I’d like to try the PC version. The precision of mouse controls may actually ruin the game, but I’m curious. Just waiting for the right Steam sale.
As for my Eleventh Colossus moment in Portal 2, there were a couple, but the one that really stands out is a late section when you have to quickly get on and off a reverse button to back up some orange goo that’d otherwise be going the wrong way – this to bounce off some sentry guns that are hiding behind glass. I couldn’t figure it out. And though I must have eventually gotten it since I finished the game, I’m certain I had to turn to a video walkthrough, which made me ashamed. The original Portal never frustrated me; Portal 2 did it a couple of times. Normally frustration is natural in games, but Valve’s are too well-constructed to allow for it. Thus my (minor) disappointment.
“Each inch is as hard-won as it is worthless. Progress means nothing as failure looms dominant like an approaching storm cloud promising a deluge.”
See, that right there. It’s like finally accepting that there’s really no grand plan, and it’s all pointless. We don’t want to think about that shit every day, man!
I really like my progress to be visible, and warm and fuzzy, and savable in games. You know, rather than non-existent.
I’m still probably 0.001% through Demon’s Souls. The Souls games are too hardcore for me. To be honest the stark brutality of it all is appealing to me, but at the end of the day, most of the time, I play games to escape, or to fuel my problems or whatever. Not to remind myself that life is a pointless grind and death will bring me nothing!
Props for including Bulletstorm on your list too, though. It’s on mine. And Don’t take it personally, that was good for exactly the reasons you mention as well.
I really want to play From Dust. It was on sale on Steam but not as much as I’d like it to be. Also, I hear the PC version has had some issues.
Finished a playthrough. Oh my.
Wow, look at that comment I made in bloody January. I said “the Souls games are too hardcore for me.” HA! I was a fucking idiot just 5 months ago. I pity and laugh at the January 2012 version of me. DARK SOULS IS THE BEST THING EVER. What you said, Steerpike, rings so true:
“the epiphany I reached in 2011 is that everything changes, even games of the year. And it’s okay to be okay with that.”
While my 2011 game of the year won’t change, my 2012 game of the year will most certainly be from 2011, I have not a shred of doubt about this.
If I had a time machine I would travel back to two destinations: first, to January 2012, moments before I wrote the above comment, and slap myself in the face. Now, I don’t want to get into the paradoxical dilemmas of time travel, so for simplicity’s sake let’s say my past self just goes on living as if he hadn’t just seen himself slap…himself, okay? Second, I would travel to October 2009 and tell myself to play Demon’s Souls immediately. Oh, the time I wasted…why did I not fully delve into these games until 2012?
My sincere thanks to Steerpike and the disease that keeps wordy, pretentious things spilling from his talking hole. Also: I wish to convey my deepest gratitude to the forumites who were slogging through Demon’s Souls in the early days and made it sound so darned engaging (because of course, it is!) … I estimate our shared encouragement has gone all around and helped everyone out a little, whether with a tricky boss fight or a perplexing brick wall, or in my case just playing a bit further into the Boletarian Palace to uncover the joys that lay within.
The Souls games have been for me over the past 4 months, and continue to be, so wonderful. A sense of joy in playing, heightened even more so by the brilliant Bollocks threads, what with their abundance of despair (Steerpike), laughter (Steerpike again), humiliation (yep, Steerpike), epic songs of resilience (Helmut), perseverance (Pokey & Botch), terrible internet connections (Gregg), and last but not least the well wishes of onlookers (Toger, Scout).
Shouldn’t that be Valar Morghulis?
Congratulations, xtal – not only on your victories, but on finding something that means so much to you. Both Souls games have done it to me, and if I can evangelize them, I will. Your journey especially is fantastic because of your hesitance. I believe you mentioned that you bought Demon’s Souls simply because in your opinion, you need to buy the important ones. To have now gone so far just beyond supporting the important work to become a disciple of it is very exciting.
I always have a hard time with Game of the Year lists, because I draw a blank. In 2011, it was easy. I hope we all get to experience many more years like that one.