No, I haven’t gone all “Might maketh Right” on you guys, rather I decided to revisit Dark Souls 1 having reached a stumbling block in DS2 (the Looking Glass Knight, fwiw). I keep meaning to start a game mechanics series on VGR, but we have too many under-populated strands (esp. acidbearboy‘s ones, please take note fellow VoyGeRs!). This particular Sober Thought benefits a touch from being broadened anyhow.
The Dark Souls series foregrounds tactical development. Your short-term aim is usually to get from A to (unknown) B and the difficulty involved requires you to optimise your chances by developing or wiki-ing an understanding of the underlying game mechanics. This is more true in DS1 than of DS2. Going back to my second-attempt hard-fought early-early-early game save in DS1, I found a few simple lessons/principles acquired from the more forgiving DS2 allowed me to make… well not strides, but immediate tangible advances in the game.
I’ve only played the first two and none of From Software‘s similar releases (referred to collectively as the Soulsbourne games) but the Dark Souls games remind me of my experience when I came late to roguelikes. The excellent and continuously developed Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup in particular, which is a strongly tactical game, rewarding incremental improvement in play with incremental progress but punishing failure harshly (permadeath).
I said I’d broaden this and I shall. I’m bad at extrapolating from personal experience to The Human Comedyndtion as I feel I always generalise and internalise the wrong things. That said, we have the expression “banging [one’s] head against a brick wall”. Zoomed out far enough I think all human activity shares in that fruitlessness. Long Time Dead in limited company (this naff slogan copyright me, keep meaning to stick it on a white-on-black t-shirt for maximum effect/return). That shouldn’t be read as nihilism however.
Whenever I reach the limit of my brain/intuition I step away. Returning to a problem, with fresh eyes, tools and ideas I always make incremental advances. From that same remote perspective mentioned above, I imagine leaving a problem and coming back later looks no different than banging your head against a brick wall, except in that it works. Incremental progress is progress, no matter how small the increments nor how dispersed, that applies to social change as much as Stevenger-change. And that’s my Sober Drunk Thought Of The Day.
On a worldwide scale it’s just another winters’ tale