This edition of Link Drag is dedicated to a diary series on Dark Souls.
Dark Souls Diaries
I have never played Dark Souls. Neither did I think I ever would. No console, no joy. So when Matt “Steerpike” Sakey started a diary series covering his journey through Dark Souls last year I thought, well, why not read it? There’s no spoiling me now, right?
And Steerpike made me laugh sometimes. I’ll grant him that. He made me laugh. And then there was some petition to get Dark Souls on PC. Right, like petitions work. Firefly is gone, man. Get over yourselves. And then From Software said, okay, we’ll make it. And I thought yeah yeah yeah, whatevs. And then it came out and I was still reading Steerpike’s epic diary masterwork, spoiling the shit out of the experience which was now available to me.
So thanks for nothing Steerpike.
Yes, I’ve noted the diary in a previous Link Drag, but the damn thing is finished now. Below you will find links to each chapter of the enormous and rewarding “Dark Souls Diaries”, an epic which began in December 2011 and was finally completed September 2012.
Deaths 1-133. “Have you picked up the strategy guide?” He adds, sliding my game across the counter. There’s a pile of them next to the register. “This is, like, hella hard.”
Deaths 134-199. GEGGIIS: Brilliant! I think that’s the part I played at the Eurogamer Expo! Did you kill it the same way I killed it? STEERPIKE: I bet I did. Assuming you killed it by screaming like a girl child and hurling firebombs at it until it died.
Deaths 200-331. Then a tree came to life and sucked my brain out. I shit you not. There I was, just standing there minding my own business, and a tree wrapped its branches around me and slurped on my head until I died. Brain right through the helmet.
Deaths 332-471. There is something seriously wrong with the people at From Software, that they could create a monster as revolting and as terrifying as the Gaping Dragon. It has a protuberance that looks like a crocodile, so at first when it pokes out of the sewer water you think, “Oh! A crocodile! I can deal with that!” then the rest of its 900 feet come crawling out.
Deaths 472-580. I don’t know if I have the words, but I’ll try. Imagine the city of Calcutta fucked a septic tank. Blighttown would be the profane, plague-riven overspill of that unspeakable coupling. Hey look! I did have the words.
Deaths 581-650. So in a way it’s my fault that poor silent girl is dead, and damned if I’m not going to find that bastard and teach him that nobody murders Fire Keepers on my watch.
Deaths 651-696. …this belies the shortsighted view that Dark Souls, and Demon’s Souls before it, “hate” the players. I think they love us. It’s just that love is not always kind.
Deaths 697-834. And when you’re first summoned, almost everyone adheres to the unspoken courtesy of bowing to greet the other player. It brings out a kind of chivalry and greatness rarely seen in multiplayer games.
Deaths 835-897. Kingseeker Frampt was so excited when I turned up with the Lordvessel that he roared at me for like three minutes straight, then sheepishly apologized for his exuberance. Communication can be hard when you’re a giant snake-dog thing, but the incoherent language of joy needs no translation. I mean he was really jazzed about this.
Deaths 898-1043. Ultimately Great Grey Wolf Sif’s passing made me sad because though I had to do it, though she was the aggressor, and would have given me no quarter, she was also the first – the only – thing I’ve encountered beautiful enough that her absence will diminish the world. Snap, snap, puppy.
Deaths 1044-1102. Suddenly I didn’t like Ash Lake. It’s a cold and frightening place, not terrifying like the Depths, just… endlessly endless. With thoroughness in mind I sprinted across the lonely sandbar – ashbar – and cut around a corner fast enough that I like to think I did one of those heel-first screeching stops that cartoon characters do when they come around a corner and encounter A DRAGON THE SIZE OF A GALAXY.
Deaths 1103-1169. I killed my friend. In my carelessness I murdered someone I cherished.
Deaths 1170-1259. After all, I’m standing (and, occasionally, treading water) in a city where almost a million people were willingly sacrificed to stop a terrible threat from growing. That thought provides a sense of scale to the Darkwraiths. Something that dangerous, something so apocalyptic that no cost was too great to stop it.
Epilogue. To be honest I’m a jaded old bastard. I work in video games and as much as I wish they affected me the way they did when I was a kid, they don’t. I know too much about how things work – how the industry works, how games work, how players work. But I can’t say “the wonder is gone.” Sometimes it seems to have gone, but then I find a game like Dark Souls, and I realize that the wonder’s still there, I just need to look a little harder for it.