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4:54 PM on 04.05.2015

A Beginner's Guide to the Souls Games

At the request of reader Rudorlf and in a never ending effort convince everyone possible to give these games an honest try I've decided to try and put together a beginner's guide to the Souls games! I won't go into anything TOO complex since this IS a beginner's guide, but any specific questions you still have can be asked in the comments below! I'll also include Bloodborne in this because it's the new hotness right about now. So let's get started with a few basic questions you may have!

What are the Souls games?

These games are action rpg's. What that means is that you'll be controlling one character from third person PoV with an attack button, a dodge button, etc. You'll kill enemies and be rewarded with “souls” which serve as both currency and experience. When you die you drop these souls at the spot of your death and you must return to that spot to pick them back up. You spend X amount of souls to increase your level by one, which gives you one extra point to put into your attributes, and then the number of souls required to level will increase each time. The Souls games are characterized by the many different ways you can play them, and different playstyles will require different stat allocation.

This can seem daunting, but if all else fails then a simple Vitality, Endurance, and Strength (or Dexterity, your choice) spread will give you your basic sword and board Souls experience in any of the 3 Souls games. The basic playstyle in these games is generally with a melee weapon in one hand and a shield in the other, except for in Bloodborne where your shield will be replaced with a gun that is used to interrupt enemies and set them up for counter attacks.

Do these games have a story?

Actually, despite popular opinion, these games do have quite intricate and interesting stories! The stories are simply not thrust into your face and explained for you. If you want to get the most out of a Souls game then you'll want to talk to every NPC you meet multiple times (until they start repeating dialogue), read item descriptions for everything you pick up, and most importantly pay attention to the world around you. If you finish one of these games and find yourself wanting to learn more then there are many people on youtube who make lore videos designed around teaching you all the great stories in these games that you may have missed.

Just how hard are these games?

The Souls games are challenging but they are by no means unbeatable or only for the most pro of gamers. I find that the main thing that keeps people from trying the Souls games is how difficult they hear they are, and that's a shame. You'll have heard that they're super hard or that they'll make you break your controllers, it's popular to play up the difficulty of these games, but at the end of the day if you give it an honest effort and are willing to learn from your mistakes then anyone can make it through a Souls game. The only thing that will stop you from beating a Souls game is giving up.

Do these games have multiplayer?

Yes! But it's a bit of a unique kind of multiplayer. Simply being online will connect you to others. You'll see messages that people have left (and leave some of your own!), you'll see ghostly figures of others who are playing at the same time, and you can summon others in to help you or be invaded by someone looking to kill you. The specifics of how multiplayer works depends on the game you're playing. Generally you can only summon help while you're in human form, meaning you haven't died recently or have used an item that restores your humanity.

You won't be inviting a friend into your game to help directly, instead by being in human form you'll see glyphs of the ground where other players have left their “summon sign”. By going up to one such sign you can summon the creator of it into your game to help you for a bit. By opening up yourself to co-op you'll also be opening yourself up to be invaded by other players who'd like to come kill you! If that kind of thing doesn't interest you then you can play offline.

Which game should I play?

The obvious answer is whichever looks most interesting to you, but that's probably not much help. Instead I'll tell you a bit about the strengths and weakness of each game so you can decide on your own what order to try them in! The release order is Demon's Souls (DeS), Dark Souls (DS1), Dark Souls 2 (DS2), and Bloodborne. If you wanted you could simply play them in this order and have a good time. Otherwise here's a breakdown of each:

Demon's Souls

Demon's Souls, as the first game of its kind, is probably the most creative and unique of the Souls games, particularly in regards to its world and characters. Locations and people from DeS have influenced every other Souls games, to a surprising degree. Unfortunately DeS also suffers from being the least enjoyable to pick up and actually play through. Its weapon upgrade system is complex to an unnecessary degree and on top of having a pretty harsh equipment burden you also have an inventory limit, meaning that you can only carry a certain amount of stuff with you on your adventures. Dying in this game will also revert you to “soul” form, where your max health is cut in half until you kill a boss or use an item that gives you back your human body.

It has a consumable based healing system, meaning that you'll acquire different types of herbs by playing and you'll use these to heal yourself. There are A LOT of healing items in this game though so you're not likely to run out. It's world is also more disjointed and presented in more of a level by level gameplay experience in that you'll visit world 1-1, 1-2, 2-1, etc, though each world can be done in whatever order you choose. To make up for this, each world is fairly expansive and has shortcuts for you to find and open up to ease your exploration. You also have access to a hub world called the Nexus where you'll return to level up, purchase things, store items, etc.

Dark Souls

Dark Souls 1 takes much of Demon's Souls and tries to perfect it. Many locations and events are inspired heavily by DeS, but this time around the world is a large connected one. The world of DS1 is a layered one, with areas on top of and next to each other that connect back to each other in surprising ways. In addition to upping the weapon and armor variety significantly, it removes the inventory cap, allowing you to carry as much as you want, and makes its equipment burden more lenient and easier to upgrade through leveling. The healing system in DS1 becomes a hybrid experience. You gain an item called an Estus Flask which holds multiple healing charges which refill automatically when you die or sit at a bonfire (Dark Souls' version of checkpoints), and you'll find items called Humanities which can be consumed at any time to give you full life.

Dying in DS1 doesn't cut your health down but instead makes you “hollow” which has no negative side effects other than taking away your ability to summon co-op help. The weapon upgrade system has been toned down a bit compared to DeS but can still be a bit daunting and require you to look up info online if you want to delve deeply into it, though that's not really necessary to get through the game. Having one large world can make it easier to get lost and not know where to go next, but it also does a much better job of rewarding your sense of exploration and discovery.

Dark Souls 2

Dark Souls 2 replaces the layered world of DS1 with more of an expansive world, similar to a Zelda map, where you'll strike off in one direction, come back to the center, and then go off in another. DS2 seeks to tame some of the needlessly complex systems from DS1 while also adding to the variety of playstyles on offer. If you want a playground of different ways to play then DS2 will likely offer you the most variety in that regard, with its addition of powerstancing (viable dual wielding), a smarter pyromancy system, and dark magic as its own style.

DS2 keeps the hybrid healing of DS1 so you'll still have your Estus Flask but instead of the full heal humanities you'll get life gems which are closer to the herbs of DeS except that they heal slowly over time instead of instantly. DS2 also introduces a system where your max health will slowly decrease each time you die, but will never fall below 50% (75% if you have a special ring equipped), but there are numerable items in this game (called Human Effigies) that will restore your max health. Where DS2 falls behind is in its characters and its boss design. While DeS and DS1 have many memorable characters, DS2 has only a couple, with others that should be interesting but feel unfinished. It's bosses can also lack the wow factor of previous installments.


Bloodborne, while not technically a Souls game, takes the core bits of those games and applies them to a new and focused creation. If you want to get the most straightforward and understandable (from a mechanical standpoint) experience then Bloodborne is the way to go. The weapon upgrade system is incredibly straightforward and there is no form of equipment load. This game replaces the playstyle variety of the Souls games with a fast paced, in your face style of combat that handles its weapon options in a “quality over quantity” fashion.

Healing in Bloodborne is done via the use of Blood Vials, which can be found in the environment, dropped by enemies, or purchased at the vendor. You can only hold 20 at a time but any extras you pick up are immediately sent to your storage and auto refill when you die. The world is most similar to that of DS1, in that it wraps around itself, but its setting is wholly unique and fascinating. You also have the return of a hub world with the Hunter's Dream, where you'll level up, buy items, and upgrade weapons. If you find the sheer number of different ways to play the Souls games a bit daunting and want an experience that is build around a specific style of play then Bloodborne is the way to go.

In Conclusion?

Overall you can't really go wrong with which game you choose to play first. They're all fantastic games with different strengths and weaknesses. If there are any more specific questions you have then feel free to ask. Otherwise I hope this has been of some help and will convince some people to take the leap and give these games a shot. Thanks for reading!



7:20 PM on 04.03.2015

A Fen Update, Bloodborne Talk, & More!

Hey all, sorry I haven't been around very much lately. It's been a very strange and rough few months for me. I wanted to take the time out to tell people what's been going on with me, partly because I wanted to say things to SOMEONE and partly because I really wanted to get something posted since it's been so long. This blog will be part personal and part gaming stuff so maybe there will be a little something for everyone.

First let's get the dumb personal stuff out of the way. As many of you may remember I put my weekly writing on hold earlier in the year. After going about 8 months straight of writing every week I was in desperate need of a break to recharge my creative spark. Unfortunately I was also going through some very bad depression at the time and that hasn't changed by much. If anything not having that bit of creative productivity to look forward to every week may have actually hindered more than it helped.

So, depression. Actually I don't want to go into a whole lot of detail about it, but basically (at least here lately) it's that gnawing feeling of knowing that you're just not accomplishing fucking anything. No matter how hard you push it seems like the only avenues available to you are the shit ones that make you feel like you're giving up and taking the boring way out. I'm gonna do my best to get writing again, even if it's not on a schedule, because I really need to get back that satisfaction from seeing people read what I wrote and discuss it. The feeling of creating something and have it posted on a front page somewhere is one that I got to experience more than I ever thought I would when I first started, but between Dtoid, IGN, and Kotaku I got so many great chances to see what thousands of people thought of my work.

It hasn't just been mental problems though, I've also had some shitty technical problems of late. Basically my PC has reached it's last leg and has become fit for nothing more than internet browsing and the like, because its capacity to game has become nonexistent. Luckily I'm someone who's fucking obsessed with gaming so I have so many other places to play games, but it's a bummer nonetheless. I've also been incredibly sick over this past week which has just been the exact opposite of joy. I'm sure there's other personal stuff that's been holding me down but I honestly can't think of it right now. In any case that means we can talk about the fun stuff! Enter: vidya gams!

So obviously what I've been playing the most lately has been Bloodborne. Holy shit guys that game is a fucking masterpiece. It's beautiful, it's detailed, it's complex, it's horrifying, but most of all: it's fun! To give you an idea of just how much I've played it lately, I have already acquired the Platinum Trophy for the game. (see pic above!) That's 100% achievements for you non-PlayStation folks. I did my first run through as a Skill build (the new Dex) with a weapon called the Threaded Cane, which was a cane that turns into a fucking bladed whip and it is the sexiest weapon in NG.

I beat the game after taking my time to explore fucking EVERYTHING (like seriously, I somehow managed to find all bosses in the game on my first playthrough just from sheer full on hardcore exploration) and then went into NG+ and did it all again with the scythe. For those of you who don't know how NG+ works in these types of games, you keep all your levels and gear and whatnot, but the enemies and bosses get more health, armor, and damage to stay a threat. In Bloodborne's NG+ bosses can actually take longer to whittle down than they did on your first playthrough in many cases.

By the time I completed NG+ I had also already done all the required Chalice Dungeon stuff for trophies and I had originally planned to start an entirely new character for my final trophy run, but upon getting thrust into NG++ I found myself stricken with a terrible, amazing question. “How far do you think I can get in NG++ without dying?” I asked myself. The answer? Most of the way apparently. In fact I began speed-running the game and did not die until reaching the second to last required boss of the game, whom I only died to once and then proceeded to beat NG++ having only taken an hour and some change overall. So basically don't buy Bloodborne, it can be beaten in an hour. Go spend your money on The Order 1886 where you get at least 6 hours of play time! I kid, don't do that, buy this fucking game.

I still standby my previous statement that it is not a Souls game though. If you tell someone that they're getting a Souls game they're gonna have certain expectations that are simply NOT going to be met. You are NOT going to have a million build options available to you, you're not gonna have a bunch of different playstyles, you're not gonna have slow, patient gameplay. Bloodborne is what you WANT from a fantastic developer, it takes the core of their best work and applies it to something new and focused, and what it delivers is phenomenal.

I also played Final Fantasy Type 0. Now that...was certainly a video game. The combat was pretty awesome, and the character models were surprisingly detailed considering its PSP heritage, but that story is just BEYOND insane. It doesn't have very pleasant story telling. The “war documentary” kind of theme it has is very cool, but once I reached the end of the game I still had no fucking idea what had been going on. They were still throwing around words like “agito” and I still had no idea what they meant. At the end of the game one of the main characters said “My head hurts!” and I said “Me too bro, what the fuck is going on here? Why does everyone in this game know what's going on but me?!” Apparently you're supposed to play it a second time to understand it better, so maybe I'll do that at some point.

That Final Fantasy XV demo though? HNNNNG. SO GOOD.

So what else? Hmm. Well I went back and finally completed Xenoblade Chronicles a few weeks ago! What a fucking awesome ride that game was. Other than how annoying the aggro management can be in that game it was a real joy to go through. The story went delightfully nuts towards the end. Much love to that game. Currently on my third attempt to get through Xenogears on my vita. Let me tell you something guys, that game is NOT written well. I mean WOW. There's a part early on where Citan and Sigurd are talking and Sigurd is like “I sensed a darkness in her” and Citan goes “No you must be wrong!” and he fucking says “Remember I was always really good at predicting things like this.” Are you fucking serious with this shit? That's like fanfiction levels of foreshadowing.

The music is pretty rad though, I'll give it that. The combat is kinda interesting is well. But the real reason I decided to go back and give it another shot? I just wanted some crazy mech action. I watched a show called Knights of Sidonia on netflix a few nights ago (it was alright, has potential but some weird problems as well) and it had me itching for some mech gameplay. Not sure what I'll play (or watch!) next. After Bloodborne and Xenogears I may have to play something nice and happy for a change! Who knows!

Edit: Forgot to mention that I've got 20 bucks left over and was thinking of grabbing either Axiom Verge or Helldivers on PS4. Any recommendations? Both look awesome, but with Helldivers I'd have to find people to play with.

Anyway, that's all I can think of at the moment for this update. Hope this has shed some light and maybe been entertaining to read. As I said I'll try and get writing again soon in some capacity because I think I really need it for myself. See you guys soon! Thanks for reading!



7:59 PM on 04.02.2015

BoB Recap for March!

Hey all! Terribly sorry that you haven't heard much from me lately. There have been many reasons for that and I'll do my best to post a write up tomorrow for those curious about what's been going on with me. For today though let's wrap up last month's Band of Bloggers event. Unfortunately we didn't really have many people take part directly in our event, but since I'm the one writing this (and I'm currently sick as hell) I have decided that in my infinite power and wisdom I will include anyone who wrote about anything Zelda related. I'll also be awarding points to anyone who took part. And if you didn't take part? SUCK IT! NO POINTS FOR YOU. Let's get started!

GoofierBrute's Wind Waker Analysis

First up is a write up about the fantastic experience that is Wind Waker. If you haven't played Wind Waker at this point then it's probably because you just can't be trusted to do anything. I mean Jesus Christ people. This game is like 12 years old. WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING? In any case you can count on GoofierBrute to give you a fun break down about all the fine little details that make Wind Waker a great and unique experience in the Legend of Zelda mythos. On account of Goofier's lovely write up, using my Hello Hyrule title, and calling me rad, I award him... a whole bunch of points!

n0signal's Moon Man Masquerade!

Here's quite an interesting and unique take on the monthly assignment! Blogger n0signal decided to write about Majora's Mask, but rather than speak on the game itself he delves into the idea of the faced Moon and the things it may have been inspired by. You may be quite surprised to learn of older version of the creepily faced floating hunk of rock! The Moon was always one of my favorite parts of MM, not just because it has a creepy face but also when you get to visit it and it has this weird dream realm in it. Crazy stuff! For a unique write up and a cool Hello Hyrule logo on top of his blog, I award n0signal.... a bucket of points!

Preposterous Whitey's Earful

When you think of Legend of Zelda what's the first thing that comes to your mind? A princess in danger? An annoying fairy? HYAAAA? Well for Preposterous Whitey the answer is very clear: Bunny Ears! Have a seat and let PW tell you why having long glorious bunny ears is the most important part of Majora's Mask. I don't think I've ever heard such an endearing case for a headband with some rabbit ears on it but this man is dedicated! Personally I'm more of a Zora mask guy, I like the bone fish guitar. To each their own I say! For a fun and different take on the assignment I award Preposterous Whitey with... some points!

Noir Trilby Corrects the Mistake of Not Liking Majora's Mask

Noir Trilby gives us a more traditional write up about his experiences with Majora's Mask, but that's perfectly fine because he has some interesting things to say! NT weaves us a tale about his first time playing MM back on the GameCube release and not being able to get into it. He then uses the fantastic line “So, play the Song of Double Time to 2015” and tells us all about how he revisited the game in the recent remaster. It's always nice to see people gain appreciation for such a fantastic game! No game is for everyone, so there will always be great games that some people just don't connect with, but we can relish moments like these regardless. For his new-found MM appreciation, I award Noir Trilby... a cup of points!

Agent9's Story Time!

Agent9 drops by this month to tell us about his favorite part of Majora's Mask; the stories! Learn about the tales of Darmani, Romani, and more! One thing that Majora's Mask did fantastically was filling it with so many great smaller stories that you got to experience as you explored the strange landscape of Termina. The whole experience is very surreal, and that's one thing that I really dig in games. For a fun little story time I award Agent9 with... 9 points. But big ones. Like, palm of your hand sized points.

Rico the Penguin's Link the Lady

Our final write up comes from the mind of a penguin named Rico. Odd name for a penguin, but who am I to judge? Rico gives us quite a nice double write up. First he tells us his feelings on the subject of Link's gender and it's importance (a stance that I myself would agree with!) and then gives us a great little fan fiction of an example of how the legend of Link could be broken to experiment with new things for the story! It's a very intriguing piece and I quite enjoyed it. I've always thought it would be cool if we got a Zelda story that worked in a Serge/Lynx way from Chrono Cross where they swap bodies and you have to deal with everyone thinking you're the bad guy. Have Ganon steal Link's body and tarnish his reputation while you're stuck doing good deeds as Ganon. Could be cool! For Rico's lovely write up I award him...pockets full of points! Oh dear, do penguins have pockets? I sure hope so, your point total will depend on your pocket size.

Edit: I missed one! Terribly sorry Shade!

ShadeOfLight's SeaOfSights

 Good guy ShadeOfLight managed to sneak in a Wind Waker piece that flew right under my radar with it's title, but here you'll find a great write up about the biggest thing that makes Wind Waker great (from a gameplay perspective): the exploration! Exploring the Great Sea on your fabulous little ship is one hell of a beautiful and satisfying experience. You'll get to visit many different little islands and see so many sights that just really make this wonderful world feel that much more fleshed out. Sea exploration can be difficult to pull off in a game but Nintendo really managed to make something special in Wind Waker. As an apology for missing Shade's great piece in the original posting; I award him a single golden point. May you treasure it always.


And that's been your March roundup for Band of Bloggers! As for the future of the event, I honestly don't know. I've been going through a bunch of issues and Scholarly has his new job and I haven't gotten a chance to speak to Dream yet so I'm not sure what will come next, but if you have any ideas, suggestions, concerns, or whatever feel free to leave them below! Thanks for reading!



3:22 PM on 03.02.2015

March's Band of Bloggers Event: Hello, Hyrule!

Hello my friends! Your regular host Scholarly Gamer is a bit busy and so I am here to introduce the new month's BoB event! Last month's Fallout theme had a solid turnout and we'd like to thank all of you for participating. We had so many people jump in initially and show their support for the idea and then some of you even managed to get some blogs written about your experiences, and each of those blogs was great fun to read!

We'll try to get a good recap of last month's blogs done soon, but for now let's get started on March's Band of Bloggers:

Hello, Hyrule!

With this still being a pretty new event we're trying a new approach this month. This time around we're just going to assign the Zelda series as a whole and you can pick and choose which one or ones you'd like to write about! Wanna write about your experiences in the Majora's Mask remake? Go for it! Wanna compare and contrast a few different ones? Even better! Write about as many of them as you like in any format you find interesting. You folks got incredibly imaginative with last month's assignment so we look forward to seeing what you can put together this time around!

If you're not familiar with what's going on then consider it a bit of a video game book club, except this month instead of us all playing a single specific game you have a whole series to choose from! Over the course of March we'd like you to go out and play any and all Zelda titles that your heart desires. If you've wanted to replay any older titles or have been putting off that Majora's Mask 3D run then here's your chance to join others and knock em out over the course of the month.

Before the month ends just come on back to Destructoid's Community Blogs and tell us about your experiences! Get creative with it! There are no rules set for your blogs, so just have fun with it and show us what you can do. As always if you have any feedback or suggestions for the event going forward then please let us know. Scholarly, Dream, and I want to make this as solid and enjoyable of an event as possible. So thanks for the support guys, and thanks for reading!


10:34 PM on 02.27.2015

Band of Bloggers: More Like Fail-out New Vegas

Hey folks! It's been a bit since I wrote, so I apologize that this return is both a bit late AND a bit short, but by god I helped start this event and I will participate in it. A combination of physical, mental, and technical problems have made it difficult to play as much of Fallout as I'd have liked but with around 15 hours in my current playthrough I think I can say enough. So now, to offset the lovely things everyone has had to say about their trips through the wasteland, allow me to tell you why this game is fucking shit.

Fallout: New Vegas is an absolute mess. I got shot in the head, woke up in a doctor's office with a magic science machine that let me change my face, and answered some questions about inkblots that gave me perks that I immediately swapped out to things I would actually use. I ventured outside, sun blinding my fancy new eyes, and learned how to shoot a godawful rifle at lizard things and helped a complete stranger gather the town's forces together to fight off the evil prisoners from across the street.

Now a fully fledged idol to the most boring shit town in the wastes I ventured out on my own, ready to begin my pokemon adventure! I walked across the street, saw more prison folk who were now none too happy to know me thanks to my (apparently quick to spread) reputation for killing their companions, and proceeded to murder them in self defense, gaining the dumbest nonexistant mechanic I have ever seen: KARMA! Murdering the inmates who may have simply joined the powder gangers because they had nowhere else to go gave me good karma. Stealing their stuff from the boxes around their corpses gave me bad karma. WAT. Murder all you like but please for the sake of all that is holy don't steal from them! What does karma actually do? WHO KNOWS!

There are other lovely mechanics that DO matter though, and boy are they fun! You very quickly learn from the game that you can only carry so much in your inventory. Don't wanna overburden yourself! Understandable I say. I'm only one man. I start to walk off and the game calls out to me “Oh, by the way! Did I mention that everything you use is in a constant state of decay and the primary way to repair it is to carry around multiple copies of the same weapons and armor so that you can use them to repair each other? So have fun carrying 4 shotguns around!” I'm starting to understand why my poor character is full of anger and ready to murder.

FNV is the story of a courier on the edge. By the way, did you know you played as a courier? Cuz I'll be damned if it was ever relevant in my time with it! I didn't get to deliver SHIT. If ANY game was gonna have fetch/delivery quests surely this would be the one! The most courier-esque job I did for anyone was a sniper lady who asked me to check out and report back on the status of a lovely whoretown called Nipton that was apparently on flames, and not of the rock and roll variety. No hurry though, take your time. Upon arriving at my destination I was met with crucifixions and a group of people who apparently really liked to cosplay as centurions.

They had decided to murder everyone in town for reasons and so I tried to murder them, but that didn't go well. Any of the 5 times. I made the tactical choice to be a little bitch and let the group go about their merry way and proceeded to loot the remains of the previous inhabitants, making my way through their houses and their rather large town hall, until something new happened. As I made my way to the top of the town hall and explored the mayor's room, I unlocked his closet and looted his stash of ammo and weapons to the point that I became over encumbered. I began dropping stuff I'd never use, but accidentally dropped a useful piece of armor which fell behind the mop bucket. I jumped onto the mop bucket to retrieve said armor and became stuck in the mop bucket.

After hours of killing deadly radioactive beasts and humans and solving problems, the biggest obstacle I met over the course of my time with the game was a mop bucket. I was unable to jump or move around. I attempted resting to see if it would maybe be fixed after waking up, but nope all it did was eat my autosave. Not content to load my quicksave from outside town I began tossing dynamite and grenades at my feet, at which point I discovered that my character was a fucking champ. Even in the face of point blank explosions he was perfectly fine to sit there and just grunt a bit. After many explosions I finally fell from the mortal coil and reloaded inside of the bucket. BUT WAIT! PRAISE CHINESE JESUS I COULD JUMP NOW!

I saved the shit out of that game and made my way outside town hall and began to finally finish exploring the town. Oh wait, no I didn't, because upon trying to walk into one of the small houses in town I suddenly began bouncing uncontrollably for no reason whatsoever. Just bouncing constantly, unable to stop, and unable to fast travel or anything because I couldn't “do that while jumping or falling.” I literally now had the opposite problem of what I had been suffering from just 3 minutes earlier. I bounced so much that my game crashed.

So why, through all of these things, do I still want to go back for more? I met all kinds of people and did all kinds of jobs on the rest of my trip through the wastes. I got Walker Texas Ranger pardoned so he could run a roller coaster town with his own brand of street justice, I helped some zombie folks fix a rocket so they could go to space to meet god or some weird shit, I helped a sniper lure a sweet old lady out in front of a t-rex so he could murder her because she was actually a pimp in the slave business apparently.

I did all kinds of stupid shit in that desert, and I'll be damned if I for some stupid reason don't want to go and do more. Fallout: New Vegas is a mess of a game, but it sure can be an enjoyable mess. Hope you enjoyed this incredibly dumb take on the blog assignment, and thanks for reading.



3:07 PM on 02.09.2015

Season Finale: A Writing Update

Hey guys, it's your old buddy / internet acquaintance / random stranger Fenriff here with a bit of an update on my weekly writing. A lot of you may not realize this but I've been doing my weekly piece for about 8 months now! That's 8 months of writing a new piece every single week (with the exception of the one week my internet was out) and it's never been news or anything; it's all been stuff that I could think of on my own off the top of my head. I gotta tell you; it's starting to tax me a little bit.

Now don't get me wrong, I've had a fun time with it, and I've gotten WAY more feedback and comments and attention overall than I ever expected to. You guys have really gone above and beyond with your support, even those of you who just clicked and read without realizing that you were reading the same guy you've read before. Over the course of these 8 months I've been on the front page of IGN once (as well as being their Community Spotlight a separate time), the front page of Destructoid once, and the front page of Kotaku 6 times!


Even when I wasn't on a front page there were always those of you willing to have great discussions with me about my writing. I think my Breath of Fire Series Retrospective was probably the first time that I really felt like I was doing something right, because a lot of people came out of the woodwork to talk about that series with me. Which was a huge relief by the way because I played through every one of those games over the course of two weeks for the sake of writing that! I took notes!

I've written my thoughts on industry practices, my opinions on mechanics, I've poured my heart out about some of my favorite games, I've written lists, I even did full on reviews early on! So much writing and every week seems to fly right by and then it's time to write again. So what's all this about? Basically I've been starting to get a bit burnt out here lately. It's difficult to think of something creative and original to write about every single week and I don't want to get to a point where I feel like I'm forcing myself. I had actually written a whole piece about video game romance for today because of Valentine's this week and I just tossed it because it didn't feel like I actually had anything to say.


So what am I doing? Quitting? Not necessarily. It's important to me that this stay fun and engaging for me. The minute it starts to feel like I'm forcing myself to do it then it loses it's shine. This isn't something I do for a living, I've never gotten paid to write anything, it's just a hobby and a way to express myself. So I'm taking a break! Not from writing in general, just from doing it on a set schedule. If I sit and write something I want it to be because I felt inspired to do it and because I have something I want to say, not because I feel like someone out there will be disappointed in me if my blog doesn't show up that week.

So the weekly piece is on hold for a while. Season 1 of it has come to a close we'll say. You'll still see me around, creeping through blogs and probably leaving more comments on everyone else's stuff rather than worrying so much about my own. Whenever I come up with something I want to write about I'll write it, so when you see me pop up in the future you can know that I've got something to say and I'm not going through the motions. Thanks everyone for your support thus far and I look forward to writing more for you in the future!


Thanks for reading.



10:24 AM on 02.02.2015

You Should Try: The Fall

Boy, I haven't written one of these in a while! Today I want to tell you about a game called The Fall, which somehow passed me by and so I figured that many of you might have missed it as well. The Fall is the first in a trilogy of short, story focused games by developer Over The Moon. If you've been craving more creepy, sci fi, mind bending story telling in the vein of The Swapper then look no further.

The story of The Fall is the real reason you'll want to get into it. You're given the shortest of introduction scenes by watching your suited character fall from the sky through the ground and into a cave. A.R.I.D., the suit's AI, snaps on, realizes that the person piloting it is in critical condition, and takes over the suit to get its pilot to safety. That means that for the course of this game you will not be playing an actual person, but an AI trying to fight against its constraints to save its human owner.

The planet you'll find yourself on is lonely and filled with the corpses of humans and robots alike, tossed aside for unknown reasons, and you'll quickly meet a rogue AI who has deemed you as faulty and in need of scrapping. As you try to keep your pilot safe you'll notice that many functions of your suit have been locked, and those are functions that you'll really want to help stay alive. How far is it okay for an AI to push the limits for the sake of saving one human though?

The overall goal of the story is simply to reach the surface of the planet in an attempt to find medical help for your pilot, but just taking the elevator would be too easy and wouldn't make for much of a game! The Fall's gameplay is made primarily of solving puzzles in a very adventure game format. You'll run around the dark and dreary setting collecting items and trying to wrap your poor little brain around discovering the best way to use those items to get past the obstacles in your way. And believe you me, you will certainly need to put on your thinking cap for some of these puzzles!

It's not all about the puzzles though, as The Fall has a solid, albeit scarcely used, action side to it as well. It's not terribly far into the game before you're finally given access to your gun, at which point you'll begin to face security droids and who knows what else on your path to the top. The combat mechanics are fairly basic, but they do their job. Holding LB will stick you into cover if there's any near you and you can use the right analog stick to aim at your enemies and charge your pistol for a relatively powerful shot.

Once you've got your gun your primary experience will revolve around you exploring the areas available to you and swapping back and forth between your gun's flashlight and laser sight. The flashlight allows you to inspect things in the environment for interactions and the laser sight is for aiming in combat. You can only see whether or not something can be observed or interacted with by aiming your flashlight at it, which can be a tad annoying, but it's not anything that will really impede your enjoyment much. This means that you'll want to shine your flashlight everywhere; not only for items to pick up or interact with, but just for the pleasure of seeing what your AI has to say about the world around you.

The game isn't very long, clocking in around 3 hours (depending on how long it takes you to solve the puzzles), but it's certainly a memorable experience. I don't know when we'll see the rest of the trilogy, but if this first entry is anything to go by then I can't wait to get my hands on the rest of it. The game is only $10 and can be obtained either through Steam or DRM free through the Humble Store. Give it a shot some time! Oh, and thanks for reading.



10:49 AM on 01.26.2015

Selective Memory: A Look At Nostalgia

Well friends, tomorrow is my 26th birthday. I'm getting old! I've been doing this gaming thing for a while now, and like many of you I have a ton of great memories from that time. Often it's easy to let those good memories cloud out the less than great memories, which can have a bit of a negative effect. We don't always want to remember the bad or disappointing times, but I feel that it's important to nonetheless. With that in mind I want to take today to talk about nostalgia.

I'm sure all of us who have been gaming for a while are guilty of letting nostalgia cloud what we think or say at some points. It's hard not to! By default most people don't want to remember things that don't make them happy. Being too drenched in nostalgia can have negative effects though. It can cause you to look at a game too harshly, forgetting that it's pitfalls are shared by things you enjoy, or to look at another game too nicely, overlooking the flaws in it solely because of it's association to something you love.

It's not rare to see people saying things like “gaming gets worse every year” or “this year was terrible for games.” People tend to have a time in their gaming life that they consider a sort of “golden age” of gaming. Once that is established it's easy to fall into a state of remembering all of the great things from that age while you eagerly point out all the flaws of the generations of those that came after.

For instance; the most memorable generation of gaming for me was the SNES era. A lot of people share that sentiment as there were some damn good games that came out during that period; some of my all time favorites! Is it really a “golden age” though? Didn't it have many of the pitfalls that so many other generations have had as well?

“Console wars?” We had 'em. Sega vs Nintendo was huge in those days! “How about disappointing sequels?” Son, did you play Act Raiser 2? The game that took a unique idea and stripped all of the unique parts out, leaving you with a slow, poorly designed side-scrolling hack and slash with bad controls? “But you didn't have to worry about DLC back then!” True enough, but the idea of DLC isn't bad in itself, it's just constantly poorly implemented and used to nickel and dime people. There's good DLC, but there will always be bad DLC just like there will always be bad games.

Sometimes nostalgia brings old games to new heights long after their prime. Earthbound has a HUGE following these days and is fondly remembered by many more people now than it ever was while it was relevant. Why is that? Well, for a few reasons I suppose. Earthbound was something new; it was a fresh take on a genre that had fallen into a comfortable place. When you look back at JRPG's prior to Earthbound you're likely to find a whole lot of generic fantasy. You'll find Dragon Warrior/Quest and you'll find the older Final Fantasy titles, games that are great but also had a very “knights and magic and dragons” kind of theme.

Granted FF6 really started that series' move towards a more Sci-Fi/Fantasy mix, but that came out the same year as Earthbound for Japan, and even then Earthbound stood out for its unique theme. This is a game that took a very fantasy heavy genre and put it in the real world, or at least one close enough for us. Here in America we never got Earthbound's predecessor (or it's sequel for that matter), so seeing this game that brought JRPG mechanics into a strangely American setting was bizarre to say the least.

New things like that can often keep people away rather than draw them in however, and thus was the case with Earthbound, which sold pretty poorly over here. So why do we hold it in such high regard now? Because now we go looking for that unique-ness. Now we've learned to appreciate something that goes in directions that many would never think to. So we look past the flaws in it because we've decided that we love it now.

You'll see people go so far as to regard Earthbound as perfection, but why? What of it's INCREDIBLY grindy nature? What of how easy it is to find yourself unsure of where to go and what to do? (I mean the game came with a walkthrough when it launched, if that doesn't tell you they knew you'd need help then what does?) What of the characters who are lauded as charming and memorable today who actually show little to no emotion (on the rare occasion that they speak at all) over the course of the fairly lengthy game?

It's so easy to look at everything that Earthbound does right with it's fantastic setting, it's bizarre themes and aesthetics, and it's unique take on the genre as a whole, that we're willing to look past those things, and that is fascinating to me. How could anyone NOT find it amazing that such an incredibly critical group of people like gamers are willing to look at a game like this and praise it for it's amazing unique bits and set aside it's noticeable flaws?

Think of something more recent, like a lot of the arguments against DmC: Devil May Cry. Personally I have loved DMC since it's original release and also loved the recent DmC, but a lot of others didn't. Don't get me wrong, that's perfectly okay. People will always disagree on things, especially when it comes to something as subjective as “Which is more fun?” That aside you can clearly point out the people whose nostalgia get in the way of their judgment.

“The acting is shit!” “The story is garbage!” “New Dante only appeals to 14 year olds!” All as they continue to praise the previous DMC games, literally none of which were ever known for being anything above mediocre in any of those departments. You're telling me the white haired, red trenchcoat wearing, pizza eating, rock and roll enjoying Dante wasn't designed to appeal specifically to late 90's / early 2000's teenagers?

Again I'll point out that there are plenty of legitimate reasons for disliking or arguing against DmC. Just because I enjoy it doesn't mean I won't give you that much. You loved the style system, you loved the difficulty, you loved the campy Japanese nature of it. I get that! I loved it too! If it wasn't for the original DMC I wouldn't have discovered my love for action games! At the end of the day though DmC isn't bringing ruin to your favorite franchise. If that series was able to survive DMC2, a game whose only interesting feature was being able to customize your devil trigger (a feature that I'm honestly surprised hasn't really returned), then it can survive ANYTHING.

We as gamers are a very strange bunch. We rarely agree, we're quick to judge, and we are so fucking passionate in one form or another. Even if you find someone who takes the exact opposite stance as you on a game to such a degree that neither of you can break through to the other, can you tell me that at least a little part of you doesn't appreciate that in such a fantastically varied medium there are people matching you in devotion to the hobby that you both love? As long as I'm a part of that kind of community I don't think I will ever lack something to write about. So here I am, a day away from being 26 years old, both thinking back and looking forward. I don't know what's in store, but I bet it'll be interesting. Thanks for reading.



10:12 AM on 01.22.2015

Anonymity and Games Journalism

So the whole “Badger” thing left me with a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. Not necessarily because of the core of what he was trying to say (I can appreciate someone having a differing opinion) but because of how it was said. Also I'd like to throw in my own two cents about the whole “unethical journalism” shtick, because I feel that there's a fundamental factor that's being overlooked. Let's start with the “Badger,” not just in this particular rendition, but as a Destructoid idea in general.

I can somewhat appreciate the idea of the Badger. Getting people who know a bit about the industry who otherwise couldn't really tell you what they think and giving them a place to do that has its benefits. Someone in that situation could really shed some light on subjects and provide for interesting conversation. In the way it has currently been implemented though it comes off as a platform for people frustrated with their own industry (and the community that follows it) to let out their anger and frustrations in a borderline childish manner without repercussion.

If you have some kind of knowledge that gives you a point of view that others likely don't and you want to take that opportunity to share it in a place that will guarantee you attention then, in my mind, the least you could do is treat that attention with some kind of respect. If you are just going to use it to rant and call people idiots and belittle ideas then you could easily create a false internet persona in a community and bitch about it there like everyone else who doesn't want their real name associated with their words. If you are going to take Destructoid's offer for a platform that will sit and listen to you and what you have to say then I feel you're doing a disservice by using it as the equivalent of a pissy gamefaqs poster. If someone won't listen to reason and your first course of action is to be unreasonable right back, then how are you different from them?

You don't take this kind of opportunity and use it to call people idiots and shame them for the things they enjoy, regardless of how silly the things they enjoy may seem. Taking the time out to even bring up the idea that people may enjoy Game Grumps more than Mel Brooks is irrelevant at best and stupid at worst, as they share barely any common qualities. One of them is a famed comedic director, the other is two guys who play video games on youtube. It's like giving someone shit for enjoying Dr. Seuss more than Ernest Hemmingway and thinking that your bitching is justified because they're both authors. I realize that this particular point wasn't the focus of the article, but it shows how the writer looks at certain people regardless. The idea of every “nerd” being some poor deluded kid who desperately wants to be understood and thus are weak to being swayed by publishers who offer them things is also silly to me.

Moving away from the Badger as an idea and onto the subject matter of unethical game journalism, here is the basis of how I feel on the situation: if you feel that you can't trust a particular journalist or online publication then I feel that there is a very simple solution: don't visit them. Should journalists be held responsible for keeping up a certain standard? Absolutely. Should publishers stop trying to bribe them every chance they get? Obviously. Does that mean that, given the failure of those two to change, you should just continue reading everything they post and commenting on it and sitting on your high horse? God, no.

A journalist only has as much pull as they have people who will pay attention to them. And yes, they are journalists. That's just what journalism is. The idea that so many people seem to have of journalism as being some kind of higher calling that carries a certain weight with it is silly. If you are in a profession in which you relay news from a source to the public then you are, in some form, a journalist.

This idea that you should refuse to buy a product if someone in the industry was given it for free seems ridiculous to me. Surely you should carry some of the responsibility of what you purchase. There are so many places on the internet that you can go to learn people's opinions on a game or piece of hardware that, in my mind, you can't read one person's review and then blame them when you buy the product and your enjoyment of it doesn't line up with theirs.

You COULD say: “Bronathan Folmes reviewed the New 3DS and said it was the best handheld that Nintendo had ever put out, but it I bought it and think it's mediocre at best. He got his for free from Nintendo and so he's biased and can't be trusted and we should boycott.” OR you could just do proper research, find people whose values and opinions line up with your own somewhat regularly, and be somewhat responsible with your purchases. Even if Bronathan Folmes gave the New 3DS a more friendly review because he got it for free, then yes he has failed to live up to the standard expected of him, but that hardly excuses your complete lack of thinking for yourself.

So much of what gets reviewed on any big online publication is done so through review copies sent by publishers. Should we stop reading all of those reviews solely because the writers haven't paid for what they're reviewing? Should we only trust people who have spent their own money to give us an honest view? Or should we assume that someone who has been hired into this profession has some kind of integrity that they seek to adhere to and that those who pay him or her also keeps that integrity in mind? Why would we place any faith into the gaming press at all if we're just gonna view them all as untrustworthy and lacking integrity? In a weird and yet completely obvious way everyone is right and everyone is wrong. Publishers shouldn't get away with attempting to bribe journalists, journalists should be held accountable for themselves, and you should be responsible for what you spend your own money on. There is no one singular problem.

So why should you listen to me? Literally no reason what so ever. I'm NOT some respected member of any community or industry, I'm NOT someone with inside knowledge of the inner workings of a profession. What I am is some guy on the internet who enjoys games. My name is Josh Barnes, I write about video games for fun, and this is the end of my rant. Thanks for reading.



11:27 AM on 01.19.2015

A Whole New World: Stand-out Game Settings

When playing a game, one of the things that tends to really stand out to me is its setting. We have such great variation in the games on offer to us at any given time so it comes as no surprise that there have been many unique settings along the way. It's easy to just have a game set in a world that doesn't stand out. Putting an rpg in a generic fantasy world or having your shooter set in a modern day city doesn't make it bad, but there are so many games that go that extra mile and take you to worlds that you never thought you'd see. Let's talk about a few of them!

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

All too often we get games that take place in some sort of post apocalyptic setting that feel the need to go the usual route of brown wastelands devoid of life. Thankfully Ninja Theory chose to go a different route with this unique take on the old Chinese fable. As Monkey you'll escort the lovely Trip through a world that no longer belongs to humans. You'll venture through a city that has taken the phrase “urban jungle” to a new extreme with it's large plants and strange wildlife. Enslaved shows that just because a world after the downfall of humanity is deadly and depressing doesn't mean it can't be beautiful in its own way.

Xenoblade Chronicles

Here is a game that really created a unique and intriguing setting for people to explore. Xenoblade Chronicles is a world that, in a way, is a world within a world. Long before the events of XC there were two gigantic beings fighting each other in what seemed to be a never ending duel. One day they each struck a blow that left the other unable to fight back, but connected to each other. Over time life began to sprout on these enormous beings. You get to explore a beautiful and unique world that takes you along the enormous bodies of the Mechonis and Bionis and it's a fascinating trip the whole way through. The idea that the characters you control in XC are actually life forms that exist on other, larger life forms is amazing, and it's one that I won't be forgetting about anytime soon.


I could talk about this game for longer than anyone would ever care to sit and listen. Transistor has many stand out features and its setting is no exception. Probably the most intriguing thing about Transistor's Cloudbank is that there is no way of know exactly what it is. This strange cyber world where the weather is controlled by computers and all the environments have the most fascinating color schemes is such a wonderful mystery, especially since you're introduced to it just as it has begun its downfall. It's such a shame that you're never allowed to explore the city in its full glory. Such a beautiful shame.


Both the original Bioshock and Infinite have incredibly fascinating settings. From an underwater city of people too smart for their own good to a floating city of holier than thou citizens following a less than sincere prophet. Each are presented in unique ways as well, with Rapture left for you to explore after it has fallen to its own selfishness and Columbia you get to see in its faux utopia state before and while it's plunged into chaos. People will have their preferences, but there's no doubt that each of these settings are intriguing in their own way.


A futuristic world where magic has manifested within people and evolution has brought orcs and elves into a strangely familiar and yet alien setting? What's not to like! If you already liked cyber punk and fantasy settings before you found out about Shadowrun then you must have been intrigued by the idea of having them mashed together when you learned about this. The fusion of tech and guns with swords and magic is an idea that I've always found fascinating, (It's one of the reasons that I've always been so into Final Fantasy!) but no one mixes it together in quite the way that Shadowrun does.

Majora's Mask

The fascinating thing about the world of Termina is how it compares to what you expected it to be going into the game for the first time. Zelda games almost always take place in the land of Hyrule, and while that setting changes with each iteration no game quite manages to throw you for a loop like Majora's Mask. Termina is essentially a strange and twisted version of Hyrule. I don't mean that in the way that the Dark World or Lorule were mirrors of Hyrule; Termina comes off as more of a manipulation of someone's dreams. The people and locations are familiar to you and yet somehow feel worlds apart from how they should be. And let's not forget about the moon falling from the sky! “You've met with a terrible fate, haven't you?” This quote from the mask salesman is one that sticks with you through this game, because the whole experience can feel as strangely haunting as his words.

Dark Souls

The Souls game never lack for an interesting world for you to explore, but this entry was probably home to the best realized one. To say that Lordran is on it's last leg would be giving it too much credit. The haunting country side is barely hanging by a thread. A place once inhabited by Lords and their loyal subjects is left in ruin. A lord of light hidden away underground trying desperately to keep his kingdom whole, a once powerful witch and her daughters left to suffer from the results of their own pride, a dragon who betrayed his own kind gone mad from seeking what eluded him... Melancholy is something the world of Dark Souls is all too familiar with, and it makes for a fascinating place to explore.


There are so many amazing worlds that I've gotten to explore in the many years that I've been gaming. With enough time I could keep you here for ages listing off fantastic settings like those of Oddworld, Dishonored, Shadow of the Colossus, Remember Me, and so many more. But since I don't want to keep you here all day, how about helping fill in the blanks by telling me some of your favorite settings. You guys never fail to bring up great examples that I overlook, so don't let me down this time either! Oh, and thanks for reading.



9:35 AM on 01.17.2015

The Scientifically Proven 5 Sexiest Dtoiders

For thousands of years one question has plagued mankind. I can't answer that question, but there is a question I can and will answer: just who are the sexiest people in the Destructoid Community?! I have developed a foolproof system to determine the answer to this question using a combination of science, math, and a little bit of witchcraft. No staffers or part timers here, just good old community members. Let's get down to business!


5: Its About To Get Gay In Here

IATGGIH is like a one man video game version of the Onion. No one else brings you breaking news stories like the kid who was able to fake happiness after receiving Duck Dynasty for Christmas, or gives you the purchasing info that you really need such as the smaller New 3DS shipping to America with its buttons sold separately. If you dig that kind of info then you'll also want to jump on the DLC that the mysteriously gendered writer recently announced for his/her blogs; you're gonna want the full experience! Dtoid as a whole could stand to learn from this dedicated reporter of the gaming news that really matters.


4: SeymourDuncan17

The manly mustached Seymour comes along to grab the number 4 spot, and rightly so! Last year he gave us a lovely look at his experience at the Alamo City Comic-Con, where he met many interesting people both famous and otherwise. The friendly fella also posted other well written pieces on interesting topics, such as why it's okay for games to do things that “aren't okay,” and how he learned to take it easy in 2014. He's also constantly in the comments ready to give folks a sensible chuckle. As entries on this list go, Mr. SeymourDuncan17 is probably the most reasonable.


3: JawshButturBawls

If you hung out in the news articles on Dtoid last year then you know this guy, or rather the feminine pokemon he represented every chance he got. The Era of Gardevoir on Destructoid was one of highs and lows, of love and loss. It came to an abrupt end when Jawsh shocked the world a few weeks ago by posting what amounted to heresy for many: his true love was not Gardevoir at all, but rather the inferior Persona waifu Chie Satonaka! They say that there's no accounting for taste, but in reality your choice in Persona waifu actually accounts for 36.2% of your ranking in my patent pending sexy calculation system. Lucky for Jawsh he has been remembered for so much more than this one revelation. Everyone makes mistakes, and the number 3 spot is proof that he can be forgiven of this particular one.


2: Dreamweaver

Dreamweaver is a strange guy. I say that with love though! In a community of gamers talking about games this fine fellow put up his middle finger to the man (What man specifically is unclear. Probably Andy Dixon though.) and followed his passions. His weird, fucked up, amazing passions. He gave us interspecies erotica of a pokemon nature during the Era of Gardevoir, he gave us hentai manga that far too many of us fapped to, and he's recently graced the C-Blogs with a 3 part epic about the adventurous and romantic exploits of the Ice Climbers, aka that Smash Bros character that people like in public but really no one bothers with because Ness/Lucas are obviously cooler. This man is a visionary, and is highly deserving of the number 2 spot.


1: Gajknight

He's beauty. He's grace. He probably has a face. He also has many interesting fetishes, one of which apparently being learning other people's fetishes. In fact you might call him the originator of the fetish blogs around here, so you've probably got him to thank for what is likely your most popular piece you've ever written.

I mean let's face it, you know what gets you by in the C-blogs? Hilarity. Silliness. Hentai. I mean for fucks sake I've been writing about video games every week for half a year now and what do you people like the most out of all that? Terribly written fan fiction that's what! You know how painful it is to make that stuff purposefully bad and full of not very funny jokes? PAINFUL. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE WHY WON'T YOU JUST LIKE ME HAEDLKFAJDLKHFAO;DIKFJA;SDKL

...Ahem. He also is the strongest advocate for the spread of Naoto love on this website, which is something we could all strive to live up to. He's even an overall nice dude! I mean, I guess he is. I don't actually know the guy. I almost played video games with him one time though. But the Fenriff system's numbers don't lie, and Gajknight runs off with the number 1 spot.


Did you not manage to reach one of the highly sought after spots on this list? Then maybe you should try to be a little sexier in 2015. I mean if you're gonna make a new year's resolution then it should be something meaningful like putting these five people to shame. Is your name Occams or Bbain? Then you get a gold star sticker because you've moved on to bigger things at Dtoid and were unfortunately disqualified for this list as such. Congratulations to the winners of this very important event! Now go say something in the comments that may or may not actually relate to this and perhaps I will respond to it. Go on!



9:10 PM on 01.13.2015

A Much Too Personal Look At Your Neighborhood Fenriff

Video games have always been something of an escape for me. The world is a frightful place and until recently video games have done a satisfactory job of drowning it out, of placing themselves between the world and myself. A shield of sorts, but I suppose that kind of thing works both ways, because while it shielded me from the world that I never felt a part of it also probably kept me from adapting to that same world.

As I'm sure you've guessed this is about depression; something I've struggled with for a long time but over the past couple of weeks has been really gnawing at me. I don't really know what the point of this piece is, but I felt that maybe writing this all out might do some tiny amount of good. I do not share my feelings easily so doing this at all is incredibly difficult for me, but after almost 26 years on this planet of keeping things bottled in...well, let's just call this an experiment in opening up.

I am incredibly introverted. If you're someone who feels that the word is simply synonymous with being shy and quiet then I regret to inform you that is incorrect. I wish shyness was the extent of my problems. It's the sort of thing that leaves me feeling alone in a room full of people, even when I know every one of them. Simply being close to someone is difficult because it's not a simple matter of someone being nice to me or having an interest in similar things, it becomes something deeper. I don't place myself in someone's hands easily and if I do it's a big deal in my mind.

Just having friends is one thing, but friends often feel like people I just have around. There's a step after that which is difficult to achieve, and that role becomes harder to fill the older I get as I become less and less interested in people's bullshit. A “friend” is essentially anyone that speaks to me whose company I don't find disagreeable, and just reaching that plateau is apparently difficult. Becoming close to me is something else entirely. It's something that really requires me to feel connected to you. Like you're the one person amongst the bullshit that I WANT to be around and to speak to; the one person that isn't just another distraction for me.

This way of looking at people probably seems selfish, and it most likely is. If someone who sees me as a friend were to read that and think “Wait, so I'm just a distraction to you?” I couldn't really fault them for that. In a way they'd be right. It's nothing personal though, it's just the way that my brain works. You would assume that the knowledge that I treat people this way would be the first step to working it out, and again I wish it were that easy. Over the years I've made many attempts to push through that curtain of constant loneliness that surrounds me; to reach out and force interactions with people I didn't know but seemed like people I could stand. For the most part these fail, though whether that is the fault of me not trying hard enough, my brain getting in the way, or simply the other person not wanting to deal with me is difficult to say.

You wanna know the absolute worst possible outcome for my situation though? Think of what I have described to you of how difficult it is to become close to people, of how someone wanting to be around me isn't enough. Think of the difficulty that comes with having a brain (or heart I suppose) that forces you to wait until it decides that it has connected with another person for you to feel for them. Now imagine your brain and your heart eventually, finally make that connection with someone...and that feeling is not returned.

I don't simply mean like when you like a girl or guy and that person doesn't want to date you, I'm talking about something deeper than friendship or romanticism. Something that is required in my brain for you to really become either of those things. Then to make that feeling worse, part of you knows that you can't blame that person. You KNOW that you're asking a lot of that person and that, placed in their shoes, the pressure of that role would probably not be so desirable to you either.

As I mentioned at the start, I spend a lot of time trying to drown out this part of my brain. I surround myself with friendly distractions and immerse myself in video games and write gaming related articles every week that feel more and more forced every time. Gaming is a true passion for me, as is writing. I connect with it and it's because it's so important to me that I'm able to drown everything else out with it. Unfortunately though I recently hit something of a brick wall. I found myself becoming disinterested in nearly everything.

I had no desire to play, I had no desire to watch. I found all the suppressed loneliness welling up inside of me, ready to burst out and plead with me to just fucking stop. Just please stop wasting my time and just be happy. Just for a bit, just long enough to feed me and keep me running. I had been running on fumes for too long and now I was broken down on the side of the road and needed to push myself to the gas station, with no idea which direction or how far away it was.

This was about two weeks ago. I am an almost 26 year old man living in a small town in Georgia and I will be damned if “getting out” isn't the most difficult goal I've ever set for myself. I live in a town where the extent of going out is heading to the movie theater or the local Wal-Mart. I'm currently jobless as well, and while I'm sure that does not help, fixing that problem is also difficult. Most of the jobs I've had have made me more depressed than I was to start with, leaving me feeling the need to be incredibly picky in my search for work.

My past couple weeks have consisted largely of sleeping irregular hours, drawing poorly, writing my weekly piece, and trying to watch random things online to take my attention away from the real problems. I binge watched the entire first season of Psycho Pass last night solely to get through the night. I enjoyed the show, and it distracted me from what I'd been feeling while it lasted, but as soon as it was over it just all sunk right back in.

Needless to say the whole situation is less than agreeable. I'm not sure what steps are necessary to work through this, or if maybe it's just something I need to soldier through until I can cheer back up and get back into a “getting by” state of mind, but I really wish that would come sooner rather than later.

I don't know what has really been gained in writing all of this out, and the fact that I'm posting this here at all is shocking to me. If you've somehow made it through all of that and reached this lackluster conclusion then thanks for at least taking some time out of your day to read my venting on strangers and sorry for the massive wall of text. I mentioned earlier that friends to me were distractions that I shared interests with; people who kept the loneliness just far enough at bay to keep me going. I guess in that way Destructoid as a whole is something of a friend to me.



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