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Cblogs of 04/12/2017 - We are all trapped in the prison of our own freedom


Video games can be incredibly existential. Beyond the obvious examples such as The Talos Principle and Soma, which wear their themes of self, spirituality and existential angst openly on their sleeves, there exist many other games that comment on our concept of self without being quite so overt.

On that note, I'd like to talk about one such game. Dark Souls.

'Man is nothing else but what he makes of himself'- Sartre. Of the many games out there, none quite so embody this as much as Dark Souls (and the other Souls games in fairness). In the beginning of each game, we create our character from a list of pre-determined and vague backgrounds and classes. Straight away, we must fill in the blanks. Who is our character, what is their identity, their beliefs, morals, history? How did they come to this position and why? But the more important and relevant aspect is what will they do now?

'We are our choices'- Sartre. In Dark Souls, everything we do is a choice. Beyond the obvious choices such as the covenant we subscribe to or whether we pick Kaathe or Frampte, every NPC we choose to kill or not, every boss we vanquish, even whether we choose to carry on with our quest or succumb and give up is a choice. This last choice even makes sense in the lore of Dark Souls, as it is stated that many chosen undead have tried and failed to link the flames. Even if we choose to give up and never play again, we are still a part of this story, an also ran who failed. We become one of those Hollows. In Dark Souls, as a character with no voice, our actions are all we have. Without them, we would be nothing. Or rather, even more nothing than we already are.

'Do it or don't do it. You will regret both'- Kierkegaard. This dictotomy of action and inaction is a core part of the Dark Souls experience. When faced with certain bosses, such as the Gaping Dragon in The Depths, we can choose to fight or not by bypassing him with a key. To not fight is to miss that experience, those souls, items, etc. But to fight is pain and frustration, as we lose and die again and again, to the boss and the enemies and environment beforehand. This is especially true thanks to the Basilisks, which punish our choice to fight or not with a rare permeanace in our shortened life bar. This balance of push and pull gives our choice to fight or not a harsh depth. To not try is failure but winning is still failure of a different kind.

And for what do we do this thankless jourey, to go through more dangerous areas with more pain and death. And when we finally get to Gwyn, a shell of himself and link the fire, we are burned to a crisp. Dark Souls ends in death, the journey is steeped in death, a pure expression of our death drive, our need to return to nothing. But of course, we can reject that destiny and become a Dark Lord, condeming the world to a dark death while we prowl the land, gathering souls. Either way, we seek death, whether that be in ourself or in others. In a cold unfeeling world where God is dead, what else can there be?

I just felt like putting some thought to digital paper. Playing Kingdom Hearts again has been an surprisingly existential experience, what with the talk of Nobodies who should never have existed, seeking purpose in a world where one has none and all that good shit.

Lets get on with the blogs!

*- Cedi takes a terribly deep look into the Super Mario series and it's insane number of sports games. Despite having no interest in sports games and even less in Mario, this was an excellent read.

A- CharredAsperity talks about Persona 5 and how Futaba's mental health struggles spoke to them. I would recommend using paragraphs to break up the text, pictures for the same effect, to structure your points more coherently and logically and to just write a bit more as it's a rather short blog. But still, I like the subject matter.

A- My boi Kerrik52 gives us a deep dive into White Knight Chronicles Origins, the PSP prequel to the White Knight Chronicles games on the PS3. I've almost bought this game several times due to sales but held off every time. After this review, I think I'll hold off indefinitely.

P- Pstoid has put up their latest episode fashionably late. Have I mentioned how I love those guys? I love 'em.

Well guys, this has been a fun. Have a great day. Or rather, make your day great by being true to your own self. Bye!


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About CblogRecapsone of us since 11:27 PM on 07.02.2008

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Current "Bloggers Wanted" assignment

Costume Party

When it comes to October, it's pretty easy to come up with an idea for Bloggers Wanted. Halloween presents a lot of options. People will start playing horror games and marathon scary movies, but then there's the ultimate question for the day itself:

"What am I going to wear?"

Costumes are, after all, at the very heart of Halloween's fun. Whether you're playing a game with a canon character like Lara Croft, Spider-Man or a customized character in Monster Hunter World or an MMO, you're still faced with the question of what are you going to look like. Sometimes you even have stat bonuses to further complicate things, while other games have made it so you can have all the lovely stat bonuses and still make something that looks nice to you. Some folks even take this all huge step further and will realize such costumes for real-life cosplay.

As someone that posts often about Final Fantasy XIV, I have spent countless hours obtaining all kinds of armor, weapons and accessories from various corners of the game and only for the reason of it looking cool. In fact, once I have a job at 50, I feel obligated to give each of my jobs a fanciful glowing weapon before I press forward.

And then I give each job their own little pet sidekick, because I have decided my character is a Disney princess. Then I write macros that give them a blend of super sentai/Sailor Moon transformations because henshin a-go-go, baby!

But, if I'm honest, my one true love in regards to outfits in the game is the Invalician Samurai set, which I got from the Rabanastre raid. The design is pulled right from the Final Fantasy Tactics' art concept of the female samurai and is wonderfully realized.

But sometimes looking good comes at a price, too. I remember my favorite look for my Corsair in Final Fantasy XI required me wearing pants that reduced my movement speed by twenty percent and some of the best stat-based builds in Monster Hunter can make you look silly.

So this month's topic for Bloggers Wanted is costumes. Whether the costume is realized in-game or in real-life, we'd like for you to to discuss your favorite creations or tributes to characters, whether it's a custom look, a canon character or even a character skin like you'd find in Overwatch or Fortnite. You can discuss cosplays you've done, or cosplayers you admire. You can even talk about the plights of stat-based function over fashion.

The sky is the limit on this one, so head on over to our community blogs and get to writing! Use the prompt "Costume party: [Your title here]" and be sure to place "Bloggers Wanted" in the tags!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have get Bayonetta dressed up. She's heard about everyone and everything becoming Princess Peach and she would like to remind the world she was ahead of the curve on that.

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