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LONG BLOG

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

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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!

FPotD

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About CblogRecapsone of us since 11:27 PM on 07.02.2008

About Cblog Recaps

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Current "Bloggers Wanted" assignment

Villains that did nothing wrong

Villains in all media, not just video games, can end up being a dime a dozen. Far too often, a villain's motives boil down to "I am a bad, and so I do bad things. Fear me." While this format has worked for countless stories, at this point in my life (the ripe old age of 20) I’ve become jaded and grumpy, finding myself rolling my eyes when I see yet another antagonist wreaking havoc with no background or reasoning presented as to why they’re being such a butthole.

What’s far more interesting to me is when a villain’s motives or actions come across as justified, perhaps leaving you rooting for them to defeat the protagonist [insert Elder God Tier villain meme here].

My favorite example of this would be Meruem from the Chimera Ant arc of Hunter x Hunter. While he doesn’t necessarily fit the exact mold I laid out above, he’s easily one of the most dynamic and curious villains I’ve ever come across. For the sake of not spoiling what is perhaps one of the most exciting, action-packed, and tear-inducing arcs in anime history, I won’t delve into the details of what makes Meruem so great. Instead I encourage anyone who hasn’t seen Hunter x Hunter to set aside some time and plow through the series. Really, it’s that good.

But hey, that’s just how I feel. I’m sure there are folks out there who prefer their villains to be simple. If I ever met one of these theoretical people I might have a panic attack, but I’ll deal with that should the time come. I’m sure after some deep breaths we would get along. Maybe we could even snuggle, should my husband allow such an event to transpire.

All said and done, we arrive at the topic of this month’s Bloggers Wanted: Villains that did nothing wrong. Due to communication errors, this entry in the hallowed halls of Bloggers Wanted is a tad late. Regardless, all you have to do is head over to the Community Blog section of the site, and whip up a Cblog about a villain who you feel was secretly the good guy all along.

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