gorgeous
Screenshot: Bloodborne- blood moon

It was late at night. I was nervous. I’d never done it before; I’d heard a lot about it (even read a lot about it- I don’t go into anything half-cocked, so I made sure to do plenty of research beforehand). I told myself that we’d just mess around for a few minutes and that if I liked it, we could keep going, and if I didn’t, it was no great loss.

Starting up, I wondered a little what I had gotten myself into. I was overwhelmed but also ecstatically happy. The beginning wasn’t what I was expecting but I enjoyed the slow build, and as it really got going I thought to myself, “this is it. I’m never going to be the same again.”

I’m talking, of course, about Bloodborne. What else could it have been?

I remember hemming and hawing about purchasing Bloodborne for a couple months before finally pulling the trigger during a winter PSN sale. The original game went down to around seven or eight dollars, with the complete version down to twenty- I went with the original, unsure if the game would click with me. The game had been built up to perhaps unreasonable expectations and I generally don’t like or play games that are excruciatingly difficult. I enjoy a challenge but I’m not much of a twitch or reflex gamer- it’s why I don’t play shooters online or anything online, really.

But Bloodborne entranced me. The Gothic aesthetic, the moody atmosphere. The unsettling creepiness of it. The way the game didn’t really care what you thought about it- it was so incredibly confident in itself that it knew it would stand up to any criticisms. I’ve always found that sort of thing attractive.

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Being a PS Plus subscriber for many years, I’d messed around with Demon’s Souls but it never landed for me. Dark Souls apparently has a terrible PS3 port so I never dove in- I did buy the game once, then returned it, feeling foolish. I didn’t want my first one to be marred by anything unsavory. Bloodborne was my first, and I’ll always have fond memories of it.

The way finding that first shortcut felt. The thrill of my first visceral. Stumbling into Father G’s area and beating him on my first try (!!!!), maybe my proudest gaming achievement. Trying to divine the lore while knowing that I couldn’t, not really. Bloodborne didn’t really open up to me but I learned what I could, gleaning from the internet. I read as much of The Paleblood Hunt as I could without spoiling myself and tried not to get too into the weeds of min/maxing and different builds. I stumbled and fumbled my way through, probably embarrassing myself in a lot of different ways. Bloodborne accepted me for who I was and let me figure it out whatever way that I could.

from that very email

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When I finished the main game, PlayStation sent me an email congratulating me. It sits in my favorites folder.

Recently, Bloodborne came to PS Plus and I felt a little pang of disappointment, totally unfounded. I get that Bloodborne wants to get out and have other people experience it, but I couldn’t help but feel a little twinge of loss in my breast that our special feeling might not be mine alone.

The Old Hunters sits in my download library, ready to be launched. I just... need a little time.

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I know that there will be others in the future- I’ll tackle Dark Souls Remastered one of these days, once my fiancée and I get a TV set up. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is very much my jam. But I know that no matter who I turn to in the future, a part of me will always be thinking fondly of my first- the one who taught me everything. Bloodborne.