In the past we had games like Mega Man, Contra, and Battletoads. Classic games known for their difficulty. The most recent franchise to garner this reputation is the “Souls” series. Along the way the world has also embraced streaming yourself playing video games. A practice I’m glad I adopted. Because without it, I would have never played Dark Souls.
I only recently started streaming Dark Souls, after I brought it up and my viewers requested I play it. I did attempt to play it a few years ago, but I stopped after a while. I had forgotten why until now. The game is very time consuming.
What classics like Mega Man and Dark Souls have in common is the trial and error gameplay. On my third stream of the game I fought a boss called the Capra Demon. I only stream for 3 hours a day and it took me about an hour to defeat.
I expressed to my audience that I wasn’t doing anything different compared to any of the other times. Except for the first and second fight. After that I had it figured out. I knew what I had to do, and it was just my execution improving. A bit of luck was also required. The Janky controls and somewhat unpredictable nature of the enemies make it necessary. But there wasn’t any kind of trick or deep strategy required. You just have to do it over and over again.
If I was younger, I would be all over this game. I could put the time in no problem. But as an adult I can’t justify using time on repetition, unless I’m streaming the game. When I’m streaming I’m creating content, I’m gaining revenue from ads and donation, and I’m building my brand. This way I can play a game I want to play while still being productive.
My YouTube channel centers around philosophy and storytelling in video games. I wouldn’t be able to convince myself that playing through Dark Souls offline would be a boon to my channel. The game does contain an interesting take on the dark fantasy genre. But it does not have what people would say is a traditional style of storytelling. It’s very subtle, even hidden to the point that many would say there’s no story at all. The only reason I know that is because my viewers tell me that’s the case.
But what I do understand is that, in a way, the difficulty itself plays into the game’s theme. That’s why I am against the suggestion that the developers introduce an easy mode to the game. Difficulty options make sense for more narrative focused games. But the attraction of Dark Souls is the challenge. Thus, adding an easy mode would go against the developer’s vision.
The game can be pretty demoralizing sometimes, but I’m very grateful for my viewers. Without them I would have put the game aside and played something else. I almost did when fighting the Gaping Dragon, but it was my viewers who made me soldier on. I wouldn’t have figured it out if I had quit. The bosses are intimidating, but the trick is to not fear them. The sense of pride and accomplishment of victory is the reward we’re striving for. Something Electronic Arts has proven incapable of comprehending.
I dual stream on both YouTube and Twitch. I had my Twitch affiliate status removed just so I could go back to streaming on both platforms. If you want to watch, I stream every weekday at 8PM / 20:00 Central European Summer Time. We’d love to have you.
Papito Qinn is into the whole YouTube thing, is the winner of the 2016 SpookTAYcular Scary Story Contest, and a twitter incompetent who, by popular demand, also has a Discord server. “Die 195,765 times. Get back up 195,766 times.”