Recently, I found an illustrated history of what is possibly my favorite game, ever. It was created by reddit user “Deddan” and is not only well thought out, but includes some wonderful illustrations to help get the messages across. Because the story line in Dark Souls is told almost entirely out of personal interactions and item descriptions, I found this to be a very useful (and entertaining) learning tool. Enjoy! (WARNING: SPOILERS, AND A VERY LONG SCROLL) Continue reading
As a child you believe that, if you follow the rules outlined for you, you will be achieve anything and everything you’ve ever wanted. The world is a ripe orchard of opportunity waiting to be picked at a moment’s notice. But anyone over the age of 20 knows this isn’t always the case. In fact, the most valuable lessons of life are learned outside the government-required methods of teaching and learning.
As I grew up, I encountered some harsh realities that no one really prepared me for. However, they seemed familiar, as if I had lived another set of lives that gave me an insight – albeit the slightest one – into how to best deal with what was happening to me. That’s when lightning struck, and I realized that any reality check or life lesson I would encounter, I would already be prepared for… thanks to video games.
Yes, video games. Throughout my 30 years of life there are five main lessons I’ve learned because of my digital adventures and tribulations, and chances are, you’ve learnt the same things…
5. Most People Are Out To Serve Themselves
One thing I came to grips with through my 20s was the fact that, no matter what field you work in, you will be surrounded by people whose main objective is to further their own lives. It doesn’t matter if you’re working for a non-profit, or deal in some kind of client services; the services rendered are often fueled by an individual’s desire to increase their own repertoire of accomplishments. If it so happens that they are able to do it in a field that allows them to help people, all the better. Those are called psychic benefits. Although nice, most people understand that you can’t pay rent with good vibes.
In the gaming world you often see a similar situation in FPS multiplayer games – particularly in team deathmatch mode. Your teammates aren’t there to help you get the highest score, and you aren’t there to help them. You are all there to achieve as many unlocks and points as possible with the added benefit of being able to use your teammates as distractions. A few games reward the “support” role, like Ghost Recon, or the Battlefield series, but unless you’re playing Journey you won’t find anyone rooting for your cause.
The incentive just isn’t there.
Helping others may give you a brief feeling of accomplishment in the vein of psychic benefit, but it won’t get you the rifle decal you crave so much .
4. You Will Fail (But You Will Succeed Later Because Of It)
Video games are designed to make you fail. The intent is to take your lion-sized courage and confidence and morph it into a baby duck. It’s industry standard for developers to program boss fights to take somewhere around three tries to win. That means that their goal is, literally, to make sure you don’t accomplish your desired goal on the first try. Or, if you’re playing Dark Souls, your 30th attempt. Continue reading
Crosspost from my article at Whatculture.com.
In the beginning there was a wish. During the days of Final Fantasy VII, Chrono Trigger, and Secret of Mana, many of us imagined a world where the characters we fought and bled with would be populated with other like-minded RPG fans. Where we could explore the fictional worlds with our friends; riding airships, exploring ancient cities, and avoiding marauders and other high-level dangers.
Then, one day, it happened. One day we woke up and we were given Asheron’s Call, EverQuest, and Ultima Online. The dream of immersing ourselves into a living, breathing world; full of cultures, factions, and other people had become a reality. The world was good, and the people rejoiced. Games like World of Warcraft (WoW) capitalized on this growing genre of gamers by using its existing brand recognition and innovative quest system to amalgamate users from these divided worlds. In the early to mid 2000’s there wasn’t a gamer alive who didn’t know what World of Warcraft was.
Eventually, this WoW bubble burst. Since it had become the face of MMORPGs the genre began to fade with it. The game became a polarized version of itself. The ease of starting the game was meant to appeal to casual gamers, but the end-game gear was primarily reserved for those who could invest eight hours a day into raiding dungeons or PvPing. Attempts were made to curb this separation, but by this point the first generation of WoW players had moved on, and their brethren were soon to follow.
Since the fires of WoW have now tempered themselves, people really haven’t heard much in the vein of MMORPGs on a blockbuster scale. One reason is because it is very difficult for an upstart title to overtake a game’s brand loyalty and consumer base. How many other first-person shooters can you name that have a truly competitive nature with Call of Duty or Halo? Many of these games fall into a roadside ditch, never to be thought of again. Others try to replicate the design, but through a lens that doesn’t really understand why the major title was famous in the first place. Allow me to show you an example of the latter. Continue reading