Generally, I don't play games anymore because each time I do, I feel acutely aware of my age, and find myself unable to shake the empty feeling that I am wasting precious moments of my life and should be doing something more productive. I just don't have a carefree, fun experience playing games anymore. So when the PS3 gets started up, it's usually turned off again within 20 minutes. But not Dark Souls. I am 80 hours in and the end is in sight. But I'm broken.
In the past, when I have played a game which allows moral choices (i.e. seemingly every modern game), or an open world game which allows wanton destruction, I inevitably end up playing the role of the good guy, going on stupid errands to make complete strangers happy and altruistically saving the universe while hurting as few completely fake video game people as possible. But last night Dark Souls made me snap. After about four hours of generally positive progress, I seemed to enter some sociopathic state for no particular reason. Any NPC character that I came across ended up chopped into little bits by my katana and getting their loot jacked. There was no mercy for anyone, not even for the characters who had helped me out on my journey.
And maybe I subliminally wanted that to happen; maybe I don't want to escape the dreariness and bleakness. And that is possibly the magic of Dark Souls. Maybe I can have fun with games despite being an old man in video game terms. Maybe it is just that the games aren't as good or imaginative as they used to be. Maybe Dark Souls is one of the top games of the current generation, and being captured by it is no less a legitimate use of time than a good book. I think I’m off to finish Dark Souls – I wonder how long New Game + takes to complete…?