the best video game

i am playing dark souls, by from software, on ps3. this is a good game. i was expecting it to be, as a successor to demons souls. i expected compelling, tense presentation as the skin on the bones of a tight, ascetic action game.

it has outstripped my expectations. of course, it is incrementally more honed than the previous game, and incrementally broader. in each amount though, it is somehow incomparably, indefinably more engrossing. this is it; the best videogame. the impossible balance of tradition and novelty, of familiarity and ingenuity, of lore and athleticism. so, good news! everyone else making games can give up. if a particular person is capable of deriving any joy from the product of 50 years of videogame development, they will find it abundant here.

so i told my girlfriend, this game. dark souls, wow. i mean i didn’t really have to tell her because, i’ve been playing it a lot. i sat down with her, turned on the sound system, off the lights, handed her the controller. i’d seen the beginning sequence for the third time now, i knew these moments, beats, spaces. i was excited! i was full of too much advice, chatty, ‘shh, let me play’. we sat in the glow as she progressed steadily through to the second boss. turned off the console, on the lights, finished for the evening.

she does not play a lot of videogames, does not have many modern points of comparison. the narrative is important. and it is not good enough. ‘where’s the motive, ‘go do this thing’. whatever, why should i, make me want to, make me feel it’. she went to bed, and i thought about exposition, about princesses, about ‘quest logs’ and magical gps maps, about so much bullshit. and then, dark souls. i feel it! it moves me! but, is it enough?

maybe mother 3 is the best videogame. no, another world. half life 2? maybe i’m not so sure.

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About Offal

Allan O. is a game designer from Toronto, Canada. View all posts by Offal

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