Dark Souls taught me to celebrate small victories – Polygon6 min read


Discovering to parry in Dark Souls needs an intimate knowledge of your challenger.
To learn when you need to press the parry button for each unique enemy type, you will undoubtedly die, over and over again, because you strike that button either too late or too early. Therefore, finding out to parry in Dark Souls is making an arrangement with yourself that you are going to experience a series of particular failures, in the hopes that, eventually, you will have found out something.
The totality of Dark Souls works by doing this, which you probably knew even if you never played it, since its almost a decade old and has actually been analyzed by many critics considering that. I played a few of Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2 a number of years earlier– enough to comprehend that its grim world of armored skeletons was repetitive and grueling. I likewise might inform that if I had actually stuck with it, I would have found it rewarding, but that it would take a level of patience I did not believe I had.
To put it simply, I didnt think I was the type of individual who could play a video game like Dark Souls. It ends up that I am, however I didnt discover that until this year, when I tried Dark Souls again in the middle of the pandemic and a deep depression.
I have not beaten Dark Souls yet, however Im further than Ive ever gotten previously (I just reached the Gaping Dragon), and thus many individuals before me who have depression and have actually gotten method into Dark Souls, all I can believe about now is what Dark Souls has actually taught me about failure and strength. Which brings me back to parrying.

Image: FromSoftware/Namco Bandai Games via Polygon

For many of my journey in Dark Souls, I did not trouble to learn to parry. I likewise chose that I was going to do it by parrying.
It took me 3 hours to learn how to effectively parry Havels attacks. For the majority of those three hours, I did not strike the button at the right time, and Havel could take down nearly my whole health bar in one hit.
Was it really worth trying to learn how to do this? Was I capable of finding out to parry? Should I utilize some other method for beating Havel, since there are lots of?

From Software/Bandai Namco

Ultimately, I would discover it within myself to attempt once again.
Every now and then, throughout those 3 hours, I would handle to carry out a successful parry versus Havel. These minutes felt fleeting, inaccurate, unknowable.
After more attempts than I bothered to count, I began to observe that in order to effectively parry Havel, I really had to stand quite close to him. And in those minutes when I did successfully parry and hit him back, bringing Havel to his knees and shaving off a portion of his life bar, I then had to do something even more difficult: square my shoulders and prepare to parry him all over again.
In the end, I defeated Havel utilizing totally counter-attacks and parries. It took 7 perfect parries in overall to take him down, every one followed by an attack on my part. In my winning fight, Havel did not manage to strike me a single time. My primary memory of that battle, though, is not my parries or my attacks, or even the minute when Havel lastly collapsed into dust. My strongest memory is when I had to walk back over to Havel in between each successful parry, squaring my shoulders when again, hoping I would manage to successfully parry him on his next wind-up.
I had done it previously. But could I do it once again? Okay, I had done it four times. Could I do it a 5th? And so on. These moments were the most scary and yet also the most satisfying. I knew that a not successful parry on my part would knock me off my entire video game. So I had to remain calm, even as I stood nose-to-nose with death.

Image: FromSoftware/Namco Bandai Games through Polygon

If you fail in Dark Souls, there is absolutely nothing to do other than try again. That existential fear is part of the scaffolding of Dark Souls world. Your character is already on a dark descent into this state at the games start.

At times, the sheer size of the universe and the pointlessness of any private action leaves me in a state of psychological paralysis that is so severe as to avoid me from accomplishing anything. Many years of therapy, meditation classes, prescription drugs, workout, and any number of other tools in my arsenal prevent me from “going Hollow” in my daily life, although the risk constantly looms.
I take care of myself so that I can take care of other people. I engage with art that matters to me, and I write and modify stories about that art, and I try to tell myself that these actions matter.
I will admit that I have experienced many days this year in which those actions felt pointless. And yet, I got up and I did it all, again and once again. Sometimes, I might view some fleeting success, some sense of connection– the one effective parry before I went down and awakened as soon as again in the firelight of a brand-new attempt.

Image: FromSoftware/Namco Bandai Games

For most of my journey in Dark Souls, I did not bother to discover to parry. It took me three hours to learn how to successfully parry Havels attacks. And in those minutes when I did effectively parry and hit him back, bringing Havel to his knees and shaving off a chunk of his life bar, I then had to do something even more hard: square my shoulders and prepare to parry him all over again.
My primary memory of that battle, however, is not my parries or my attacks, or even the moment when Havel finally collapsed into dust. My strongest memory is when I had to stroll back over to Havel in between each effective parry, squaring my shoulders as soon as again, hoping I would handle to effectively parry him on his next wind-up.

I can view no larger significance in the actions that I perform in Dark Souls. The point is not the 7 best parries in a row, or even the defeated mini-boss at my feet.
When I keep in mind that these victories are so hard-fought, and so small, it feels bad. The real-life variation is keeping in mind to consume lunch, or to go for a walk, and then keeping in mind to do it once again the following day, and trying not to believe too tough about how you need to keep doing that, once again and again, as lots of days in a row as you can, in order to feel OK. Not even excellent– simply OK.
Dark Souls does not let me do it, and thats why its become my greatest convenience– a workout in requiring myself to only evaluate a problem thats right in front of me. A long string of failures is also a long string of attempts, the evidence that I stubbornly picked to keep on caring, regardless of no grand factor for doing so. I select not to go Hollow.

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