Tag Archives: Dark Souls

Video Games from Playing to Watching Part 4: Games as Art

His face is on South Park. His fist is on your nephew’s shirt. His name is all over the internet, and odds are you’ve seen at least one of his videos on YouTube. You know him as PewDiePie. Although you wouldn’t see him critiquing a painting or enjoying a sculpture on a regular basis, he does appreciate film and editing. Is he himself an artist? I wouldn’t say so, but some of the games he plays just might be art.

This is the final part in a four part series. If you missed my previous entries you can start reading the first part here!

What defines “Art?” Russian author Leo Tolstoy in his essay “What is Art?” gave several definitions for art.

“Art is an external manifestation by means of lines, colours, movements, sounds,or words, of emotions felt by man.”

“Art is the production of some permanent object or passing action, which is fitted not only to supply an active enjoyment to the producer, but to convey a pleasurable impression to a number of spectators or listeners, quite apart from any personal advantage to be derived from it.”

Do video games fit into either of these definitions? Absolutely! Art is recognized by being primarily visual in the form of drawing, painting, or even dance. Eventually photography and film would fall under this umbrella definition of “Art” as well. So why not video games?

Video games are visual. In fact many games even have specific art styles that they draw inspiration from like the gothic Dark Souls or the chibi styled One Piece Treasure Cruise, two games that I have mentioned on this blog before.

Games also couple their visuals with both sound design and music. Whether it be the classic themes from Tetris or the Operatic Rock of Halo music can be just as iconic as the game that it was made for. Just listen to this song from Bioshock and tell me that it isn’t art?

What about the other definition? Do video games provide pleasure not just to their creators, but to an audience as well? Whether you play video games or not it is undeniable that they are enjoyable for many, many people for a number of reasons. Some people play MMOs to make friends. Others play platformers to challenge themselves. A great deal of people play games for escapism from the tedium of day to day life and so on… Entire communities develop around games.

Games even inspire people to create art like this scale map of Lordran from Dark Souls. lordran

I love video games. They have been a major part of my life. I made this very blog to celebrate them and their contributions to society. I’ve used video games as escapism from long days at school, as a coping mechanism when I went through depression, as a means of making and connecting with friends. Video games have helped shape the person I am today and I will always be grateful for that.

 

Our Dark Souls Stories

Dark Souls 3 has finally released and now everyone is free to explore Lothric. There is loot to be found, souls to be farmed, and bosses to defeat!

Many gamers, myself included jumped into the Souls series in Dark Souls 2 and I suspect many more will start with Dark Souls 3. So why not catch up on the lore of the series with a brief fan-made video featuring beautiful animation and intense narration? I can’t think of a single reason!

This video and many others were made for a contest that BANDAI NAMCO  held in honor of the release of Dark Souls 3. The grand prize was $10,000 and for the video to be featured as official promotional content. This was the winning entry by TerraMantis.

It is impossible to not feel pumped up after listening to it.

Bloodborne! Dark Souls meets Castlevania

This post is a response to Wizard Dojo’s review of Bloodborne.

Bloodborne is a game that has been so well received that many fans of the Souls series have aptly renamed the genre “SoulsBorne.” The game follows the basic structure of Dark Souls with weapons, customization, brutal and punishing boss fights, and a stamina based combat system, but it flips the typical Dark Souls game structure onto its head.

Instead of walking around with your shield up, and carefully analyzing your enemy’s attack patterns before engaging them, you are encouraged to rush into the fray guns blazing and cleaver swinging. It caused players to sort of unlearn how to play other Souls games in order to really master the combat of Bloodborne. Until the DLC came out there was only one shield in the game, and it was a small piece of wood who’s sole purpose was to tell you that there aren’t shields in Bloodborne.

The game’s atmosphere is nothing short of haunting. Dark Souls is a game that keeps the player invested because of its difficulty and punishing death system. Bloodborne borrows that, and raises the stakes by adding a gothic atmosphere filled with all sorts of Lovecraftian inspired eldritch horrors. Playing the game alone is terrifying. The visuals are stunning and the enemy design is both varied and grotesque.  Blending elements of survival horror into a combat focused action RPG is something that I have only seen from the Castlevania franchise. Bloodborne truly transcends the RPG genre. Many consider it to be the best SoulsBorne game yet. I myself consider it to be the best and most challenging Castlevania game since Order of Ecclesia.

Praise the Sun for Dark Souls 3!!!

The intro cinematic for the long awaited Dark Souls 3 released last week, and it does not disappoint. During the network test it became apparent that Dark Souls 3 was drawing more inspiration from the original Dark Souls. It seems that trend has continued into the opening cutscene of the game.

The cutscene reveals several bosses from the game and provides a bit of lore into the new setting of the game, Lothric. It mirrors the opening of the original Dark Souls and features the same narrator Pik Sen Lim. The similarities don’t stop there.

Two of the three bosses shown in the trailer are inspired by previous installments of the franchise. Farron’s Undead Legion are called the “Abyss Watchers.” No doubt a nod to Dark Souls fan favorite Artorias the “Abysswalker.” The Watchers are also wielding replicas of Artorias’s greatsword.

The last boss depicted is Yhorm the giant. He wears a crown similar to that of the faceless Giant Lord of Dark Souls 2. Giants typically wield axes, but the Giant Lord wields a greatsword. Yhorm wields a blade that looks like a large cleaver.

The trailer also shows us the image of a mountain top with what appears to be ruins of some sort. Fans of the Souls series will immediately recognize it as another Firelink Shrine, the sort of hub area of Dark Souls. This area is tended by the Bonfire Keeper. A woman who wears a crown that covers her eyes, similar to the Maiden in Black from Demon Souls who has solidified candle wax over her eyes.

The final similarity is that each revealed boss is said to be a “Lord of Cinder.” According to the lore of the Dark Souls franchise, a Lord of Cinder is someone who sacrifices their soul to link the flame. Gwyn, the final boss of Dark Souls is a known as the Lord of Cinder. However in Dark Souls 3 every boss in the trailer is referred to as a Lord of Cinder. Your character appears to have revived along with these Lords of Cinder. Perhaps you yourself are one as well.

Everything about Dark Souls 3 so far has been a love letter to the Souls community. Game director Hidetaka Miyazaki has listened to fan feedback and is committed to making a fitting sequel the masterpiece that is Dark Souls. The network test during September was a massive success. The playable demo showcased several different weapons, a reworked magic system, and the new weapon-specific special attacks called “Battle Arts.”

Dark Souls 3 releases April 12th, 2016 and is available for preorder now. Not that you should preorder games, because why on earth would you pay for a game that you can’t play immediately. However the Deluxe edition comes with a really awesome figure of the new Red Knight enemy and the Prestige edition comes with a Yhorm figure as well.