Know what I hate – people who whine about games being too hard. You know what else I hate – people who whine about games being too easy. I hear it all the time, from both sides. After going after the SJW side of the fence for so long, I am finally going to address my side of the fence – shut the fuck up. Just because you don’t find a game difficult enough for you doesn’t mean that it isn’t a game. That was a lot of the argument that I heard about games like Gone Home. “How can you even consider it a game?! There’s no difficulty! It’s basically a walking simulator!” Oh, so that makes Journey one too? Just because a game is easy doesn’t mean that it is worthless. The quality of a game comes from more places than one. Some are narrative heavy and want to suck you in. Others are action heavy and want to get you on difficulty. I love games that can get you on both. Which brings me to this article.
See, a blog called FemHype decided that games like Dark Souls and Bloodborne are too hard, and that’s just wrong. Wait, no, it’s not wrong. It’s Privilege. No joke, that’s what they call it. They talk about three privileges that one needs to play the game. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Here’s a link to her post. Let’s talk about it.
I tried to like Dark Souls and Bloodborne. I really did.
Here we go…
That was the problem, though—these games (Dark Souls and Bloodborne, specifically) were not fun for me.
Then don’t play them. That was hard. Do you need me here for this?
In order to enjoy these games, in my experience, there are certain privileges that are necessary: time, money, and the dedication to the self-image as a gamer.
*rolls eyes* Oh give me a break. Privileges? Really? If I’ve learned anything from the feminist usage of this word, it’s that it has no meaning. I’m not gonna go the Google route and look up the definition. Because the truth is that to the SJW crowd, this word is so damn flexible. For real, lady, how on Earth are you going to be able to show that these qualities are somehow privileges. How are they given? How are they taken away? What is the requisite of having them? I do suppose that you can be lacking in the first two. Time and money are resources, that can be gained or lowered, depending on one’s circumstances. I am a medical records technician who works 40 hours a week and tries to have a social life. I love Bloodborne. From the Lovecraftian horror to the visceral action and awesome bosses, it’s a great game. But maybe I have that third “privilege” you talked about. How do these work, anyway?
First, I’ll talk about the privilege of time.
Oh good, you foresaw my confusion. Alright, continue.
You are thrown into the middle of the action of the story without any concrete idea about what is going on in the larger picture.
Yeah. That’s how all of the Souls games worked, and how Bloodborne works as well. You wake up in a clinic, being given a transfusion of blood to heal you of some affliction which is never explained. You then customize your character and you’re off. The rest of the narrative is stuff you have to pick up along the way. It’s a narrative where you have very little control. You are playing along in a plot that has been building for a long time. There are some excellent videos that talk about the plot of this game and take it apart. I loved watching those. But it is still more fun if you take it apart yourself. The fact that you were unwilling to do this says nothing about some vague “privilege.” I think I know where you’re going with this. You are going to make the argument that to really figure everything out takes a lot of time. True. But my answer is – so what? If you want to invest that time, you will. If you don’t, you won’t. You can choose to not play the game. You can choose to press on. The choice is yours. That’s a “privilege,” honey.
Usually, when gaming, the difficulty of the level corresponds directly with how many checkpoints are found within that level. An easier level would have fewer than five, while a more complex level may have a whole lot more. In these extraordinary examples (Dark Souls and Bloodborne), there are maybe three checkpoints over the course of a thousand feet within the game. Not bad, right?
Yeah, it’s great. It puts your skills to the test. By the way, just focusing on Bloodborne, you can go to the Hunter’s Dream at any point. It might take a little back-tracking, but all the monsters you killed stay dead. So you find a lamp, and you can go back. You will die a lot, but you can reclaim your Blood Echoes from the enemy that killed you. It takes skill, but there are ways to get around it, if you choose to take the time to devote yourself to it. But I can already hear your argument here as well. But let’s take your argument apart in a better way. Because the way you defend this point makes you sound so pathetic.
Say there are 35 to 40 enemies within 1,000 feet of distance between checkpoints. The character has to pick off each one of those enemies at one or two at a time in order to get through that stretch in-game. If it takes five minutes or so per enemy or enemies, that takes a whole lotta time.
You’re picking off enemies one or two at a time? Wow, you must really suck at Bloodborne. When you first start in Central Yharnam, there are plenty of places where you can choke enemies in and get hacking. Or, if you have the cane, you can keep them at a distance with the whip-form. There are plenty of ways to play the game. Are you playing it really nervous and cowardly? That’s not how Bloodborne was meant to be played. Unlike its predecessors, this game rewards daring and being willing to take risks. It reward playing offensively. Dodging when it’s smart, then striking hard. If you take some damage, the game gives you time to regain the lost health, but continuing to fight. Striking restores HP. This game is not made for people who play it nervously. It requires a little bravery. Sometimes, a lot of the time, you’ll fuck up and die. But you learn from it. It’s a learning experience. By the time I had gotten really good at the game, I can go into an area and not be especially worried. Does that mean that I won’t die? Hell no. I die all the time. But I don’t lose my shit over it. If you aren’t willing to take the time to learn the game, then whose fault is that?
Then you inevitably die because, surprise! An evil dog was there the entire time and it just ate your face off. You silly gamer, you. Now you must start again with those 35 to 40 enemies from the beginning, keep that stray evil dog in mind, and pray to the gods that there is not another stray evil dog behind the next cart.
Yeah, you gotta learn. And you do! You learn where those dogs are, and you are ready for them. It’s a game of trial and error. Each time you screw up, you get a little better. That’s the whole point! God, I hate having to listen to someone bitching about a game being difficult because they refuse to put in the time and effort to learn it. The learning curve isn’t as steep as you’d think. The Souls games can be punishingly difficult, but Bloodborne is not nearly as hard as this person makes it out to be. Not if you have the guts to charge forward and start tearing flesh with your saw blade. Or Ludwig’s Blade, as in my case.
As a working student, I could not justify spending that much time on the same parts of the game for days. I’m lucky—I only had to work one part-time job while going to school. But a lot of people do not have the time in-between two or three jobs on top of a getting a higher level of education or taking care of their family.
Give me a break! “I can’t hold them with logic, so I’ll appeal to emotion! ‘They have families and obligations! That’s not fair!’ Whew, dodged a logical bullet there. They can’t argue that with that and not appear rude toward people with families.” Actually, yes I can – if you have all these obligations, then I guess you don’t have the time for that. That’s not a “privilege.” If you are so put upon and don’t have the time to game, then don’t game. I worked full time and went to college and I had the time to game. I work full time now, as a college grad, and I have time to game. I don’t have a family, but still. You prioritize your life based on how much effort you want to put in. If someone is decent, then they will prioritize their family. Or their school. Or whatever. There is NO reason that developers should tailor their games to make these people happy. It’s not “privilege.” It’s the way things are. If these imaginary people who you made up to pull at our pathos don’t like it, they don’t have to play.
So the privilege of time is intrinsically connected to the privilege of wealth. It connects even more so when you consider that someone (such as myself) spent enough money to feed themselves for a week or two ($50 or more) to get flipped off continuously by sword-wielding skeletons and weirdly tall men in trench coats carrying scythes.
I don’t even get this. It doesn’t cost you money to play a game, once you own it. Not unless you are a WoW fan or something. Let me see if I got your argument straight – I work too hard to have to deal with this! That about right? Well then, here’s a simple solution – don’t play. If it’s just too much work for you, then don’t play. I have a feeling that this third “privilege” you are about to get to ties in with this argument, so I’ll hold off until we get there.
But I think the most problematic part of this type of game is the part that feeds into the ego of the gaming community.
Spirits forbid that someone who works hard to get good at something feel accomplished. That “privileged” asshole.
I think a large part of this was due to my ego as a gamer. I am, as you may have guessed, quite dedicated to the world of video games. I am pretty good at them, and thus my continuous failures in Dark Souls really aggravated my ego. I made up excuses, and while they were valid, they were not entirely fair. Although I told myself I did not have the time to dedicate to Dark Souls, I apparently always had space in my busy schedule as a liberal arts student to replay BioShock for the umpteenth time.
Okay, here we go. Look, honey, we all have our strengths and weaknesses when it comes to gaming. I am not the person who enjoys online shooters. I have never been into competitive online gaming, and I doubt I ever will be. I love me a good story-driven game. Or, I can get into a crazy hack-and-slash. Regardless, I play games for different reasons than other people. Maybe these games just aren’t for you. Not all games are for everyone. I have played the Bioshock games quite a bit too. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that certain kinds of gaming aren’t for you. I don’t play WoW. Does that make me less of a gamer. Do you play Starcraft? No? Does that make you less of a gamer? It doesn’t matter. There is a lot of dignity that can come from admitting that you aren’t especially good at something. Just be honest. We aren’t going to throw pies at you or something.
I met a lot of people who talked about how much they loved these games and I’ve received snapchats from acquaintances playing these games with very positive captions. I couldn’t understand it—until I realized that these gamers are from privilege who are students or recent graduates, which means there is a certain level of free time and financial support at their disposal.
No. Wrong! There is a certain amount of dedication and pride at what they are doing. And it is pride. The first time I beat Rom, the Vacuous Spider, I felt accomplished as fuck. Taking a snapshot of it on my PS4 (I LOVE the share features on that console) felt great. Getting to the very bottom of the Chalice Dungeons, where the bosses are so hard that any of them can practically one-shot you is so difficult that you will be feeling your nerves crying. But then you watch the boss die and you feel pretty great. That’s the nature of this medium. The fact that you are unwilling to get in on the fun means that you are either too nervous or too pathetic to admit that this is not your bag. You are blaming the gamers who take pride in their accomplishments because you are too proud to admit that this might not be for you. Says a lot about you, actually.
That is not to say that they are bad people, but in my experience, it attracts a certain subset of people who have the resources and an urge to prove themselves in a world that does not have the same sense of security, economically and otherwise, that it once did when we were in the safety of the educational system.
This is telling. It’s really, really telling. It says a lot about the feminist mindset. Yeah, you aren’t in school anymore. Life is hard. It really is. It won’t hold your hand. It won’t let you off easy. It doesn’t care how you feel. The truth is, Bloodborne is a lot like life. It takes a lot of work to really get good at it. At anything. If you love something, I mean truly love it, you will invest the time and effort that it takes to become great at it. That’s why I am so proud of my work on this site. I have put in six years into this website. Six years of steady posting. Almost every day. In fact, often more than once per day. Six years of constant effort to really become great at this. You are not willing to put in that effort. You are complaining that this game is too hard, and using the term “privilege” to make it seem like its the devs and the gamers fault. It’s not that this is the game for you. It’s that you are being trodden upon.
Until next time, a quote,
“Don’t handicap your children by making their lives easy.” -Robert A. Heinlein