May The Good Blood Guide Your Way

Bloodborne follows a similar mechanic; by selecting the notebook in your inventory, you can scrawl a note and send it out into other players’ universes, where it can be rated “fine” or “foul” according to how helpful (or amusing) players who stumble across the missive find it. There’s something moving about this process, like a note in a bottle sent out across other dimensions, little gestures of kindness and goodwill in the decaying and endlessly hostile environment. Hunters sending little vials of hope across the cosmos; tiny pearls of help. A colleague of mine, Braydon Beaulieu, wrote a few notes in Bloodborne that were not about strategy, but self-care. Little reminders of kindness in the bleakness. In response to this, I wrote a poem, my own little wish for gentleness. Continue Reading

Narration of Things

Storytelling in Dark Souls via Item Descriptions

If the games of the Dark Souls series (Dark Souls (2011) / Dark Souls II (2014) ) are renowned for one thing, this would be being literally murderously difficult. In Dark Souls every mistake can end deadly, for every opponent can kill the avatar, no matter how innocuous he might appear. All it takes is a tiny moment of carelessness. For narrating stories, other games are renowned—for example the Witcher or Dragon Age series or the recent games by Telltale Games , their narrative quality stemming from the momentous decision-making; or author games by David Cage whose gameplay don’t always live up to the standard of their cinematic narration quality. Continue Reading

What We’re Playing Vol II

Constraints & Explorations

There is rarely a time when I’m not playing Dragon Age 2. I know that it’s the lesser of the Dragon Age games, but I’ve still finished it twice, gotten to the end of Act 2 three times, and created a dozen characters that never got past level 15. It is partly due to the fact that I love each and every character (especially Aveline) in my party, but that’s not the whole story. If all I wanted from the game was interesting characters and fun relationship dynamics then Dragon Age: Origins would be a better game to play. DA:O, at least, lets me talk to my party whenever I feel like it. Continue Reading