Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dark Souls: A Time To Grind


I wrote an article for Gameranx about temporality in Dark Souls and how it justifies the centrality of grinding within the game's play. Some disagree with my rather broad definition of "grinding", but I am really happy with the piece, regardless. It is an idea I have been musing on for a few weeks and was planning on just throwing up here on the blog, so I am glad I was able to give it a proper home.

Time and games is fascinating. It is something my Honours supervisor kept returning to this year throughout my thesis, but which ultimately I did not have the time to look at. So many different games deal with time in so many different ways. Lots of people are saying lots of interesting things about how videogames deal with and disrupt space, and I'm looking forward to when time and temporality are given the same appreciation.

1 comment:

Richard Goodness said...

I loved this article--I've been trying to do some writing about the game since I started playing it a few weeks ago and I am finding it just too *big* to write about. There's a LOT here, particularly in the ways that it's an evolution of the survival horror genre, with the ways it de-emphasizes plot and leaves the narrative to the exploration of the environment, etc--but I am finding it pretty overwhelming. I keep thinking, in context of your article, about how the game itself emphasizes that interpretation--some of the online items make a point to say that the "flow of time in Lordran is distorted" or something. Are you playing online? That kind of adds to the experience since other players are vague presences in your game--which, flip that and realize that you're just a vague presence in someone else's. The game kind of goes out of its way to make it clear that the world does not revolve around you.

I seem to have been using this comment box to talk out some of my own ideas, and now I just might know what to write about. Good luck with the rest of the game. We can beat this!