Filthy Casual – When Did Casual Gaming Start Being A Bad Thing?

Remember how I said that perusing the Steam forums is something you get discouraged from doing, well whatever you do avoid the Dark Souls III forum board because it’s nothing but people moaning about poise, invasions, ganking, oh and my favourite one yet, that the majority of people playing Dark Souls III are filthy casual gamers, and I’m apparently one of them.

Yes apparently enjoying a game because it’s fun makes you casual gamer which is apparently a pox on the Soulsborne community. If you R1 spam, you’re a casual, if you complain that the game is hard, you’re a casual. When was being a casual gamer a bad thing? I wasn’t aware that gaming ranks started from ‘noob’ and ended at ‘MLG Pro’, I never imagined how intense Pong fights were on the Atari in the seventies, oh and imagine the insults thrown at little Jimmy as he played Pac-Man down at the Arcade in the eighties.

I can never understand this elitist mentality amongst the more ‘serious’ gamers in the community (I call myself a serious gamer but not to the point of belittling another person’s taste in video games, that’s just being an asshole). This idea that if you’re bad at a game you need to ‘git gud’ or not play it all. The majority of my gaming career before 2014 was Spyro and Crash Bandicoot on the PlayStation, Skyrim on the PC and Pokemon on all handheld consoles before I finally upgraded to the PS4 and got a decent enough gaming laptop to play some of the more recent games developed because you can’t play video games in a car unless it’s on a portable device. And I’m an avid gamer, my current Steam library count is 262 Games, but I have way more counting the games on my DS, Game Boy Advance, 3DS and PlayStation 4, I am at least boarding on 300 Games across PC, Console and Handheld altogether which for me is pretty good considering I also have a large movie and CD collection too.

All these games and all that money spent, I wouldn’t exactly call myself a casual gamer now, but certainly in the past before I got disposable income. My childhood afternoons were spent playing Spyro and Crash Bandicoot while my brother played racing games on his PS2. My afternoons now are spent playing a mix of Open World RPG, Horror Games, Fantasy, Point and Clicks, Adventure and Action Games. I can certainly admit that I have evolved as a Gamer over time especially as my taste and interest in video games grew due to exposure to the gaming community, and I love the community I’ve made a few good friends here and dragged some current friends into the community too.

Playing video games as a casual past-time isn’t a bad thing and being a casual gamer shouldn’t be a bad thing to be. Not everyone is as serious about video games like myself or many others, and they don’t have to be so long as they enjoy the select titles they play. And so long as you’re willing to welcome those into the community, it’s not a bad thing to be and not a bad place to be (In the right circles).

So let’s back to the reason we play video games, to have fun, kick-ass, and watch a Mr. Handy get blown up by a grenade.

This Is No Man’s Sky…But I Am No Man Therefore It Is My Sky

Perhaps my lack of caring about those who complain about everything in the world has manifested itself so deep into my personality that I mistake it for a Daria-esque attitude, but as I wade through the Steam forums, something a lot of people discourage you doing, I can’t help but notice this sense of smugness amongst gamers, I’ll admit I can be smug when I want to, especially when it comes to people bitching about Dark Souls III. But this sense of smugness I found seems to be coming from a lot of people who are complaining about the recently released space exploration game No Man’s Sky. Let me say that again ‘Space Exploration’, well that was my first impression of the game because I didn’t have a seat on the Hype Train apparently went off the rails and down into Let Down Canyon, seriously who went and hijacked that train? And I don’t really care that it didn’t live up to the hype, I don’t do hype trains.

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So things were promised that weren’t delivered and it got people mad, and now people want their money back. Well good for them, but I don’t want my forty pounds back (Well actually it was £39.99 but it’s easier to round up), I’ve only got 3 hours of playing on record because I’ve been in the middle of a Bloodborne session, playing Dark Souls III to prep for the Ashes Of Ariandel DLC, and get started on the Fallout 4 DLC’s (I still haven’t gotten around to any of them, I’ve only just began Automatron). And there’s a whole load of other games I’ve been playing as well.

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Look for the three hours I played No Man’s Sky, I enjoyed it, I can’t fly the spaceship for shit but I can’t drive a bloody horse-drawn carriage either, but for me personally it’s a relaxing experience, just traversing the universe, landing on planets, finding beacons, picking up isotopes and materials to build stuff and keep my equipment topped up, and meeting the local aliens. Do I want there to be multiplayer, not really because as fun as interacting with people would be, I kind of like the lone wanderer feeling I get when I’m walking along the terrain of a newly discovered planet. I’ve discovered some rather pretty locations and I wanted to imagine how cool the water felt on one of the moons I discovered. I’ve barely scraped the surface of this game and I want to find that damn Atlas pass and if that means heading to the center of the universe, well looks like I’ll be going on a long trip looking for something small in a vast universe, so I better start charging up that hyperdrive .

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Those who got their money back and are still whinging about the game and the features that didn’t get included, you keep on doing that I’m not going to stop you. But I’m going to go back to No Man’s Sky and enjoy it alongside the other four-thousand odd people still playing because I am no man and it is my sky to explore.

A Test Of Patience: How I Learned To Love Bloodborne And Dark Souls III

The Soulsborne games are a pretty niche series of games by From Software, where the check points are merely pit stops on a road of non-stop torture that begins each session by asking, “Just how much bullshit are you willing to put up with today?”

The answer is very little.

I was introduced to the games by Jacksepticeye playing Bloodborne. I then found a copy of Dark Souls II on the Xbox360 and proceeded to hate the game because I kept dying and lose whatever souls I had accumulated, I never even got to the first boss. When I finally saved up enough money to buy a PlayStation 4, Bloodborne was the first game on my list…and I was terrible at it. I gave up and started playing other games, before trading in my copy of Fallout 4 and Bloodborne so I could by the Bloodborne: Game of the Year edition. And after many trials, tribulations, yelling, and ultimately dying at least a hundred times, I finally completed the game within five weeks on an Arcane build, she is still saved on my PS4 and is currently in NG+ failing to kill the Blood-Starved Beast.

And after enjoying Bloodborne so much I was eager for Dark Soul III and wasn’t too bad at it. Before I got it on PC for my Ramsay Bolton Dark Souls character run, I completed the game in just over two weeks on the PS4. Naturally the player-count has dwindled a little in the past few months but it’ll pick up when the DLC’s are released and provide us with more fun and pain.

But I want to talk about the difficulty of these games, a lot of people complain that the Souls games are ‘too hard’ and yes that was my first thought when I first played Dark Souls II, I had jumped into the series with no idea of what to do or how to play. Bloodborne was different because while I was terrible, I started watching EpicNameBro’s Bloodborne play through to get an idea of how to play the game and understand the lore of the game. And that’s when I realised that there are four things you need to realise if you want to play these games.

  1. You need patience and a lot of it
  2. You need to accept the fact that in these games death and loss of a few thousand souls/echoes is inevitable
  3. Trial and error will play a large part in making progress
  4. Read the notes left behind from other players, a lot of time they have useful information like if bosses are weak to certain things or illusory walls are nearby

Sure you get a lot of people who will tell you to ‘git gud’ and as stupid as that phrase is, it raises a good point that you will need to practice and to farm and normally the first area of the game is perfect for that. If you’re playing Bloodborne, stick to Central Yharnam for an hour, look for the shortcuts, grab all the items, and practice your visceral attacks. Not every game has an easy mode and these games certainly don’t and yes you can complain about that but at the end of it all, it’s not about the combat, it’s about the story.

And that is why I love Bloodborne and Dark Souls III (I still haven’t got around to giving enough of a shit to actually play Dark Souls and Dark Souls II, and I have no PS3 to play Demon Souls) because of the story. I love the premise of the Night of the Hunt, I love hunting down the Lords of Cinder, and at some point I will go into a long rant about how much I love The Old Hunters DLC despite it being a bitch to get through.

Underneath all that combat and all the bullshit you have to power through is a fantastic story and world that will make you glad you experienced it, you just need to master the art of Patience in order to get there.