Coming to Dark Souls So Late That It's Basically Like Going to Disneyland

Eurogamer writer Chris Donland has penned a piece about his first experience with Dark Souls and how the fact that he got late into the title influenced his experience. He likens the early adopters of Dark Souls as its "pioneers" and new players as "tourists". An excerpt:

In amidst these herd epiphanies, though, in amidst the jolts that Dark Souls provides to every one of its players in exactly the same way, I started to experience something that only people who come to the game late will get to experience: I started to realise that I was so late to this marvelous game that I had missed the pioneer period entirely. The cartographers had done their work. Instead, I was a tourist in Lordran.

I noticed this pretty early, actually. When I first travelled from the Undead Asylum, clutching a giant bird thing as I raced through the louring skies, I landed at the Firelink Shrine and thought: Oh god, the Firelink Shrine! I've heard about this place! It's super famous, and here it is! And in its boggy, rainy greens and greys, it is exactly as I expected it to be.

And when I wandered around the shrine a bit, it started to dawn on me: this is the feeling you get when you finally see the Pyramids at Giza. Or when you finally see The Haunted Mansion in Disneyland. Lordran is a place! It is a place that its players have made their own, and then returned from and spread stories of. Artificial as it is, it has gone beyond a suite of stages and clever bits of design and become a world in and of itself. You don't play Dark Souls so much as go there - on holiday. Sure, you have the same experiences everyone else does a lot of the time, and you feel the footsteps of those who have come before you all the time, but isn't that what being on holiday is like? This fame, as my friend Jason Killingsworth once explained to me, is not the kind of fame that renders something tacky, that stops you from seeing it. It is the kind of fame that makes something exalted.

And if I have lost a little of the mystery - not all of it, of course, because Dark Souls really is something special - I have gained a lot in very simple terms. I am surviving! In this taxing, inhospitable world, with my terrible gaming skills, I am putting one foot in front of the other and making progress!