Ir al contenido principal

Rage against the dying of the light

I would like to tell a different story, but it was not until Bloodborne, in 2015, that I really started enjoying Hidetaka Miyazaki's games.

I remember the word of mouth with Demon's Souls, I also remember how difficult it was to get my copy for PS3, and on top of all that, I do perfectly remember me putting the game aside, frustrated and convinced that it was mechanically broken, totally unfair with the player. Some short of niche title for super hardcore players, but not something I could appreciate, not to mention enjoy.

With these premises it was not strange that I didn't care about Dark Souls. It simply was not in my agenda. By that time Skyrim and Battlefield 3 were my principal focus.

As I've said, I had to wait until 2015, with a new generation of consoles in between, before playing again a game from From Software. I was not super fascinated about Project Beast at the beginning, I did not follow the development, someday it was just released and I told myself "Why not?", so I went to my local store and got my copy.

This time, although I struggled during the first couple of hours, something changed in my mind. It was like I had finally understood what I was here for.

When people understand this for the very first time while playing Miyazaki's games they experience kind of an epiphany. It was not a broken game, it was the way I was approaching it. There were no unpolished mechanics, I had to improve my skills.

From Software's games are widely credited for remembering the industry -remembering us the players- that games are named so because they are meant to be mechanically demanding. Demon Souls' generation was somehow a paradigm of simplification. The generation of the never-ending tutorials and quick-time events. The generation of infinite shields and life regeneration.

It was as if after discovering their own narrative possibilities, video games would have forgotten about their most representative feature. They were way more video and way less game

Let's be fair and say that possibly part of the transition was necessary. Studios like Naughty Dog which entered into the generation with a fun Indiana Jones clone, ended up creating a deep, powerful and melancholic introspective reflection about the demons of the human soul. Unfortunately there were others, like Crytek, who decided to destroy their legacy and make a bad Call of Duty out of their most important franchise.

There is no doubt that we, the players, needed someone to remind us that this simplification path was a tricky one and so did Miyazaki. He presented himself in front of the industry with a groundbreaking idea: Let's play some videogames. Let our level design be the players learning vehicle. Let the world, hostile, force them to remain alert. Shall the X never, ever, mark the spot.

And the players accepted the challenge. Some directly embraced it. Others, like me, needed more time; but when we heard that click inside, we knew there was no turn back.

We were in a hostile world, that's true, but we were ourselves. After that corner the danger was not threatening our avatar, it was threatening us. When we were dancing to death with a boss the triumph was perceived as something personal. We felt the euphoria raising in a primal, visceral way.

Miyazaki gave the curiosity back to us. He made us investigate every location. We became one with the game world.

Both the disturbing Victorian beauty of Bloodborne and the decadent medieval sadness of Dark Souls hit us hard, but also touched us deeply. As we were advancing in the game we were suffering, but also growing feelings. Every stone, every dust mote, every musical note was telling us something. Not with a clear description of what was happening, off course without cinematics. The game was not helping us. We had to want to know, to find out the details in our own. It was not a novel, it was a lyric composition. It was a poem open to our interpretation.

And then there was death. Death was the pillar of everything. We kept dying. All the time. But we learnt out of each death. Every time we died we also improved our skills and our knowledge on the game. 

We keep dying. Human beings cannot scape from death. But now we know our place in this world. Now we are awake.

We do not go gentle in that good night.

Note from IPQ: You can read Dylan Thomas' poem here:


Entradas populares de este blog

No usarás el nombre Half Life en vano

Acaba el año 2020 , y podemos decir sin temor a equivocarnos que lo recordaremos siempre. Sin embargo, hoy quiero hablar de algo positivo. De como en este 2020 llegamos a tocar techo. Hoy, por fin, vamos a hablar del mejor juego de este año, y posiblemente de su generación. Half Life son palabras mayores. Los que llevamos unos años en esto recordamos con reverencia 1998 y, sobre todo, 2004. Nuestro proceso de maduración como jugadores a golpe de barra metálica.  La industria estaba en plena adolescencia. Ya no gateaba; pero tampoco se tomaba aún demasiado en serio a si misma. Llegó Valve , nos dio la pastilla roja, y ya no hubo marcha atrás.  Qué difícil ser Valve. Qué complicado ha de ser tener una de las propiedades intelectuales más celebradas de la historia del medio y no obstante mantenerse firme durante años y años. Contemporizar su propia trascendencia, su papel casi mesiánico como obra fundacional. Que difícil vencer la tentación de convertir Half Life en comida rápida. Y sin

Fate of Atlantis, la mayor aventura de nuestra vida

Existe bastante consenso respecto a que las aventuras gráficas que Lucasarts lanzó al mercado entre finales de los 80 y principios de los 90 son las mejores del género. La verdad es que el talento creativo que se reunió en aquella época fue un auténtico espectáculo.  Nombres como Dave Grossman , Tim Schafer y, sobre todo, Ron Gilbert marcaron la industria con títulos inolvidables. A todos nos vienen a la cabeza sin pensarlo mucho los  Maniac Mansion , The Secret of Monkey Island 1 y 2 o Day of the Tentacle . Sin embargo, y aunque adoro los juegos arriba citados, hay otro que en mi opinión se sitúa por encima de estos y constituye la referencia absoluta del género. Me estoy refiriendo por supuesto a Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis . Hal Barwood y Noah Falstein se sacaron de la manga un guión de película -bastante mejor de hecho que el de la última entrega de la franquicia- y clavaron una aventura ambiciosa que brilla con luz propia en todos sus apartados.