Moss­mouth Over the years, I be­gan to feel like my en­thu­si­asm for games went more into the mak­ing than the play­ing of them. Then I played Dark Souls, and you could say it rekin­dled the pas­sion for play­ing I re­mem­ber hav­ing as a kid.

It’s not just the game’s oft-cited dif­fi­culty, which re­lies on in­tim­i­da­tion over cheap­ness, or its unique me­dieval world, which evokes the bizarre and bru­tal trap­pings of early D&D in­stead of the well-trod­den fan­tasies of Tolkien. It’s also that Dark Souls is in­ter­nally con­sis­tent in a way few games are. Bosses, for ex­am­ple, are as sus­cep­ti­ble to fall­ing off ledges as reg­u­lar en­e­mies. And even though much of the nar­ra­tive is hid­den away in item de­scrip­tions and cryp­tic di­a­logue, nearly ev­ery­thing in the game, from respawn­ing to mul­ti­player, makes sense within the game world. As a re­sult, it feels like a real place rather than a theme park. All of this leads to a kind of ‘ Dark

Souls ef­fect’: af­ter over­com­ing its chal­lenges it’s hard to go back to the drawn-out tu­to­ri­als, hints, and hand­hold­ing of other ti­tles.

Minecraft is a care­fully it­er­ated de­sign, but it’s in play­ers’ hands that it truly reaches its po­ten­tial

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