The Japanese game studio From Software has achieved widespread acclaim for making the Souls Series, and Bloodborne. A grueling game where you die again and again, and enjoy every bit of it.
Back in 2013, I got to know of this game called Dark Souls, it was said to be so difficult that there were compilations of gamers smashing their controllers out of frustration at dying and having to restart again.
Why would anyone subject themselves to this kind of torture?
That was my first thought. I just didn’t understand why anyone would be willing to play a game that upsets you and causes you to calm yourself down for the remainder of your free time. Weren’t games meant to be enjoyable? This seemed like self-inflicted cruelty to me.
Until I played it myself
I bought my PS4 this November, and one of the games that were recommended to me was Bloodborne. I had seen screenshots and video reviews of it, and something about the Victorian era gothic design appealed to me. I liked how the game looked, and decided to give it a go. When I started playing it, the scenery was nice, the graphics were amazing, the sound excellent, and it was difficult as hell. I died again and again. But the strange thing was, I kept coming back.
Why was I doing this to myself?
Something odd happened every time I died, the “You Died” screen flashed, and after a brief moment of frustration, I learned something: not to engage this enemy at this turn, or to take a different route, or this type of weapon is ineffective against this monster.
Every time I died, I had also progressed a little further into the game, until I got to the first boss, who killed me right away, but I was hooked by then.
Bloodborne is a metaphor for the struggles in life
In life you try and you fail, you try again and you fail again, through this repetition, you understand what you are doing wrong, what you are good at, what you need to improve, and when you keep at it, at last, you succeed; and when you do, you don’t do so out of luck or because someone gave you a break, you earn every bit of that success. Most people just see your success, not the hard work you did to get there.
When I play Bloodborne now, and I lose, I don’t get frustrated, I smile, cause the enemy has just trained me a little more on how to best defeat them, I think to myself “I will defeat you and I will succeed, every time you kill me, you give away a little more about your moves, giving me a chance to memorize the attacks, find better alternatives, to defeating you.”
During the course of the game, the third boss you come across is called Vicar Amelia, she is a what appears to be a giant wolf dressed in white torn robes. For me, it was at this boss battle that the true beauty of Bloodborne was revealed, with every death, I could see that I was taking more of her health with me than the previous attempt, and when the time came, I defeated her. I wasn’t overjoyed. I just witness the outcome of hard work.
The central message
Of the few movies I had seen which also shared the same message were Groundhog Day, and Edge of Tomorrow, both about individuals given impossible tasks, who repeated them for what seemed an eternity. They fine-tuned their respective abilities, identified what was needed, and finally prevailed.
The philosophy that Bloodborne teaches you is central to succeeding in life.