Great moments in PC gaming are small celebrations of some of our favorite gaming memories.
When I think back to my first playthrough of Dark Souls, I feel a mixture of delight and abject terror. It’s one of my favorite games, and it seems to me, one of the best games ever made. This is partly due to the way I can navigate the entire Lordran map in my head. But it’s also because of the generous handful of moments I remember vividly more than 10 years later (in contrast, I don’t remember anything about Far Cry 6 except that it had guns and trees).
Chief among these cherished Dark Souls memories is being invaded for the first time. I was trying to summon a co-op friend to help me with the Capra Demon. I was running to the Firelink Shrine boss instead of the Upper Undead Burg bonfire because I was an idiot. I think I had about three or four ‘humanities’ up my sleeve—a necessary item to summon co-op friends—and had no further interest in accumulating them, because it was time to kill that bastard demon and dog of his.
I’d already been hacked a few times, of course. In the weeks following the release of Dark Souls, the servers were heating up. Let me explain to you what kind of Souls player I am. I spent most of my first game of Dark Souls with my athletes because I didn’t understand the load of equipment. I died to the Taurus Demon for at least a week straight. The first thing I did after finishing the tutorial was to fight the Crestfallen Warrior (RIP: he fell off a cliff). I sucked, and frankly, I still suck at these games.
So when someone invaded me I basically gave up. Everyone in the entire world, I assumed, is better at Dark Souls than I am. Of course, I would raise my shield and attack them for a while, but I would do so with resignation, knowing I was only delaying the inevitable. It was usually me – a full spawn with a sword and a board – against players with weapons and magic I had no idea existed. I’d raise my greatsword (which I probably didn’t have the stats for), and before it started to fall the invader would have set me on fire, or electrified me to death, or stabbed me in the back, or something.
Ah, that cruel twist in Souls of linking co-op play to the possibility of invasion. I remember being the only thing I really didn’t like. But of course that all changed the exact moment I managed, sort of by accident, to defeat an invader. The telltale signs of an invasion were present: walls of fog blocking my passage to other areas of the map, and of course the notification confirming my worst fear.
I don’t really remember what build my invading opponent had, but when the glowing red figure marched towards me, I don’t remember feeling particularly positive about my chances. Thanks to an online guide, I managed to acquire the drake sword. Slightly encouraged by the early game strength of that weapon, and magically no longer rolling around fat, I did my usual ritual of raising my shield and shooting in circles. I knocked the opponent halfway down, and then, extremely accidentally, probably as a result of a desperate button press, I performed a save that demolished the stupid red idiot.
So many emotions followed. Happiness, hope, self-absorption. Somewhere between those feelings was the suspicion that I would never be able to defeat an invader again. And of course, right after that, complete demoralization returned, as the slimy pup of the Capra Demon knocked me down for the umpteenth time. Back to Firelink Shrine we go. Aren’t we having too much fun?