Escort Quest


There’s this guy who watches these Dark Souls streams called Problem Machine, and he occasionally gives me shit like: “He’s not going to do it this time,” you know, just like “This is going to be a bad podcast,” “he’s completely gone, look at him, he’s got no mental acuity, this is pointless, he should just go to bed.” And I was like okay this is the run I’m going to prove to this guy that I can do this.

I’ve been watching Nick Breckon of Idle Thumbs stream his playthrough of Dark Souls, and been trying to give advice in chat as to what to do next, where to go, how to approach problems, and so forth. This is a contentious act: Many people, myself among them, believe Dark Souls is an experience best approached as a puzzle to be solved, and that offering guidance undermines that experience. Still, when someone wants information on where to go next, I’m pleased to offer it for basically the reason that I will always love talking about Dark Souls.

And now I’m getting defamed on podcasts. What a betrayal!

To clarify: I said almost none of those, and if I did say any of them they were in a desperate attempt to get someone who was hammering on a boss fight at 1am before recording a podcast the next day to go to sleep. As it turns out he eventually did go to sleep and beat the boss in three tries the next day.

I’m not too big a man to say “I told you so”.

Anyway: It’s something that will always be surprising and interesting to me, how two people can both participate in the same conversation and come away with a completely different understanding of that conversation. I see myself as a helpful guide through the world of Dark Souls, and apparently Nick sees me as some kind of unpleasable Dark Souls chat dad.

But it also makes me think about why I’m so invested in his adventure. And maybe there’s something cathartic, right now, at this point in time, at yelling advice out from the crowd and having it be taken one time out of a hundred – because as frustrating as that is sometimes, it’s still a hell of a lot better a ratio than the one I manage in my day-to-day.

Everyone I know is feeling pretty powerless right now. In the same way that playing video games can be a fun way to play with empowerment, playing Cassandra to a hapless Nick Breckon can be a fun way to play with helplessness, trying to steer a train as it goes off a cliff. I guess, then, that I can’t be entirely blameless for whatever comes of it.


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