If it would help you to stoke that dismay, may I offer that it's not just Dark Souls that I don't like, but Bloodborne too. They just don't click with me, and it is time that we all accepted this.
Believe me: nobody is more dismayed than I that I don't really like these games which so many people insist are among the greatest games of all time. I mean, it's not even just the gameplay; even on an aesthetic level I find them off-putting. It's like having a late-80s/early-90s thrash metal album cover thrust repeatedly into my face, while somebody keeps kicking my legs out from underneath me.
On an entirely objective intellectual level, I fully understand the argument that Dark Souls is one of the greatest video game series of all time. Clearly, there's something very pure about it, that it's very addictive, and all that. The important thing is this: me not liking a thing you like doesn't discount your own experience of that thing.
Gaming is a broad church, encompassing all manner of genres, and settings. What I want from games isn't necessarily what you want, and - seriously, now - you've got to stop trying to force your tastes upon other people, because it hardly ever works.
And now I'm going to do this: tell you precisely why that is. Or, more likely, set out with the intention to do that, and go off at some other tangent.
See... I'm not a massive fan of The Beatles (though as I write this I'm actually listening to Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - and I can confirm that it is, y'know, basically fine), but I can appreciate what The Beatles did. I get their significance and importance, but - funny as you probably find this - Marillion are my favourite band.
Yet that's despite the fact that they're one of the most derided and mocked musical acts of all time. I've had to come to accept that I'm going to no more convince you to like them than you'd be able to convince me that they're rubbish. But that's okay, because most of my mates like them, and I get to hang out with my Marillion tribe from time to time, and that makes me happy. The more they've been attacked over the years, the more I become entrenched when it comes to defending them.
More on the significance of tribes in a moment.
Importantly, my like or dislike of certain music or games or hats doesn't discount or undermine your own subjective experience. When it comes to games, I was always looking for something more, beyond the boundaries of what the game would offer. My favourite games are those where I can explore, and I don't want that exploration to be a massive chore. I know what I like, even if I don't know exactly why I like it.
But get this: why we like or dislike stuff mostly has absolutely nothing to do with whether it's any good or not. And get this as well: we often like what we like because of crazy evolutionary reasons. It's why the world is broken up into tribes; football supporters, goths, gamers, cosplayers, Christians, Trump supporters, Marillion fans...
We like stuff because it makes us feel safe - and that's why we try to inflict those likes on other people. In short: the more of us they are in our tribe, the safer we are. Threaten our tribe, and we'll either fight back or pull up the drawbridge.
We want others to like the things we like because our likes are part of who we are, and it's important to be liked. It validates us, and it acts as a form of armour.
Anybody who tells you that they don't want to be liked is either a liar, or slightly broken; evolution has programmed us to want to be liked, because there's safety in being liked, and in being part of a collective of people who all like or believe in similar things. They might be liking a particular god, or a set of values, or a prog rock band, or Aston Villa FC. Strength in numbers.
Liking different things is an evolutionary adaptive strategy. The more people like us, who like the same stuff as us, recruits more members to our "tribe", and the safer we become. We have "taste", because we need to feel that reward when our taste or belief gets the thumbs-up from others.
Social learning is more or less unique to humans, and a big part of the reason why we've flourished and spread across the planet, and subjugated every other species on earth.
Culture is adaptive, and we've learned to listen to the opinions of others, as a shorthand for our own opinions; that's why we've got Metacritic, and games magazine review scores, and TripAdvisor.
And yet... we don't all like the exact same things; humans walk a fine line between wanting to belong to a group, and wanting to be recognised as a distinct individual. This latter point explains that mate you have who seems to go out of his or her way to like the most obscure stuff possible.
It's a paradox, though; in trying to be different, that person will seek out others who like that same obscure stuff. He or she will go to gigs, or join message boards, full of people with similar tastes. It explains hipsters and social tribes that go against the majority to be individual, while dressing identically to their peers. They're trying to satisfy two different needs at once.
The same motors drive sales of things like music and video games; charts are important to people, because we want to know what is popular. Top-selling games sell more, and low-selling games sell less, because - rather than seek out something that we might like because we like it - we'll trust the group.
This might all sound mad to you. You're an individual, you know you're own mind - you'd never be controlled by something as insignificant and irrelevant as the primal evolutionary engines which have led your species to become the dominant lifeforms on earth, right?
Wrong - and science can prove it.
Neuroscientsts have found that the part of the brain which rewards us with a dopamine hit when we experience a thing that we like is the same part which drives us to survive.
Conversely, the opposite is true. Our brain and body can interpret somebody not liking something that we like as a threat. It's why you get idiots attacking reviewers - and it's why those idiots often attack reviewers en masse.
It's the modern day equivalent of a group of hunters surrounding some poor feller from another tribe, and stoning him to death. Although, y'know... in a rather sad, tragic, sort of way, because a games reviewer is no actual threat to anybody's tribe. A reviewer isn't going to challenge you for resources, or murder your children, and yet the primitive part of a person's brain can often interpret it as such. Imagine being a person like that, with so little awareness of what's driving them!
Well... you don't have to imagine it, because that person is you, to a greater or lesser degree.
Ha ha. Sucked in.
Which brings me back to this: I don't like Dark Souls and there is literally nothing you can do about it. In fact, I've now made not liking Dark Souls part of who I am. It probably has little to do with the game anymore, and everything to do with the fact that this has become part of my identity. Have a crack at me all you like: all you're going to do is cement it right in there.
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