The Dark Souls series changed the face of gaming forever. It’s become a living trope and a symbol for hardcore gamers everywhere. Few games have the reputation for relentless brutality that any Dark Souls title does. Even seasoned gamers approach the challenge of playing through a Dark Souls game with a sigh to steel their nerves. For reasons that will never be clear to less fanatical players, this hasn’t lessened the fervor of the games’ fans.
They’re a hearty and devoted crew who don’t take themselves too seriously. If you don’t believe that just take a look at some of the thousands of memes that aren’t afraid to poke fun at one of the hardest franchises of all time.
9 I Dropped My Controller
Rage quitting is real. It’s a valid form of emotional expression which can sometimes lead to unintentional property damage. Every gamer knows the feeling of straining every muscle in your upper body to eke out the tiniest improvement in performance only to be heartlessly defeated yet again.
It’s times like these that controllers can accidentally fall out of animated hands. Dark Souls is a perfect storm of the sudden controller propulsion phenomenon. Many players have made an emergency run to GameStop for a new controller that suddenly became slippery after a brutal defeat.
8 5 More Minutes
Once you find yourself sucked into a game it could be days before you shake yourself free of its siren song. It’s just too easy to tell yourself one more quest, one more checkpoint, one more boss.
If you’re playing Dark Souls it could take you a few hours of failed attempts just to learn how to hit an enemy. It’s hard to make progress when you’re being beaten back so ferociously. For every step forward you can sometimes take several steps back. Fans of this game know exactly how easy it is to lose the better part of a weekend.
7 Quality Journalism
Dark Souls isn’t the first game to become a trope. Game journalists have relied heavily on referring to any game with a high player fatality rate as the Dark Souls of its niche. One might say they’ve relied on it a little too heavily.
When a new game in the franchise is released this creates a bit of a conundrum for writers. What’s the Dark Souls of Dark Souls? It seems the wellsprings of creativity run dry when it’s time to describe just how soul-crushing these games are. If you’ve ever found yourself rolling your eyes at a review that makes this parallel you’re not alone.
There’s nothing quite as classic Dark Souls as the elation of the enthusiastic new player reaching innocently for a treasure chest. Then watching them be grappled, take heavy damage and probably die. In fact, it’s a right of passage.
There are ways to tell if a chest is the real deal without having to slap it. The chain hanging off the side of a mimic is a dead give-away. If it’s an actual chest the chain will be looped. A mimic has a straighter chain. If you’re playing as a higher resolution such as with the PC version of the game you can even see the mimic’s teeth and tongue.
5 Gallows Humor
Being a Dark Souls fan is a point of pride for many. They’re proud of their persistence and grit. They’re proud of their bravery and skill. They’re proud of their absolute commitment to dying. You have to be really resilient to make it through any Dark Souls game.
A resilient spirit is required. It’s a badge of honor to have made it halfway through one of these titles. Playing one through more than once earns you a reputation. Mostly a reputation for being a masochist. There’s nothing wrong with being a little dark.
4 It’s All Downhill
Just in case you thought that you’d eventually harden against the relentless hammering blows, rest assured, you won’t. It doesn’t get better from here. Each playthrough is a fresh hell beset on all sides by misery.
You may think the struggle is getting a little easier, but it’s just an illusion. The harder you try, the more you play, the number you become to your own pain. You’ll think you’re getting better but really you’re just coming up with more impressive ways to fail.
3 Those Who Can’t, Wiki
You can’t spend any time online in gaming circles without references to a Dark Souls game coming up. If you haven’t had the courage to pick the franchise up for yourself, you may have dipped your toe in the icy black waters by reading up on the games. Studying up on the games might have given you a false sense of confidence.
Rest assured the games really are that difficult and you will definitely die. At the very least some research will ensure you won’t miss out on some of the best memes gaming has ever produced.
2 We’re All Winners Here
There is no hope. No one gets out of a Dark Souls game alive. No one can win. It’s the Kobayashi Maru of the gaming world. Flappy Bird looks like a relaxing idle game in the shadow of this impossible giant.
This isn’t a franchise or the faint of heart or the weak of spirit. Explaining the kind of dedication and resiliency that playing these games require is no easy task. How to make someone feel the hopelessness if they’ve never played?
1 It’s Gonna Be Okay
Just when you think you can breathe easy for a moment and recover Dark Souls is here to remind you that you aren’t playing Harvest Moon. This is a merciless nightmare from which there is no escape.
Anyone who has every plowed through the desolate terror knows this feeling. The momentary elation of victory followed by the immediate recognition of an even bigger threat.
NEXT: The 5 Best (and 5 Worst) Dark Souls 2 Bosses