Ever since I was a little kid video games have been a huge passion of mine. I don’t know if it was something about the puzzles, the escapism, or even getting to be someone other than myself for a few hours that drew me in but regardless, I’m hooked. With the birth of each child and onslaught of work my time has dwindled more and more, forcing me to miss out on a lot of these experiences that I seek.

I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve been working on finishing Dark Souls for the past 2 years. I first started the game a few weeks before I got pregnant with the twins but was unable to continue due to sickness – looking at a screen was awful with HG. After the babies were born, time was very much a rare gift, one I needed to get other tasks done and not play a game with no pause button. So, for nearly 2 years, a game I was in love with but hated all at once fell to the wayside.

I picked at it here and there, never playing long enough to develop any real skills or take advantage of the weapon system to earn better equipment. I eventually found myself stuck at one of the most punishing bosses of the game. (A statement all players would agree with, might I add.) The hard but fair motto of the series flew out the window every time I was crushed with a giant hammer. This was my wall, it stopped being fun, and I quit.

Today I chose to try again. Now, before you judge the fact that I’ll have probably played a total of 8 hours before I go to bed tonight, remember my kids have been on spring break all week and we are well sick of each other, and I stopped playing long enough to clean the house. Bellies are full and babies are happy.

Instead of getting frustrated at the boss, I chose another path. I swapped weapons and upgraded my new sword. I beat some enemies and bosses in another area I was able to go to, which turned out to be one of my favourite places in the game so far. Most importantly, I ventured on a several part quest to get a ring that would enable me to ninja flip (which is as hilarious as it sounds) that eventually led me to my least favourite part of the game – Blighttown.

This area was very difficult the first time I visited, with a spider boss (I’m terrified of spiders) as the finale. The enemies poison you and everything is dark and difficult. I couldn’t wait to be done and found my first visit immensely frustrating, to say the least.

This trip was different. I was stronger. Better. More relaxed. The enemies went down in a single hit, rather than the challenge they were before. I was king! Being strong and talented made what was once one of my least favourite chores into a fun and exciting experience I would gladly do again.

Where am I going with this? The theme is happiness and video games make me happy. Roleplaying as a man that enables to me stroke my ego just a bit? Even happier. But:

The real lesson here is that when something is new and you don’t have much experience, it’s hard, but if you work hard, live through it, practice, and get support for yourself and from others – that thing will get easier and easier until eventually you don’t remember what it was like to struggle in the first place. You just have to follow your path and make it work.

Oh yeah, and get good.

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