I celebrated my birthday this week, and with a few days off from work I had the chance to play some games- finally. It’s been a while since I’ve just taken time to sit for hours on end and play something. Usually, my playing has been relegated to those brief moments when my girlfriend isn’t home form work yet or is out of town. At times, there’s the occasional “I’ll see you later, I’m going to sit in a hole for a few hours,” where I descend to the basement and play. Often, I grab something like my Switch or my 3DS and park on the couch beside her to watch something in the background while I play.

Cohabitation has taught me a new way to play in the last five years, and it’s made something like the Switch invaluable. I’ve been able to grind through shorter games like Mighty Gunvolt Burst and Blaster Master Zero rather quickly, while bringing the likes of my massive Breath of the Wild save with me wherever I choose to sit. I can’t say that I’d want only to have the Switch experience on every console, but damn if I don’t love the idea of it.

It does however create a bit of a disconnect between other consoles and console games. My lifestyle, as mentioned, makes it a little difficult to commit myself to specific games for a long stretch of time. It was easier to dive into games when I was delivering pizzas, as I was usually awake until the rest of the East Coast’s morning. Although, this obviously created plenty of other problems that I’m happy to leave in the past.

To the point, this week was four days off in a row, with the ability to selfishly shout, “I’ll be in the basement for a while.” The week started off with me exploring the catalogue I’ve ignored for a little while. I got to take on the opening bits of the latest Hitman, and I feel excited to explore that game more. It seems like it has the opportunity to be challenging and weird and fun at the same time. I dove a little further into Breath of the Wild again. I finally completed Eventide Island and started making some progress on side quests that have built up since March.

Then, midweek, my birthday hit. With it brought a new gift of the official Bloodborne art book, courtesy of Matt. Bloodborne has been heavy on my mind lately, for inexplicable reasons, but ones that I’ll try to explain. I think the aforementioned distance from the traditional console gaming experience can sometimes create a craving and a need for it. Perhaps my brain and body were ready again for a larger, more intimate experience, like Bloodborne. I think too, that the recent release of the Castlevania animated series has my same brain and body wishing for a new Castlevania. I spent a lot of last weekend glancing through videos of Lords of Shadow, trying to remind myself why I shouldn’t bother trying again. In the end, I remembered how much I treated Bloodborne like the best Castlevania game that Konami didn’t make. Finally, flipping through the images of my favorite characters and enemies, as well as the areas they inhabit, clicked something in my brain again.

Somewhere amidst all of these synapses firing and pieces connecting, the perfect storm took form and Bloodborne images shone through the television this week. On the quest for the Platinum trophy that I never earned, I began working my way through the New Game Plus mode that I started after first completing the game in January 2016. It took about an hour to remember how to play. I stayed in the opening area a bit, just practicing the combat and trying to remember how to execute the appropriate skills.

Then, I made a nice handwritten list of every item I have left to obtain in order to reach the goal. In the end, I really don’t have far to go. I need four weapons, four tools, and I have to face the Pthumerian Queen. I suspect that with some active playing in the coming days, I should achieve my goal shortly and find myself ready for The Old Hunters.

There really isn’t anything like Bloodborne for me. It creates a sense of wonder and adventure, coupled with terror and defeat. It really embodies the feelings I had when staring at the cover of the cartridge for Castlevania on NES- electrified fear. I love being back in this world and I love that I am able to get back to it again. I’m relieved to learn that it wasn’t a moment in time, but that Bloodborne withstands the changing climate. It truly is a masterpiece, and one that I am eager to see more of.

Posted by Joe Dix

Joe is the creator of The Free Cheese. He eats a lot of pizza and takes thousands of pictures of his pugs Oswald and Earl every day.

One Comment

  1. […] I recently wrote about and often talk about how cohabitation has defined a new set of unspoken designations for playing games. My PlayStation 4 has seen far less play time collectively than my Vita, 3DS, or other handhelds. The fact is, I enjoy the proximity to my girlfriend and would rather spend time near her than away from her, and it’s something that the PlayStation 4 doesn’t easily allow for. My options are to eject myself from time together or ask her to sit idly while I play something. Alternatively, I spend time with the PlayStation 4 that could not possibly be occupied by our shared time together. When she’s still at work or out of town, I’ll dive into something for a good while. Of course, there’s always the exception to the rule and that one game that takes over for a few days regardless of anything in its way. […]

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