Underneath my yellow skin

A (chat)room of my own…and Dark Souls III

I’m too old for video games. Or, to be more precise, I’m too old for video game ‘culture’. To be even less precise, I’m too old for pop culture in general. I support two groups on Patreon, The Try Guys and RKG Studies (nee Prepare To Try)*, and I am in the Discord chat for both these groups. For the latter, I’m in the upper-echelon tier, the producers, which has a chat of its own. The boys dip in from time to time, which is pretty cool.

The problem is, I’m too old for either of these groups. It’s funny in that The Try Guys fan base seems to be predominantly young women in their early twenties, whereas the target demo for RKG is twenty-something dudes. I’m old enough to be their mother, and I often feel as if I’m the older and world-weary woman who has seen it all and done it all when I’m in either of the chats/reading the comments on the posts/videos.

Concerning RKG specifically, I’m fine when I’m commenting on games or supporting other people through their difficulties (I’m a healer, through and through), but any time it veers away from that, I feel alienated. I’m just too fucking old to jump into the banter, and, if I’m to be honest, much of it is uninteresting to me.

That’s one of my issues with the gaming community in general–it’s very lad-focused (and I use the word lad deliberately) with many of them not really knowing how to interact in a social way that isn’t, “me, me, me!”. I noticed this when I was in the chatroom once for a YouTuber I used to watch. They were all nice lads, but I had nothing in common with them. Plus, there’s a casual sexism that runs through most chatrooms (not to mention the more outright malicious sexism that is present in many) that turns me off to them. It’s very much a boys club in that you have to adjust to the atmosphere if you want to be tolerated.

The thing is, I’m not sure there’s a way to change that or if it should be changed. I mean, the casual sexism, yes, that should be changed. But, if it’s mostly guys who are drawn to the chatroom, then is it really upon them to actively recruit women? I have a hard time saying it is, but at the same time, there are ways to make it more inclusive. In the end, I don’t know where I stand on it, but I just know that I will mostly remain where I normally do–on the outside.

I do have to interject and say that it’s more my style to watch than participate in general. When I was in therapy, I was discussing an issue I had in which I couldn’t explain my point of view to someone else. It was in an adversarial interaction, though I hadn’t gone into it thinking it would turn out that way. I was venting my frustration at not being able to explain to her what I meant. My therapist listened to me for several minutes before saying, “Minna, you can’t explain it because you’re not on the same level. She’s talking at a level 2 or 3, and you are at level 5 or 6.” She likened it to different scales, and it was as if a light bulb had gone on in my head. She had also said in a different situation that one part of the Dunning-Kruger effect that no one ever talks about is that smart people tend to vastly underestimate the difference between their intelligence and others (the opposite of what people normally consider the Dunning-Kruger effect).

I explained this to my brother, and I saw the light in his eyes that probably reflected mine when I first grasped what my therapist was telling me. You’d think it’d be even more alienating, but it actually made me feel relieved. I was taught that anything wrong was my fault, and if I could just explain myself well enough, I’d be able to make the other person see what I was trying to say. Being able to shrug my shoulders and internally say, “They just don’t get it” and not in a snotty way lessened my frustration. It didn’t make me feel any less alienated, but at least I stopped beating my head against a wall endlessly.

Amusing anecdote side note: My brother decided to apply to Mensa just to see if he could get in. He did, and he attended some meetings. He said he felt it validated the fact that he was smart (which, duh. He’s quite possibly the smartest person I know. Amusing side note to the side note: he once said to me in all seriousness that I was almost as smart as he was. He meant it as a compliment, and I found it funny. In terms of pure IQ, his is probably higher, but I would beg to differ that he is smarter than me overall), and he didn’t feel quite as alone. He went to Mensa meetings for a while, then quit. He said he realized that the only thing they had in common was meeting a certain IQ threshold, which wasn’t enough.

I would agree. Brains in and of itself isn’t enough, but for me, it’s a base requirement. That’s probably part of my problem with online chatrooms as well. I surround myself with really intelligent people in my daily life, and it’s much more a crapshoot online. I don’t want to join any intelligence-based groups, either, for the reason my brother dropped out of Mensa (a Mensa dropout. Ha!)–simply being smart doesn’t mean having anything else in common. My brother joined a Tesla support group (not what it’s actually called, but it’s funny to think of it in this manner), and he’s enjoying that much more than the Mensa group.

My problem is that I find groups to be limiting in general. I understand why they are, but it’s hard for me to feel comfortable partitioning myself off like that. Women’s groups that don’t want to include race. Asian groups that refuse to look at internal sexism. I can’t with any of that, which makes finding a group nigh impossible.

One problem with being around smart people–I forget that in some ways, I’m still smarter than they are (as they are with me in other ways). Then, when I run into the problem of miscommunication, I don’t necessarily think of the fact that maybe they literally don’t understand what I’m saying. I get that with the gen pop now. I can tell when I’ve lost someone, and I can bow out gracefully from the conversation. With a friend, it’s harder because I’m used to them keeping up with me, so I don’t always recognize when they can’t.

I don’t think there’s anything I can do about this, but it’s one of the reasons I remain a watcher. I can’t fully participate in many things because I want to go in directions that will benefit no one but me. So, back to the chatroom dilemma–some of it can be addressed, and some of it is just a ‘me’ problem. I support RKG in whatever they do, but I’ll probably have to do it from afar.

Veering dramatically to Dark Souls III. I tried a bit of Death’s Gambit and didn’t really click with it. I need to change the controls to be more like Dark Souls. A note: if you are going to base your game on Dark Souls, MAKE THE CONTROLS THE SAME. I’ve ranted about this before, but this is not the way to make your game stand out from Dark Souls. In fact, all it’ll do is make me want to put down your game and play Dark Souls. Death’s Gambit is…ok. I’m playing as a caster, and I’ve seen the first area, so no surprises yet. It’s a competent game, and I love the design, but it’s just not hitting that umami spot on my Dark Souls tongue.

I’m thinking about going back to Dead Cells to see what’s changed, but the wall that is the final boss is daunting. Just thinking about him drains me of any will to play the game, which is a shame as it’s amazing. If I had been able to get past the final boss, I’d probably still be playing it on the daily. Now, it’s just like a stone sinking my soul as I contemplate an hour-long run that ends with me beating my head against the final boss wall for a fruitless thirty seconds.

I’m up to Irithyll Dungeon in DSIII. I’ve mostly played offline and the one time I played online while being embered (at the beginning of Irithyll of the Boreal Valley), I immediately got invaded as I was fighting a…what is it called? Sulyvahn’s Beast? Alright then. I was fighting it on the bridge when the fog wall appeared. That meant I couldn’t do my tried-and-true cheese tactic of hitting it with a Fire Orb, then retreating to the start of the bridge, hitting it with another Fire Orb before it disappears, rinse, lather and repeat. It also meant I had to try and finish it off before the invader reached me, which didn’t happen. It snatched me in its jaws and crunched me to death as I saw the invader running towards me. I spat out an epithet as I died.

I went human and online to face Aldrich, and there was a summon sign before the fog wall! That is very rare, and I grabbed him (Yurt, I believe, which is a nice callback to Demon’s Souls). A sun bro! We praised that good sun together, and we demolished Aldrich. I made a newbie mistake, however, and Aldrich slashed me with his scythe. He killed me, but as I had Tears of Denial activated, I was able to hide behind a pillar and heal. Did I reapply Tears of Denial? I did not because we were so close, and I did not want to waste the FP because I was flinging the Great Chaos Fire Orb during this fight, which uses a fair amount of FP itself.

You know, when I first read the wiki to Tears of Denial, I was like, “What good is it to come back with 1 HP?!?” Then, I watched an EpicNameBro video in which he explained it and why you should always equip it, especially in DS III, and I tried it. Now, I rarely leave home without it as it’s a ridiculously OP miracle. You only need 15 Faith to use it, too! It does take two slots, but it’s worth it. Plus, I cast it when I first reach a bonfire, then sit down again, so I get my FP back. And, if I really want the slots, I can cast it when I first warp, then switch out my spells at the bonfire. It costs three slots in SotFS, which is less tenable in my opinion.

Why do I keep returning to Dark Souls games? There are several reasons. One, they’re amazing. Two, they’re comforting. Three, I still find new things. I’ve played DSIII a dozen times, and during this playthrough, I found a little area I’d never noticed before. It was at the Firelink Shrine, and I was running around on the roof when I noticed a sparkly. It was a crystal lizard THAT I HAD NEVER SEEN BEFORE.  I made myself invisible (was already noiseless) and tactics** that bad boy. Then, I looked in the little nook where I found him, and I had never even thought to go that way before. That’s one of the downfalls to how I play Souls game–I get in a rut. I do things in the same order for the most part, so if I miss something the first time through, I’m going to miss it on subsequent playthroughs. I will mix it up if there are storylines I couldn’t do the first time around, but in general, I like to get into a rhythm.

I’m afraid I sent Greirat out to die this time, though. Since I haven’t played DSIII in a hot minute, I don’t completely remember the cutoffs to certain events. I remember where all the enemies are, though! That’s something seared in my memory forever. Speaking of which, there’s a mod for the original DS, Daughters of Ash, that adds new characters, bosses, and much more. Am I going to play it? Most likely not. I think it’s cool, though, that there are people still so enthusiastic about modding Dark Souls.

The bottom line is, I need a new game. Stat.





*I’m looking for women to support, but it’s difficult to find. I sometimes wonder if a group of women would be as supported as both The Try Guys and RKG Studios, but I try not to think about that too much as it makes me depressed.

**What Powers shouts when he does a plunge attack.

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