My fellow nerds, I have a confession to make.
::looks around nervously and clears throat::
I’m not a huge fan of sci-fi.
Whew! I feel so much better now that I’ve gotten that off my ample chest. I’ve been holding it in for far too long, pretending to be amped about the latest Star Trek/Wars movie…by the way, I *am* amped about the latest Star Trek TV show, but only because Michelle Yeoh is in it. More like Michelle YEAH, amirite? She is a badass, and she’s fucking hot. Also, Jason Isaacs. Yum.
But I digress.
Obviously, I’m being hyperbolic, but not by much. Sci-fi has become cool, and I just can’t get on that hype train. I’m not into robots (unless they’re Jaegers and they’re fighting the Kaiju), and as much as I like tech, I’m not interested in the inner workings of mechs.
You know what I do like? Dark fantasy. The term is to describe many different kinds of fantasy, but I use it to mean supernatural horrors in our world, replete with witches and goblins and werebeings, oh my! Some of my favorite mystery series have these aspects incorporated in them, and I’d much rather be immersed in a dark fantasy world than a sci-fi one.
As longtime readers know, I am a huge Dark Souls fan. It’s high fantasy, rather than dark fantasy, but it’s the fantasy part that entices me. Monstrous creatures saturates the worlds, but the most monstrous of all are the humanoids. In fact, the final boss in the final DLC of Dark Souls III *spoilers* is Slave Knight Gael, a character who was seeking out the dark soul of man for his niece so she could finish her painting. When he found it, he became corrupted by all the dark souls he consumed, so humans are literally the worst thing in the Dark Souls universe.
Now that I think of it, the same was true for the DLC of the original game. The final boss was *spoilers for a game that’s a bajillion years old* Manus, Father of the Abyss, and while there’s speculation as to his true identity, what’s agreed on is that he was once human until he ate so many souls he became totally corrupted. Even his name–Manus–can be broken down into man and us. We are man, and we are evil. That’s the prevailing theory, anyway.
You probably also know that one of my pet peeves about Dark Souls YouTubers/Twitchers* is that many of them denigrate being a caster in the games. They’re all male, and many of them have never played a caster, but by god, they know it’s the pussy way to play the game! “Oooh, you run around and snipe people from a far and don’t get hurt!” But you run out of spells and have to melee with a shit weapon, which is no fun, let me tell you. It’s annoying as hell, especially now that I’ve played as a tank character throughout each game. There’s also the, “You can’t beat the feeling of just smashing a guy into the ground” mentality, and I will say there’s more merit to that than to the former, but it’s still fucking satisfying to watch an enemy get engulfed in flames.
I maintain that playing as a melee character is far easier for the most part than playing as a caster, and you can fight me on that if you want. Come at me, bro!
My point, though, before going off on this tangential rant is that the mentality is that the games are meant to be played with sword and board**, that the power fantasy, pardon the pun, is smashing things to pieces with a giant sword. Again, after playing as a tank, I get that. It is satisfying to whack an enemy and watch him fall flat on the ground. Repeating it over and over is hilarious. However, for me, my power fantasy is zinging fire and ice and other magicks at an enemy, and they are powerless to do anything. Any time I play a game, I choose the mage option if it’s available. I love being a caster, and not just because I’m old and have shitty reflexes. I’ve been entranced by magic ever since I was a kid, and I love the idea of using the elements to fuck with people. Storm is one of my favorite X-Men for obvious reasons, and I’m really partial to any kind of pyromancy.
I can connect better to mages and spells rather than robots and souped-up technology. It’s not that I don’t like science–I do. It’s just not as magical, pardon the pun, as fantasy is to me. There’s something cold and antiseptic about sci-fi, whereas fantasy is warm and alive. Again, this is purely personal feelings and nothing analytic or objective.
The first time I saw Star Wars, I hated it. That could be partly because I’ve never completely bought into movies–and, yes, I know how that sounds–but it just didn’t appeal to me. I’ve seen at least part of Empire Strikes Back, but not the Return of the Jedi. I’ve seen Star Trek the original series and a few of the movies, and I didn’t care much for any of them. Believe me. I wish I could be hyped about the newest Alien movie or the Blade Runner sequel, but I just can’t. I know it’s a failing on my part, but it’s not as if I can force myself to like sci-fi. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve enjoyed some sci-fi like the original Alien movie, and I loved the shit out of Pacific Rim. Do not tell me Pacific Rim isn’t sci-fi, it has giant robots in it! Stompy, stompy. It’s just that given the choice, I’ll take spells and wizardry over computers and robots any day of the week.
I guess I shouldn’t be too ashamed or defensive because fantasy is pretty hot as well, but there’s a sense that fantasy is inferior to sci-fi, and I can’t help but think it’s because sci-fi is more ‘masculine’ and fantasy is more ‘feminine’. I don’t have any data to back that up, but that’s how it seems to me. Sci-fi is based on science so it’s serious! Fantasy is all fairies and elves and dancing through meadows, so it’s frivolous!
Whatever. I don’t care. I love fantasy and being a mage/pyromancer, so fuck anyone who gives me shit for it. I’ll wave my fantasy freak flag proudly while I blaze enemies with my fire hand. That’s my power fantasy, and I’m sticking to it.
*Twitchers? Twitchees? Streamers. Let’s go with that.
**Sword and shield. Though hardcore Souls fans will say playing with a shield is for babbies. Does it sound like you can never satisfy Souls fanboys? You are correct.