Posted by Irishdoom (332 posts) -

I have a massive backlog that just keeps getting bigger. Rather than get focused on finishing some games and knocking that pile down to size, I've elected to get deep in one or two games at a time and see how high I can make that stack of unplayed games.

So how the hell did I start playing two completely different games at roughly the same time?

Well, for Animal Crossing, I had a recent business trip that necessitated a lot of quality 3DS time. Going into the trip I knew my town was neglected, weed-ridden, and likely overrun with pig prostitutes. This being an election year, I made an effort to clean up my town. Dark Souls was more a product of a lot of podcast talk recently. Hearing about the exploits of Jeff Green and Vinny made me want to give it a whirl. I also hoped to see how I would measure up in this "ultra difficult" game.

But I digress. The combination of these two titles may be the most complete distillation of what I love about gaming. While on the surface they are so different as to be incompatible, but there is harmony there if you allow yourself to see it.

I realized this as I labored in Animal Crossing to work that Bell market. I have 2 kids under 6, and of course they both live in my town. So I was working that Bell market not to expand my own home, but to pay off that bastard Tom Nook so he'd lay off my kids. I was sending another 20k bells to my 5 year old son when I realized Animal Crossing, for me, was basically real life. I try my best to be a good Mayor, work hard to get my kids in a good position, and am willing to dip into many markets to make a buck. It was kinda chilling, yo.

Animal Crossing recreates the working life in many details, but completely ignores the stress. It's a beautiful thing, and the perfect gaming experience to unwind, and sink back into the couch.

And after that, I can get my head kicked in by a Taurus Demon. Dark Souls is like the P90X of gaming. It tests your reflexes and your patience. It has more "oh shit" boss moments than I've ever seen before. And it has an obtuse collection of systems that you have to learn to survive.

The key, however, is that it's honest. Sure it's crazy difficult, yes bosses will often 2 shot you the first time, but it never feels cheap. Every time I die (as I do so early and often,) I feel like I made a mistake. I tried to rush through a section I was very familiar with. I foolishly rounded a corner without my shield up. I tried too hard for the flashy parry and riposte. I stupidly tried to fight on a precarious walkway rather than draw the enemy back. There are a million mistakes you can make, and it only ever takes one.

Where Animal Crossing represents optimism, Dark Souls represents utter brutality. These 2 games together represent wholly different parts of the gaming spectrum, but also perfectly complement each other. After a tiny mistake costs me 20k souls in Dark Souls, what better way to recover than to try to catch golden bugs on the island of Animal Crossing? When the grind of fishing and bug collecting loses it's luster, it's often the perfect time to grab a sword and "totally" a few demons and undead dudes. It's my new chocolate and peanut butter, my lemon pepper.

So what are some of your favorite video game pairings?