Adieu, valour! rust rapier! be still, drum!

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The thug on the far left of Superman #297’s cover haunted my four-year-old dreams for most of a summer.


Superman #296, February 1976,

Superman #297, March 1976,

Superman #298, April 1976

Covers by Curt Swan and Bob Oksner

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Dark Souls: Okay, I Get It Now

I take it back.

Inspired and encouraged and determined, I reinstalled Dark Souls for the third time yesterday evening. Then for a fourth time when one of my two PCs didn’t want to cooperate. #PCGamerTroubles

With trepidation, I sat through the opening cinematic, wondering how any of this grand and epic tale has even a thing to do with the pitiful brown-clad character I would soon inhabit.  Taking a cue from yet another helpful YouTube video, I went with a pyromancer this time. Opted for a slim frame. Messy purple hair.

Named him “Slacks.” 

And in a prison cell, Slacks blinked his way into life. A corpse dropped from a sunlight above as a seeming friendly knight barely nodded and went along his merry way. Corpses are care packages here, and this one carried a key to my own cell. 

So off I went, stabbing wretches as I went, going through the same paces I’d rehearsed months ago during my first and second attempt. Light the bonfire. Take the shield. Talk to the dying knight. Avoid the skeletal archer. Step into the white light. Die horribly.

See, I never managed to get through the boss at the end of the introductory level. I blamed the keyboard and mouse setup. I blamed the seemingly shoddy port from console to PC. I blamed the vaunted level design and its on-purpose cruelty. Dark Souls had taught me virtual futility, and my profit on it was that I knew how to curse my PC in new and creative ways.  

And that is exactly what I did last night. Five or six times, I cut my path from bonfire to boss. The game would tell me what I knew already, that I had died, and then I’d awake again at the bonfire. 

But around the sixth time, something different happened. I started to rethink. 

I kept missing the final boss as I dropped from the final ledge, so I decided to leap forward instead of falling. I needed a shield in my left hand for the approach, but a magic item to channel fireballs for the boss, so I made use of clicking the D-pad to the left. Pressing down on the right joystick targeted the nearest monster, and it worked just as almost well on the boss. 

And on the seventh time through, I landed atop the boss’s head, dropping his health in half. I fell off his back, targeting him and slinging one and then another fire ball. He clanged me good with the giant club that had polished me off several times previous, but I was able to lob one last fire ball as I sprinted past him. I’d done it, and I was so focused on targeting and firing and moving that I almost missed his death throes entirely.

He was dead. The Asylum Demon was dead and I was alive.  

Slacks had survived, and with a key lifted from the Demon’s corpse, he opened a door to climbing hill, then made his first steps into the larger world that has captured the attention and acclaim of gamers for three years previous.

And now, the epic tale of Slacks can truly begin.

Filed under dark souls pcgamer slacks

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"… no mention of their mother." Because Shakespeare was out the day they covered Moms in Playwright School.

"… no mention of their mother." Because Shakespeare was out the day they covered Moms in Playwright School.