On the March 30th edition of the Isometric Podcast (co-hosted by friend of Reaxxion Brianna Wu), co-host Steve Lubitz took umbrage with a Richard Stanton-penned Bloodborne “review” that rubbed him the wrong way that said “[…] they are games that treat the player like an adult,” and that just really, really set him off. Unfortunately for Mr. Lubitz, it wasn’t a review, but rather first impressions of the game. This wouldn’t be so problematic if he didn’t host a gaming podcast. The least he could’ve done was make sure it was either a review or first impressions column.
As with any social justice advocate looking to get his panties in a twist, I don’t think Mr. Lubitz finished reading the rest of the column that really, really set him off…or at all! Even I thought Mr. Stanton was just being a lazy reviewer when I heard Mr. Lubitz quote the piece. But once you actually read the piece, you realize that treating the player like an adult is where Bloodborne sets itself apart from other games. It’s mostly well worn “first impressions” tripe discussing the differences between the Souls games and Bloodborne, and not how much of an adult you will be if you play it.
I have yet to play Bloodborne, but I have played From Software’s other game of the same ilk, Dark Souls. Most video game fans are well aware of From Software’s Souls games being as “hard as hell” and “soul-crushing,” to say the least. These games do not hold your hand and their player “tutorials” are laughable. They do, however, promote a long dead notion in gaming: banding together, with your brethren (and sistren if we‘re being fair) via word of mouth, to conquer a game so obtuse in it’s design that you can’t tell if the menus are mistranslated or purposely poorly worded just to mess with you!
This harkens back to the early days of gaming where nothing was a given, even a properly worded instruction manual. For some of us, even that wasn’t a given seeing as we had to rent most of our games, and they typically never came with instructions. If they did, they were crude rudimentary summations of the game written by a stoned clerk who didn’t really care for games all that much, but loved how much money they brought in to the store.
The Foolishness Of Steve Lubitz
Mr. Lubitz’s assertion that the Bloodborne first impression is implicitly saying that all games that are not Bloodborne are “kids” games is absurd. If he was saying that Mr. Stanton was being a lazy, hyperbolic games writer by implying that Bloodborne was an “adult game” then I would agree, but that wasn’t his intention either. It just seems to be something for Mr. Lubitz and his podcast co-hosts get their panties in a bunch about, feigning that games like Bloodborne are insulting their “gamer cred” by being obtuse.
Because by today’s standards, anything that isn’t like Bloodborne and the Souls series does treat players like babies. How many games these days slap you with a needlessly long tutorial? How many first person shooters need to teach you how to crouch to move under a fallen piece of rubble or fire a gun? Is this the kind of game where I squeeze a left trigger to pull up sights before I right trigger shoot the weapon? Unless the game has a new feature not seen in ten years, gamers could live with the training wheels being pulled off.
Saying a game treats you like an adult isn’t insulting to people’s intelligence: overwrought tutorials that keep you from playing the game are. It’s also a good indicator that the game just isn’t for you.
Why Do Games Need To Hold Your Hand?
Too often these days older gamers are trying to have their cake and eat it too. They want to dictate gameplay and yet need a game that doesn’t hurt their old man hands or “insult” their gamer cred. You kids don’t know what hard is, I had to make my own Metroid maps on graph paper just to get around…now that was hard!
But hard is subjective, and difficulty is relative. Some games just aren’t for everyone, and demanding that games allow an “easy” or “casual” option so people can “enjoy” them is insulting to those who are coming to a game for its challenge. This is also counter-intuitive to what From Software is trying to do with their Souls games and Bloodborne. It’s insulting to the fans that enjoy these types of games, that are already so few and far between in terms of quality and general difficulty.
Perhaps Steve Lubitz needs to grow a dick, play Bloodborne for himself and form his own opinion instead of misrepresenting a writers first impression of a game and getting all butthurt about being insulted. I know it’s in his social justice beta male blood to not do these things and instead grouse on a supposed gaming podcast about his inability to play “manly” games like Bloodborne, but he could do mankind a favor and try to think for himself.