As many people who play Dark Souls do, I came into this project with very strong opinions on the lore, mechanics, difficulty, and art of Dark Souls.
I initially wanted to focus on the lore: how players are tricked into think they’re the hero, and will almost certainly complete entire playthroughs without ever realizing that they have been fooled into martyrdom for the gain of small group. I wanted to highlight the narrative structure of Dark Souls, which I would argue is truly unique.
These subjects, however, are not the material for a 5-10 minute podcast. I firmly believe that Dark Souls is a great work of literature, and as such, to try and analyze its story in its entirety in such a short time could not do the game justice (not to mention that it wouldn’t have anything to do with Bogost).
David initially wanted to do the podcast focusing primarily on the mechanics of Dark Souls, which I thought missed the most interesting parts of the game.
But what we each wanted to do had a common feature that led to the proposed term. My strong feelings are Dark Souls lore are not at all unique, and David’s strong feelings on the mechanics aren’t either. It became apparent to both of us that “strong feelings” pretty much characterize the Dark Souls community. From there we converged on the topic that almost every aspect of Dark Souls was built to create opinions and alignments that would foster the development of a community within and outside the game.
After that, there was almost no work to be done. We quickly created a list of evidence and talking points, each only about 3 words long. From there we started talking and recording, working our way through the points as the conversation progressed. I wouldn’t call our conversation planned, but we knew what we wanted to prove and we each had our own ideas how we wanted to prove it, so the conversation wasn’t much more than a normal conversation. Ten minutes later we had everything we need for our podcast.
We cut a few bits that we thought were less relevant or where someone misspoke, but we kept the vast majority of the recording.
At the onset, I wasn’t sure how to go about writing a podcast; now I realize that it really isn’t fundamentally different then writing on paper: Prove your point with words in a manner befitting the audience. It’s just free form writing on the spot.
Given more time (honestly, we started later than we should have) we probably would have brought in more points (we didn’t hit all of them on the list) and we would have brought in evidence from a closer reading of Dark Souls, rather than the overview that we did.