Now to be fair to jobs, the Dark Souls series is bloody hard. And work in general is usually quite formulaic: once you know the score you just get on with it — play the game, follow the rules. Real challenges are rare. I’d say the biggest hurdle most of us face is probably going to be overcoming irritation and boredom. And the horror of bad office coffee. Thankfully a lot of us (well, me at least — sorry, everyone else) really aren’t terribly stressed if we really think about it logically. Which means we aren’t often forced to deal with challenging and confronting situations. Or the subsequent satisfaction that overcoming those brings.
Dark Souls, on the other hand, pushes you right to the limit. It never holds your hand. It never forgives. It never takes it easy. It walks you right up to the abyss of frustration, kicks you the nuts, gives you a little wink, and pushes you over the edge without so much as a “Good luck!”. But when you beat it — daayyuuuum! The feeling of satisfaction is tremendous. It might even make you a little moist in the best possible way. You watched every swing, every leap, every charge, every feint, every telegraphed move. You’re sweating, there are teeth marks in the controller, and you’re pretty sure you haven’t blinked for the last 90 minutes. You’ve stared through bleary eyes, numb, at the hundredth iteration of “YOU DIED”. But you learned. You got better. You honed your reactions and got gud. You won. Praise the mother fucking sun.
Work doesn’t often bring such a challenge to the table. Which is both good and bad. I mean, no one wants to be hammering their face into a brick wall like Dark Souls every day of their life, yet any success that isn’t borne out of genuine challenge is doomed to be empty. Dooooomed!
Right. Ermm… What was I saying?
How about a totally smooth segue into…
My Top 5 Souls series bosses paired with my Top 5 hardest jobs
5. Dancer of the Boreal Valley | Sales Executive for an Apple reseller
Seriously, all the spinning around, the ducking, the dodging, the slashing! And the Dancer was pretty bad too. Meeeeeehhhh! Sorry. These two were the epitomy of frustration and dissatisfaction, but not massively hard. The hardest part was not slapping customers for being unfathomably obnoxious. “Hey, tell me why I should buy an iMac? Because, you know, they suck.” Or “The iPad’s a phone as well, right? Right? Yeah yeah whatever, I’m sure it is.” And of course “I want my money back! You conned me! This WiFi iPod touch only gets internet at home! I can’t get it outside!”
“Please. Go away. Just, go away.”
4. Manus, Father of the Abyss | Newbie Medical Writer
Manus has a huge health pool and you’re chipping away at it in the dark with your little sword trying to avoid sudden death. When I started out as a medical writer I had literally no idea what was happening, received very little support from anyone, and spent most of my time typing away at huge review articles or clinical data spreadsheets. Fumbling in the dark doesn’t really do the sad little mess I was in much justice and I certainly would’ve appreciated a little sword to fend off evil Pharma from time to time. There are also random critical strikes from Manus/Clients that pound you into the ground and force you start all over again! Oh and you inevitably lose your soul(s).
3. Knight Artorias | Biophysics Research Associate
Holy shitballs. It looks pretty straightforward at the start and then BAM! Out of nowhere you’re on the floor, weeping, wondering how the fuck that just happened. YOU DIED. But learning Artorias was actually fun. Yeah he’s a double hard bastard with a whopping great sword, but you can learn it, and man it feels good to beat him. Forcing myself to learn about optics and biophysics in such a short space of time was also eye-wateringly intense. But seeing it pay off and feeling the understanding slowly (really slowly!) start to creep in — yeah, that was awesome.
2. The Nameless King | PhD student
Right off the bat I’d just like to say: fuck The Nameless King. Screw that dude and his stupid dragon and the stupid lightning and the stupid everything! This boss felt like it would never end. I felt like I was throwing myself against a wall of pain for literally hours. My PhD years were similar: staring up at what seemed like an insurmountable task only to have pain rained down on me periodically in the form of lab meetings, supervisor ‘feedback’ and ceaseless experimental failure. Both The Nameless King the PhD involved watching out for tiny clues, waiting for opportune moments, and digging ever deeper to pull a modicum of staying power from the very depths of my soul! My years on the PhD course taught me so much about science, and work, and resilience, and failure, and success, and life, and depression, and elation. Oh, and shrimps. There’s not much that compares to finally getting a positive result after months and months of failed work and holding that little bit of knowledge in your brain and thinking, “I’m the only person right now who knows this bit of science.” And then it comes crashing down, whipping success out from under you — but hey, it was awesome while it lasted!
1. Dragon Slayer Ornstein and Executioner Smough | Father
And the top spot obviously goes to Skinny and Fatty and, of course, being a Father. Ornstein and Smough come at you with everything, at once, and immediately flatten you. Just like being a new parent: “Oh hey! Here’s your new human. There’s no manual. Just keep it alive, don’t set it on fire, etc etc. Okay good luck, thanks for coming, bye bye now!” Startled doesn’t cut it. These bosses and babies demand your complete attention — and they demand it be pulled in multiple directions at once! The price of not doing so? YOU DIED! |THE BABY CRIED! Wow, you gotta get your multitasking and emotional resilience skills levelled way up to survive these encounters. But, without a shadow of a doubt, despite these being some of the darkest days of my life during the early phases, the sheer elation and sense of accomplishment at getting to grips with this shit is phenomenal.
So there you have it: my top jobs and bosses of Dark Souls. The obvious combo.
Title gif from the superb Zedotagger.