Dark Souls is fair, Call of Duty isn't

Rich McCormick demands harder games that don't make a mockery of skill and effort

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You are shown no favouritism. Any victories you achieve come directly from your own bravery, your own ingenuity, and your own skill. But other games? Hell, other games aren't fair. Shooters such as Call of Duty pick the player from a lineup of identigrunts and bestow them with prophecy. Ramirez, get up here! Ramirez, magically avoid every metal death-wasp whizzing past our heads because you've got to shoot down a helicopter in five levels' time! Ramirez, ignore the others getting shot in the face, they're only AI scenery!

See your world through their eyes - you, the rookie from the same academy as them, chosen for no apparent reason to earn immortality and unending favour. The man who skips about like an ADHD teen, rifle-butts friendly characters while they're talking and repeatedly lowers his testicles in his enemies' faces - he's the guy the universe picks to survive, while they get death in a canned animation.

Games are giving us a worldview that puts the player front and centre. They tell us we're all unique snowflakes and special little guys. We're all winners, even if we spend more time bumbling into walls and running out of ammo in the midst of firefights than saving hostages or defeating armies.

Wars have been won, tyrants deposed, countries saved by some of the planet's most moronic players. "He saved us," say the NPCs, slow-clapping in unison, "But he's an idiot." Systems have been built around this sense of entitlement, things that extend into the firmware of our console itself. Trophies are little gold stars, stuck to our exercise books by the virtual teacher who has to look away as we dribble all over our pencils and eat glue.

Demon’s Souls gives you no special treatment – success is well-earned and meaningful

Genuine skill or incredible endurance doesn't earn Trophies - and doesn't finish games. The concept of entitlement through skill and effort has been replaced by an challenge-lite trudge to an equalopportunities finish line. There's no risk beyond that to your pride, as the mountain's been replaced by a shallow hill, and there's an escalator for the lame.

Our games shouldn't be reassuring back-pat artists. They shouldn't say, "Bless... at least you tried." They should be screaming at us to reach their jagged peaks, stabbing at our brains and hands, demanding we get better. And if we can't, we don't deserve to finish them.

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