I experienced a strange moment of déjà vu when I first set foot on the Altus Plateau in Elden Ring, the breakaway hit game of 2022. There was something about the way the golden leaves of the trees swayed in the breeze that stirred my memory. I had definitely seen this place before. I had walked through these abandoned ruins. I had gotten lost on these plains, and I had died under these golden leaves. In fact, I had died kind of a lot.
Or: I struggled my way through Dark Souls and all I got was this lousy gender.
Spend more than five minutes browsing Dark Souls content on any social media platform and you’re bound to see some mention of transfeminine people being absolutely feral about (and uncannily good at) any Dark Souls game. It isn’t uncommon to see Twitter users joking about getting “girldick” by asking a transfem to explain the “deep lore” of Dark Souls or any of the games in its offshoot “Soulsborne” genre. Dark Souls is notoriously difficult, cryptic, and hostile to the player both in its mechanics and atmosphere. It’s no surprise that such a series would attract a devoted cult following. But why are transfeminine people in particular associated with this cult following? Is taking exogenous estrogen really the secret to “gitting gud” and getting past that boss you’ve been stuck on for weeks? (more…)
Evelyn Grey is a media critic, cryptid, and Forever DM. She writes at the intersection of queer experience, class, and games. You can find her on BlueSky @Insulindianphasmid.
I don’t exactly remember when I picked up Bloodborne. Like a dream, worn-out memories hang at the edge of consciousness to the point that if you told me one day it had appeared on my shelf with no explanation, I would believe you. The more likely explanation is that I purchase games to add to my library and swear I’ll get to them later. I know it appeared in my home near its release, and I tried a few fruitless hours to navigate the streets of Yharnam, only succeeding in defeating the Cleric Beast. While I wasn’t far into it, Bloodborne’s story did intrigue me; unlike Dark Souls, you’re not given much of a summary. Just tasked to go out and kill a few beasts since it’ll “do some good.” The answers within this city—of a mysterious illness and blood-as-medicine, of being called a “Hunter”—were yet to unfold.
The following essay discusses familial illness and contains spoilers for Bloodborne. (more…)
When I’m not co-oping in a FromSoft game or trying to convince someone how good the Venom movie was; I usually enjoy crafting, drawing and hanging out with my two cats.
Find my silly takes and NSFW art @justthecress
Happy Halloween! Let’s talk about monsters, or, more accurately, the construction of monstrosity and its connection with marginalization. And boy is there a lot of that!