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You Died: The Dark Souls Companion

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4.09  ·  Rating details ·  357 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Award-winning journalists Keza MacDonald and Jason Killingsworth embark on a far-ranging exploration of Dark Souls – one of the most influential, enigmatic and best-loved video games in history – and the slightly mad people who play it. It has three questions at its heart: where did Dark Souls come from, what makes it so special, and why are we all so obsessed with it? YOU ...more
Kindle Edition, 306 pages
Published April 22nd 2016 by BackPage
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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Layla ✷ Praise the sun ✷
There is real beauty in Dark Souls. It reveals that life is more suffering than pleasure, more failure than success, and that even the momentary relief of achievement is wiped away by new levels of difficulty. It is also a testament to our persistence in the face of that suffering, and it offers the comfort of a community of other players all stuck in the same hellish quagmire. Those are good qualities. That is art. And you can get all of that from the first five hours of Dark Souls. (Michael ...more
Mark Haichin
Apr 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I had first heard about You Died listening to the Daft Souls podcast a while back (and whose creator Matt Lees gets a shout-out in the book). I was immediately intrigued by the idea - a book all about the creation and lore of Dark Souls sounded like it would be very interesting indeed. My main worry going in when I first picked up my copy on release day was that it would have very little to say that wasn't already known about the game/franchise.

Fortunately, I couldn't have been more wrong. To
...more
Brian
May 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
I bought Dark Souls back in 2013, and then it took me almost a year and a half to get around to playing it. I'd heard about the fascinating world-building, the trial-and-error difficulty, the roguelike sensibilities toward progression, and the asynchronous multiplayer and it all sounded like something I would love, but it was tied to the detestable Games For Windows Live, so it sat in my Steam library until GFWL shut down and most games moved their mechanics over to Steam, including Dark Souls. ...more
Ben
Mar 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: research
Keza MacDonald and Jason Killingsworth tackle Dark Souls as a series of essays about different aspects of the game (it's levels, lore, design and mechanics), its influence (podcasts, YouTube series, achievement-hunters), and what its players and designers FEEL about it and each other. This last one is important because it highlights one of the most unique and important aspects of the game - the comradery and community that has built around its sheer difficulty. That makes reading this book ...more
Brendan Davis
May 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Hopefully this book is the start of something beautiful, much like Dark Souls was. It's a fitting reflection on the game, its culture and its spot in video game history. Although Dark Souls is uniquely deserving of such a book, more people should write books of this sort about other video games.
Clay
Jun 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I find myself fascinated by video games, their stories and their culture. I'm no real gamer myself. I've dabbled in almost every genre but haven't the will power nor the patience to master a video game as many have and do. Maybe that's why I find video games so fascinating and why those who can play them well to be so interesting. These days I limit myself to Hold-Em and crossword puzzles on my phone - not that I haven't engaged in a few memorable experiences - Portal 2, GTA V, Call of Duty, ...more
Yancy
Jan 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Games, and for that matter any form of electronic entertainment, is often viewed as a trivial pursuit. For those simply observing at arms length - a console, PC, or mobile game may appear as some mindless distraction that offers gratification through a means that cannot be achieved realistically. For others, games don't go beyond their original purpose: quick and greasy entertainment. Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I always plays devil's advocate in the argument about gaming's ...more
Nicholas Karpuk
Jun 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
As someone who's been playing these games since Demon's Souls became a budget title, I was predisposed to have an interest in this book. I watch way too many Dark Souls Lore videos and I've read through more wiki entries for From Software games than I care to count. And beyond anything else, I just like listening to people discuss the mythology of the series as well as talking to any of my friends that I've convinced to play the game.

There are huge chunks of the book that I found very
...more
David Mcmullen
Dec 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
I wasn't all that impressed with the "Tour of Lordran" chapters, but I found a lot of enjoyment in most of the other chapters. The interview snippets from Miyazaki were insightful and a lot of the stuff surrounding the English language translation of the game was interesting.

The quotes from various fans about why they play were a joy to read as well.
Benjamin
Sep 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
If it got you, read it.

If you are into Dark Souls, read this. The essays lack heft but I do enjoy them. They vary in quality but they have some gems here and there.
Brandy
Nov 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5* - very enjoyable and several laugh out loud moments. Loved the story theories st the end.
Matt Hill
Nov 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
a no brainer for fans . . excellent and wide-ranging . . the authors' love of the series is apparent
Christopher Wise
A difficult book to score really as it's a collection of information and stories gathered over the years since Dark Souls' release in 2011. However, Keza Macdonald and Jason Killingsworth have done a good job compiling their emails, notes, thoughts and pieces of information such as the game's lore and detailed walkthrough of the zones.

For those that aren't aware of Hidetaka Miyazaki's and From Software's Dark Souls, it was THE game that changed absolutely everything. Improving most aspects on
...more
David
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Why do we play Dark Souls?... Why play video games at all? It's a question usually posed by people who think they're at best a waste of time, an odd thing for an intelligent person to take an interest in, and at worst straightforwardly dangerous; honey-traps of mindless fun designed to lure young people into a life of stimulus-chasing delinquency. I've spent a great deal of my adult life trying to articulate why I play video games, and have never found a single clear-cut answer. For fun? ...more
Kyla Squires
When I beat Dark Souls in May I fell into a fairly deep depression, as without Dark Souls to play, I no longer felt my life had any meaning. Reading this was a helpful spirit booster, and I found many of the relatable tales within caused me to laugh out loud with maniacal glee, unnerving my fellow public transit users.

I skipped some pages here and there as they were about sections of the game I missed, and fortunately I have the memory of a gold-fish and have already forgotten the part about the
...more
AJ *constant reader* Delmonico
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Picked this up to go with my first play through of the original Dark Souls on Xbox 360. It was surprisingly well written and featured a dearth of interesting facts surrounding the mysteries of this heralded game. It includes spoilers so those of you who haven't played Dark Souls may want to wait till you finish before you begin reading, however it also helps to piece together the story that is difficult to find in game. My quest to finish the book is complete but I am unfortunately still ...more
Gabor Szalai
Jul 25, 2018 rated it liked it
A very enjoyable ride on an unashamed nostalgia train for one of the most uncompromisingly realised video games ever made. I found particular pleasure in reading through the reactions from the journalists' first encounter with the game; the portraits of the craziest members of the Souls community; and the reverent analysis of the game's incredible design. That said, the chapters touring the game's individual levels seemed a bit of a cheap trick to fill the book: to me these passages felt more ...more
Rob
Dec 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Pretty good for what it is, but what it is an uneven set of article-like-chapters about various topics related to the video game Dark Souls. The most common type of these are descriptions of areas of the game world, which average every other chapter, and which I quickly learned to skip. There's also a really weird section in the middle which reads like a bunch of testimonials from a forum post copy-pasted into the book.

On the positive side, it made me infinitely more interested in Dark Souls
...more
Brian Chalmers
Feb 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Yes, I found this enjoyable despite not having played any of the Dark Souls games. It's interesting for the mere fact it describes the life of a gamer, and also the life of completists who becomes addicted to the mastery of something, in this case the Dark Souls game.
Whitney Lynn
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic book for anyone wanting to dive deep into the Dark Souls series. A mix of lore and though pieces, this book is easy to digest in both long or short reading sessions. The illustrations are wonderful as well.
Adam Cook
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was hoping for some more depth about the locations - maybe more insight from Miyazaki-San. But this is still an excellent read about a series close to my heart. I'd read a version of this about every Souls game.
Joe Walton
Feb 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Easy read. Read in 3 sittings for a total of 330 pages.

Provides a fun mix of the author's takes on Lordran and stories of the people and personalities from the Souls community and fandom.

Their lore build section at the end was also very entertaining.
Julian
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: videogames
This is an uneven collection of essays about Dark Souls. Although not that much gets said, I greatly enjoyed its raw fanaticism, though I doubt its ability to convert the nullifidians. I guess the real medium for reaction to Dark Souls is videogames, not writing.
Merzbau
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
one of my favorite series of all time. definitely top 5, maybe even top 3. a lot of great pieces in here and much like the games themselves it left me wanting more. in a good way
Andrew
Aug 06, 2018 rated it liked it
The best books casually toss out the word "defenestrate" around page 250.
Brian
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A Great Book About an Incredible Game

I adore Dark Souls, and this collection of stories and interviews made me want to play it all over again—which is exactly what I’m doing.
David
May 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Finishing a "SoulsBorne" game (an entry in From Software's Demon's/Dark Souls/Bloodborne line of games) is bitter sweet. You take a moment to reflect on the incredible journey you've just finished, and then, if you're anything like me, you immediately begin again. Not only because you want to continue exploring and experimenting with new character builds, but because no other game will do.

I call it the SoulsBorne sickness: the sensation experienced for hours, days, even weeks and months after
...more
Alex
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. Each chapter is a different essay about Dark Souls - and each chapter approaches the subject in a new way. Some chapters are more insightful than others, but all of them are short, easy-to-read, and well researched and written.

Reading it was like a warm nostalgia blanket that placed me back into the world of Dark Souls. I adore this game so much and it's so gratifying to have a book that understands and appreciates the complexity and artistry of this masterpiece.
...more
Simon
Apr 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: video-games
A diverse set of essays showing how Dark Souls influenced so many people so much in such various ways, unfortunately rather for people who've played it already.
I learned a lot of new things about the game, which i wasn't sure was possible. Keza's writing is enjoyable throughout, while Jason does a bit of busiwork and too many labored analogies. He has one extraordinary chapter though, the one about the quest to 100% the game.
There are a bit too many typos, and perhaps a lack of serious art
...more
Adam
May 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I was hoping this would delve a little bit more into either the lore of the game or the development process. The various profiles of the players and the reasons for the game's appeal were fine, but not particularly novel; the descriptions of the areas were well-written, but serve mainly as a love letter rather than offering up any significant insights about their meaning or the way they were crafted.

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“Exploring Lordran is one of Dark Souls' foremost pleasures, and the seamlessness with which its various zones connect offers the gratification you get watching adjoining puzzle pieces snap together. It's worth considering each area in its turn, the architecture and meticulous care with which they're constructed. It's difficult to think of another game in which every brushstroke feels this considereed - everything down to the placement of specific pieces of loot and their significance to the lore. This is why fans feel comfortable speculating so aggressively about the world of Dark Souls. The lack of arbitrariness across so many facets of the game's construction makes every subsequent detail feel just as potentially meaningful.” 0 likes
“Start mashing controller buttons and triggers, find your light and heavy attacks, how did that feel? Nice, eh? Take a moment to appreciate the gleeful hyperbole of the sound design – the audible crunch of each weapon strike, the elongated swoosh as an enemy's soul vacates its body. Every combat transaction in Dark Souls feels rewarding, in large part because of sensory heft.” 0 likes
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