Zach Rice

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Sekiro Sam

"One game at a time bro", Sam texted me. Sam's usage of "bro" always made me smile. He truly meant brother and wouldn't throw that word around carelessly. Texting was our preferred method of communication. Occasionally Sam and I would sit down and have a chat about our feelings, relationships, and aspirations, but he would always prefer to have those conversations via text.

Sam and I had been playing the game Sekiro earlier that week. I would come over to my parents' house and hang out with Sam to play video games or watch a movie about once a week. Sekiro is a From Software game, similar in difficulty to Dark Souls. Sam would refer to Sekiro as "that samurai game". Sam had his TV set up at the foot of his bed. Sam would be lying on the bed and I would be sitting half off the edge while I watched him play the game. Our dog, Luna, loved hanging out with us on his bed which sometimes irked Sam. "Ugh Luna, move", "Get off Luna", etc. but she is a thick, muscly dog and would resist and usually end up just lying down so as to not block the TV, which is what we cared about.

Sam made it to the first boss and was having some difficulty. I had almost beaten the game and was comfortable playing From Software games. I knew the timings for all the enemies and could beat the boss fairly easily -- I had sunk around 80 hours of play time into Sekiro at that point. It takes time to get good at those games. Sam was making gradual progress learning the timing of the boss's attack. Sam was the kind of guy to get frustrated if things didn't come easily to him, but with Sekiro he gave it a chance and was patient with his progress.

After a couple attempts at defeating the boss I asked Sam if I could show him how to deflect attacks better. Sam was sort of button mashing at that point which was not optimal for From Software games -- it's all about the timing. I showed him how to time the attacks better and he started to improve even more. He got the boss almost all the way down on the second health bar (or death blow), but then we decided it was time to stop playing. I think we ended up watching a Netflix show or something after.

I went home. He texted me I forgot my backpack. Doh. I said I'll pick it up tomorrow. Two days after that I think he called me and we chatted about Sekiro a bit. Maybe it was a pocket dial, I forget. Anyways, after that I texted Sam "That's a pretty big step beating the first boss", and then "Pretty soon you'll beat dark souls". I tried to get Sam to play Dark Souls 3 but he wasn't about it. Sam responded with "One game at a time bro".

He beat the boss later that week.