Sriracha, also known as the Rooster from hell (nobody calls it that), is a spicy chili sauce that exploded in popularity over the last 10 years.

Demon’s Souls, FromSoftware’s breakout hit that revived the company known mostly for the mech series Armored Core, started a series of games that exploded in popularity over the last 10 years.

When I eat something topped with Sriracha, I immediately regret it. The pain, the heat; what flavor was I seeking out that I thought dosing the red liquid of Ragnaros was a good candidate to bring me there? I am wondering, “Can I go on? Can I really finish this meal I so regretfully ruined with this evil sauce? Surely the second bite can’t be as hot?” I continue with the meal, feeling shame and regret for my decisions, telling myself that I’ve learned a lesson and finishing this meal I will swear off Sriracha and focus on more rewarding flavors. There will be no next time!

Ah, but there is a next time. Was I losing my memory? “It wasn’t that bad” I rationalize to myself. Within the next few days I am dipping my toes into the pool of palatable magma. “Oh why did I do this?” I ask myself, “Have I learned no lesson here?”. But I have learned a lesson, the lesson of pain for pleasure. Am I starting to enjoy the pain? The third time that same week I no longer have a negative reaction, I almost look forward to it. Sriracha is dulling my senses to other taste. Small doses of other flavors are now providing an overpowering sensation. Who cares for savory, sweet, salty, those are children’s food; I need the rooster. Only through him, can I reach meal nirvana.

When I start a Soulborne game, a moniker given to FromSoftware’s series of titles that include Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls 1-3, Bloodborne and Sekiro, I am immediately turned off. “Ugh, these controls are so unresponsive” I tell myself. “Enemies aren’t flinching when getting hit, WTF”. Mechanically, the games is fucking me and mocking me while it is doing so. “Why the fuck is there an unbeatable boss fight at the end of the tutorial?” I feel pathetic, stupid and want to return to my games that are algorithmically crafted to fulfill my teenage power fantasy. Goodbye FromSoftware, I never knew what I saw in you.

But I come back. “Well I can’t leave it alone after that last embarrassing showing” I justify; or the financially motivated “I spent fucking $60, I’m going to get $60 worth of entertainment”. I notice some intriguing techniques, find some hidden areas, suddenly that jump scare at the beginning of my last campfire/statue/lamp is a joke to me. I’m learning how to dance with the game: the rhythm, the flow, when to advance, when to be vulnerable to lure in an attack. Suddenly other games don’t do it for me. “Well this game is made to make me feel powerful, I don’t feel like I earned anything though” I tell myself. I now wonder why these shitty open world adventure games are so easy. “The enemies are practically laying down for me, no way could I take on 5 bad guys at once in Sekiro”. I wonder why other games can’t have the integrity to fuck me like FromSoftware does, why can’t they set requirements and have me blindly charge into death after death until I change? I need to learn, the game is perfect, it is I that is this soiled, imperfect being. Only through 1,000,000 death screens can I be cleansed of my evil.

FromSoftware is my Sriracha of games. Only through pain can one grow to enjoy the small pleasures of life.