A few weeks ago I completed, and platinumed, the top runner for my 2022 game of the year: Elden Ring. It was an intense journey and one that I had been anticipating for years. In the immediate aftermath I struggled to cohere my thoughts; to find the motivation to play other games. The last time that happened was in the wake of playing my 2018 game of the year, God of War. Sometimes a game leaves such a lasting impression on you it’s hard to shift from the mindset it put you in. For almost a month my leisure time was hyper-focused in on Elden Ring, and with that gone there’s now a vacuum that feels impossible to fill. Not only that but I was left with severe anxiety about writing this column. Elden Ring has been talked to death by this point, what viewpoint could I offer that wouldn’t be retreading old well-worn ground. So as a change of pace, I want to make this a more personal piece about how the journey to completing the game affected me and my mental state — an insight into the hunter, rather than the hunt.

My relationship with Elden Ring wasn’t the healthiest. In my desire to see it through, I became obsessed, it was all I could think about in my waking mind. But it’s not until I was detached from that, that I was able to see the damage. In the moment everything felt euphoric, I couldn’t wait to hop on and slay the next nightmare in my way. But what happens when there are no more nightmares left to slay? That high is impossible to chase. All in all, it took me 80 hours to complete Elden Ring. Was there more to see and do? Almost assuredly. But I had to cut myself off. I mentioned my previous dealings with this phenomenon with God of War 2018. That was a warning of how wrong this can go. I stopped gaming for around 6 to 8 months after finishing God of War, nothing felt like it could live up to it, and the vacuum it created honestly left me depressed. The time before that was 2013 when I played what I would for a long time to consider my favourite game of all time — Persona 4 Golden, and that left me in a similar state. Wrapping up that game in many ways felt like a coming of age, and saying goodbye to those characters was incredibly difficult. But thankfully at that time, I had a newborn baby to contend with, so the overlap of that void inside and my newfound parental responsibilities made taking a break from gaming a no brainier.

It’s an odd position to be in. Do I regret playing Elden ring? No. It is without a doubt a masterpiece. Do I regret the way I played Elden Ring? Perhaps. But it is impossible to know when one of those games is coming until you’re knee-deep. I never expected Persona 4, God of War, and now Elden Ring to have such an effect on me, but here we are. A hunter needs to know when to pursue, and when to let the hunt go. I could have easily continued to sink another hundred hours into Elden Ring but the result would just be an even more profound feeling of emptiness when it eventually came to an end. Elden Ring is another trophy to mount on my wall not just as a reminder of past triumphs, but also as a warning of potential future missteps.

Let’s end this week with a slightly smaller prize for the taking, but one worth celebrating nevertheless. The Fall Guys platinum trophy has been alluding me for years thanks to one small trophy, Infallible. I say small, this is undoubtedly the hardest challenge the game can offer, to win 5 episodes in a row. In conventional terms, that means beating 59 other players to the crown, over multiple game modes, 5 times in a row. Very daunting. And as time has gone on this trophy has only gotten harder, as the casual player base for the game has moved on, the more die-hard loyal player base are much more challenging than the noobs at launch who had no idea how a simple see-saw worked. There was one glimmering hope though, in the form of the limited-time game modes the game had been implementing.

Every few weeks a new playlist would go up with whacky rule sets. A few weeks ago a limited event went up called sweet thieves, a capture the flag style mode. This was the perfect opportunity for a hunter like myself to attempt infallible. Rather than having to win multiple episodes in a row, you could instead win 5 individual games of sweet thieves in a row. For better or for worse, sweet thieves is also a team-based mini-game, so I recruited TotallyBuzzed’s very own Laura to my team, and we got off to work either stealing sweets or protecting them. It took around an hour or two of attempts, multiple of which where 4 wins in a row and then a crushing defeat in the final round. But eventually, on Laura’s last attempt, we strung those 5 wins together and secured the infallible trophy and along with it, our platinum’s. Champagne was popped, the crowds went wild, etc. and more importantly, we got to mock our good friend (and friend of the site) AlexCous.

Join me again next week where we’ll discuss bouncing back from these Elden Ring blues and desperately trying to fill that void it left. Don’t worry, it’s not as depressing as it sounds.