From soft games, elden ring and backpacking across the country


Elden Ring

I've played souls games in the past, never finished, and never played online. Since Elden Ring came out, I've been enthralled to the game, savoring every moment and enjoying it immensely. It very much surprised me how much I clicked with the multi-player, and when I say multi-player I don't mean the coop / invasions, although those are cool, I instead mean messages, blood stains, ghosts and, in a cool twist, Reddit. The feel of discovering this game together with the community, sharing tips, sharing trauma and experience, all of this was the true multi-player for me.

Israel Trail

The past week I joined a friend in his journey to cross the country, Israel. Now, some context is that in Israel it is very customary for people to do so, it is something that is looked up to and a surprising amount of people take on the challenge for one reason or another (we even have a word for people on the trail).

The Two Are Not so Different

What struck me after moving from thinking and playing Elden Ring in my free time into traveling all day was how similar I found those experiences for two main reasons: "gameplay loop" and "multi-player features".

Gameplay Loop

Getting up early, quick coffee, strap up and walk together for miles, meeting people along the trail, talking. Then after a really difficult climb you sit on the top of a mountain, satisfied and sip soup while birds chirp around. Then making food in the evening together when we are all sore and tired and chill around the fire, then straight to the bag for a phisical-labor-enhanced-sleep.

This feeling I get when I overcome a difficult slope or finish a really hard day when the sun just starts to set is an awesome feeling, a feeling I'm very familiar with from playing Elden Ring. It is something that From Soft games do best, because their mountains are the highest, but always surmountable.


because the trail is a thing here, a part of the culture, we meet many people along it, be it others doing the whole trail, people doing parts of it or even families doing a short hike on the same path for a few hours.

The conversation between the other trail people is the coolest, we talk about the weight we carry, different techniques for making and carrying food, hard experiences we went though, etc. On our third day we camped at a place called Mount Yoram where the shelter was basically knee-high walls. The cold in that night, the extremely strong wind, all the people camped there (around 20 probably) clung to all their layers and hid in their sleeping bag which was also cold. That week the difficulty of that night was something that was always a part of the conversation when we met other people, we joked on it, compared "builds" (sleeping bag quality and layers) and laughed about it. It really reminded me that first week of Elden Ring where we were all fighting the first few bosses and the Reddit was full of memes about the difficulty, then the feeling of keenship when we overcame the boss (it really felt like I went through the fight together with the community and not alone) still now we laugh about it and compare strategies and builds.

In addition to the in person interaction, there is also Amod Anan, which is an app that is like a Wikipedia for maps, where people mark points of interest and trails together. We often looked at the app to see if there are interesting things along the trail we should watch for (hidden path ahead) although not often enough, there were a few things we missed and only learned of when we got to camp in the eavning and talked to the other hikers. There was a trail part that was almost exclusively walking in the sun, and some awesome dude marked all points of shade in the map down to even bushes you could hide under (that was also a clue for how exposed the area will be) so that people can plan their breaks and not sit in the sun. This really correlates with the community signs and blood stains in Elden Ring, which is really cool.

The only thing left is to mark the hardest part of the trail with "weak foe ahead"

Change my mind!