It was the Burger King. Standing at the top of the Academy stairs, looking down on me in my piteous existence, I knew I would die at his hands. Again. I was facing off against the stony stares of the dudes guarding the dungeon I needed to get inside, I had made the silly mistake of playing as a magic user named Shulk. I set out to make the Hulk in the character creator, but wound up making a green guy that looks exactly like Shrek when he turns into a human. It was hilarious… until it wasn’t.

I'll never find out who this guy is. I guess he's Ajani from Magic: The Gathering?

As a professional nerd, I wanted to be good at the game that everyone was talking about. I wanted to beat Elden Ring if only to say that I had defeated a Souls game. I had done enough grinding and coerced a friend into helping me beat the first boss and was feeling pretty good about myself. But I needed stronger magic. An NPC told me that I could find powerful spells from a learned magic user and when I came across Raya Lucaria Academy, I knew I had found the right place. A place of healing, of learning, of respite from the weird bug-eyed grey guys and spider hands that dogged my every step. How wrong I was. I’d spent hours getting to those steps and I’d spend hours getting past them.

The doors to the academy were guarded by two Glintstone Mages, who, let’s be honest, look exactly like the Burger King mascot. They whooped my ass. And then again. And again. So I went off and did some more grinding, leveling up and pumping up the stats I needed to raise. I even farmed a few cheeky levels by killing a big troll who couldn’t reach me through a doorway over and over again, both of us respawning in an unholy cycle of death and destruction. To no avail. I battled those damn Burger Kings over and over. Each time getting a little more boring, a little less magical. Until finally, miraculously, I beat them. But I didn’t feel like a god, I didn’t feel the rush of endorphins that I’ve heard others describe when they complete a hyper repetitive task for the final time. I feel exhausted. But my prize awaited, there was a wise lord who would teach me powerful magic waiting right behind that door… Absolutely wrong. I opened the academy door and immediately got rushed by a million freaking guys with a million f*cking arms. I shrieked and died immediately. For the last time. The game defeated me by making me realize that instead of dying again and again, I’d rather get up from my couch and do some actual living.

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