Dark Souls’ Best Character Was Made By The Fans
Dark Souls is renowned for creating instantly iconic characters, and FromSoftware has managed to continue that trend all the way through to Elden Ring, but they pale in comparison to GiantDad. It might’ve started out as a pretty average mini-max build, but it took on a life of its own. Solaire? Siegmeyer? Big Hat Logan? Priscilla? Sif? They don’t compare to the legacy GiantDad has left. It boasts fast roll with tanky armour and stats, utilising a Chaos Zweihander for easy spammable stun-lock kills. It’s a brutal build so its wide use made sense, but it did what no other had done before or since – it went viral.
More than just a must-have meta to win PvP fights, it got its own song, a slew of fan art, and videos boasting millions of views. All because it was so personable. The mask combined with the armour gave it a distinct visual hook, one so strong that, when combined with the Well What Is It? gesture, skyrocketed it into meme culture. The mask is now so intrinsically tied to GiantDad because of its popularity that it's hard to think it originated with Pinwheel.
That’s what makes GiantDad the best character of the bunch. Dark Souls prides itself on depressed, crestfallen souls dredging themselves along on a journey they barely remember, recycling archetypes game in and game out, but GiantDad is a unique phenomenon. Even Elden Ring’s Let Me Solo Her doesn’t fit the bill because they’re a personality – others may take the mantle, try to capture the same magic, but there’s only one true Let Me Solo Her. They’re more like a FromSoft celebrity than a viral build. GiantDad remains the only one of its kind, even though there have been five games since.
It got its own lore videos from popular creators in the community, a whole – fairly well-made – song, and a hugely viral video called He’s Back from OnlyAfro ten years ago that has a staggering eight million views. It’s an amateurish two-minute time capsule that perfectly sums up 2010s internet meme culture. It shows you how to build up your own GiantDad – with a few Snoop Dog dancing gifs thrown in – so you too can invade random players as the living embodiment of the meme.
It’s a testament to FromSoftware’s bizarre and sometimes wonderful community. Throw a rock and you’ll find a ‘git gud’ prick who thinks they’re a hot shot because they beat Artorias with a broken straight sword, and GiantDad felt distinct at a time when the vocal minority of the community was so hell-bent on this toxic mindset. Ignoring duel etiquette, fighting with specific weapons, and using heavy armour while fast-rolling were all frowned upon, yet here came this absolute cheesecake of a build designed around all the cheap exploits of Dark Souls. Forget what the naysayers were shouting – stun ‘em, slap ‘em, and have fun.
And in spite of the toxicity and gatekeeping of Dark Souls’ community, it went viral and continued to be used years after the fact, resurfacing in the remaster. So while I adore Solaire’s search for his sun and Big Hat Logan’s goofy… well, big hat, nothing will stick with me more than GiantDad, the community-made living legend that flew in the face of so much elitism.
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