Has it only been three weeks? Like a Falmer emerging from the glowering depths of his subterranean hovel to find his eyes grown milky and his humanity (elfmanity) all but blown away by the fresh mountain breeze, I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time on Skyrim.
It has made an impact on the world of pop culture like no other game of my acquaintance. One anon who had not played video games since the Amstrad even asked me ‘what this Skyrimmer thing is all about’. Its glory shines into the dark crevices of our souls and sends us on a fetch quest to kill vikingzombies with a blade forged of mangrit and a shield of Major Procrastinating.
Jokes aside, Skyrim is kind of an amazing achievement in storytelling, even if the sheer scale of the thing makes occasionally jarring glitches a immersion-foiling inevitability. Does it taint the experience? A little. Does it make me love it all the more? God yes. Skyrim messes up in myriad tiny ways, but the special way it messes up for you is for you alone.
Walking across a mist-touched plain, two mammoths and their giant shepherds (mammotherds?) plodded off in the distance. Suddenly, one of their herd took abrupt and short-lived flight, picking up a slight injury once gravity regained control. Incensed, the giants immediately sought a scapegoat and found only my unsuspecting wood elf avatar in the vicinity, wasting no time in clubbing him into the stratosphere. Ragdoll physics is fun.
What’s been just as cool as the game is what it has inspired, things the developers could only have planned as far as a farmer plans the shape of the potato plants he sows in whatever season potatoes are sown.
Tom Chick over at Honest Gamers gives probably the most balanced review of the Skyrim experience, quite rightly pointing out that it’s less a video game than a wee theatre for playing out your own version of a story for which only the barest scaffolding has been provided.
In a pretty apt demonstration of what Chick is talking about, CVG features an in-depth look at one player’s first hundred hours (!) in the realm of Skyrim. The growing sense of identification with his character – he starts off by describing what he, Andras the Nord, is up to, but soon reverts comfortably into the first person – is strangely touching.
Speaking of emotional engagement, Rock, Paper, Shotgun‘s John Walker recounts the final hours of Lydia, the dragonborn’s huscarl and OTP. This one struck a very emotional chord, you guys. So many re-loads.
But Skyrim‘s impact on our emotional lives is by no means restricted to the in-game world. Quinnae from the Border House Blog talks movingly about the game’s dedication to gender equality and just how far ahead of the pack it is in that respect.
Finally, there have been more than enough YouTube videos showing the abundance of crazy kicking around Tamriel these days, but Jim Sterling’s video at the Escapist – if you can overlook him tooting his own dragonhorn – goes into some depth about the impact the game could have on how the games industry justifies itself charging extra for DLC and online passes after the initial cost of buying the game.
How has your soujourn in Skyrim been thus far? Let us know in the comments.