Saturday 19 November 2011

Why Skyrim is Eating My Life

With some games the addiction comes slow.  You barely notice that you're playing it at every opportunity after months of it slowly getting under your skin.

It wasn't like that with Skyrim, from the moment I killed my first dragon I was gone.  I didn't start work until 10:45am today so I got up early and spent an hour doing quests for the Thieves Guild.  Break into this house, change a ledger at this business, pickpocket this guy etc etc.  Now that might all sound quite normal(ish).  But re-read that last sentence.  I GOT UP EARLY.  TO PLAY A GAME.

I think what it is is this:  I've always liked an RPG: I've fallen for Final Fantasy, swanned off with Zelda and run amok with Deus Ex, but Skyrim is the RPG I've always wanted.  The one I've dreamt of.

To say there's a lot to do is the biggest understatement ever.  It's insane.  But crucially it's also fun and engaging and insane.  But what I absolutely love is how random it is.

Example of Random

Earlier this week I went into a tavern in the far north of the map.  There was a bloke in there so I went and chatted to him and he challenged me to a drinking game.  So I said yes, because he said if I beat him I would get an awesome staff or something.  I drank three drinks and blacked out.  The next thing I woke up in a temple being told off by a priestess and when I went outside I was in the far west of the map in some city or other, somewhere I hadn't even been.  After a bit of digging it turned out I may have stolen a goat and asked someone to marry me when drunk.  Anyway, this morning I went back to the same city to do some of the previously mentioned breaking and entering and a fucking dragon turned up.  And then, beautifully, the local guards took it out with arrows and that.  I didn't even have to raise a finger.  I just watched it land on roofs and stuff, firing flame from its gob as the local guards took it out.  Then I absorbed its soul.  Like a mother fucker.

It all just feels so... ALIVE.

End of Example of Random

Every time I turn off the PS3 I feel like I've paused a world.  GTA4 felt a bit like that, FFVII felt quite a lot like that but this is on another level.

When I'm away from the PS3 my mind will wander back to Skyrim, to a view, a quest completed or a quest yet to be tried.  Once in a while I'll pause and consider how this game got made and I can't get my head around it.  I love a labour of love, where you can feel or see every bit of effort and heart and soul given, even if it makes the system running it creek.  Skyrim is that and then some.  The more I play, the more I love it.  And I've been playing it a lot.  And I can not stop.  At all.  It has me in its dragony clutches and it isn't letting go.

I'm ok with that.  It's geek heaven.

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