I’d like to start my post by saying I do play a lot of video games. I’ve got a pretty impressive gamerscore on Xbox Live. With work, my fiance, and social outings my time for video games has lessened in the past few months. Usually I play video games when I can but mostly stick to the games I can play for about 30 - 60 minutes. This limits me to games to like Call of Duty: Black Ops II or Street Fighter X Tekken with the occasional Plants vs. Zombies Pinball FX 2.
I had some free time this weekend and I took a look at my game shelf to see if there was anything I hadn’t played, finished, or just left to collect dust.
“Can I create a character on Skyrim?” Tifa asked. Tifa had played a lot of Morrowind in the past and wanted to check out Skyrim. She played through the intro, created her character all while asking me what my character in Skyrim was.
“Um… I can’t remember.”
I hadn’t played Skyrim in well over a year. I couldn’t even remember the last thing I did in the game.
I watched her create a character and felt this overwhelming urge to dive back into the world I saw laid out before me with almost endless possibilities. She finished her character creation, played through some of the initial intro quest and was done for the night. She handed me the controller and I signed myself in, then restarted the game. Tifa then cuddled up next to me and loaded Bejeweled on her iPhone to play when she was taking breaks from working on wedding invites.
The epic music came on and I immediately started to hum along. I pressed the start button on my controller and hit “Continue”.
“Are you an Imperial?”- Tifa asked.
“No.” I quickly answered. Turns out I was an Imperial. I still have no idea why I chose to play as an Imperial, or why my initial reaction was “No.” To be honest for someone who hadn’t seen a ton of Skyrim I was impressed that she knew I was an Imperial so fast.
I was… somewhere. Standing in front of… someone. There were heavy accents all around me muttering pregenerated conversations and I found myself in this strange yet familiar world.
So I did what anyone in a strange land would do. I pressed “Pause”. I stumbled my way through the menus looking for any sort of hints as to who I was, or what I was doing. I felt like Lenny from Memento. I just needed to take a moment, think about what I knew, and try to piece together what, if anything, I was doing. I saw some quests, some arrows, and eventually found a map with some quest markers.
I’ve got to admit picking up a game after not playing for over a year was a very strange experience. I couldn’t remember what skills I was leveling up. I couldn’t remember what kind of magic I wanted, and overall I was just… lost. But I didn’t want to start over. I didn’t want the hassle of grinding my way back to where I was.
After about 10 minutes of figuring stuff out I spent my time doing some low level quests to reacquaint myself with the buttons (I still would press X to reload after firing an arrow), and gameplay style. I died quite a bit, got super frustrated, but also found myself enjoying the storytelling that was going on. Tifa would come home and cuddle up to me while I pointed out story elements.
“These guys were supposed to help me kill the vampire. They stayed out here the whole time. Cowards.”
“This little girl’s ghost asked me for help. It’s pretty sad.”
In between applying for jobs, doing household chores, and other writings I’m looking forward to finding out more about the role my character plays in this production of Skyrim.
It’s been too long since I played this game, and I am excited to continue a journey that was put on hold for way too long.