Whaddup spoons, your favorite weekend editor is back! And your only one. Favorite by default is still favorite.
This week: Skyrim. It just won’t die.
NEW IN 2023, SKYRIM NOW ON ANDROID AND iOS!!!!!
Don’t be surprised.
But the reason it just won’t die is a good one – it’s a damn good game! Skyrim is fun. Not as much for me, but for a lot of people. The Skyrim subreddit is still extremely active (mostly screenshots and glitches) and speaking of mobile, it just came out on the Nintendo Switch November 17.
Skyrim is a huge open-world RPG where you create your character and just play. There’s a story of course and lots of side quests, but it’s more about forging your own tale. Want to be a bloodthirsty Orc in heavy armor hacking civilians to pieces with axes? Perfect. Want to be a haughty Altmer sorcerer setting towns ablaze and making people fight each other with illusion magic? Awesome. Or maybe a Khajiit archer sneaking through people’s homes stealing their prized possessions and slipping poison apples into their pockets? It’s all good in Skyrim. You are who you want to be, and you have a whole world at your disposal. Or for your taking…
This is why people love Skyrim. They can come home from a long day and get lost in an alternate universe filled with necromancers, elves, dragons, and so much more. And they get to play it their way.
I’ve played Skyrim for maybe 70 hours since 2011, most of that spent modding. I’ve never beaten the game or even a single guild questline. In fact, I’ve barely done anything at all! I’ve tried and tried to get into Skyrim, because it seems like a game I want to play. Only recently have I accepted that it is not.
Now, The Witcher. I’ll admit I was unaware of the Witcher series until the announcement of the third game, The Wild Hunt, which I’ve now sunk 160 hours into, beating it twice and completing both DLCs along with ~90% of the content the game has to offer. I adore The Witcher 3, vastly more than I do Skyrim. Why? The Witcher 3 is also a huge open-world RPG set in a fantasy world with elves, dwarves, monsters, and the like. Why would I love one so much but not the other?
It’s the story. The writing. The characters. In Skyrim, you make your own story. In the Witcher, the story is made for you, but the choices you make directly influence how it plays out. You don’t play whoever you want, but Geralt of Rivia, who has a backstory and personality and friends and foes. It limits the number of story arcs available, but it allows those arcs to be so much more fleshed out and real. The world is deep. It’s filled to the brim with things to do, and it just feels alive. It feels lived-in. Maybe some people get the same feeling in Skyrim as I do in the Witcher, and that’s great, but I’d rather have an incredible story set up for me than have to make a mediocre one for myself.
I played Oblivion back in the day, and it took me years of on-again off-again gameplay to finally force myself to beat the main story and any of the other main questlines. I restarted characters so many times trying to find its hook. Jake summed it up perfectly in his recent article,
“…sometimes I am so focused on creating the perfect build and grinding to find the perfect weapon that I also stop enjoying the experience of the gameplay”.
This is what happened to me in Oblivion and again in Skyrim. I shouldn’t have to force it. I should want to play a video game. The Witcher 3 did that. I can’t remember another RPG I beat more than once, and even those I beat once I can count on one hand, especially those of this length. Further yet, I could do it all again. And I probably will.
The Witcher 3 is something special. It’s made me realize what I like/dislike in my RPGs, and it’s finally explained why I’ve always had so much trouble with The Elder Scrolls series. I’m done forcing myself to play them or any game. That doesn’t mean I won’t try of course, but I think even 10 hours is enough, let alone 70. On the other hand, I won’t hesitate to play through a game I enjoy more than once, or in the case of the masterpiece that is The Witcher 3, three times. Appreciating Video Games Through Repitition. Thanks again Jake.