Friday, 27 May 2016

An Ode to Skyrim

Today, I put Skyrim in my 'hidden' folder in Steam, for the first time in three years. Not dead, not forgotten...more of an Elder (Scroll) relative in a retirement home.

A passion so long, I think, deserves an obituary.

I began Skyrim in 2013, or thereabouts. Three years. Three thousand hours, on and off. A game (like all the other Elder Scrolls I've played - Daggerfall, Morrowind...) which I never even finished.

Why would I? Like life, I don't need to know how it turns out. It's the journey, the people you meet, the sights...and yes, also crafting armour and weapons, and sneaking up behind people to slit their throats with Mehrunes' Razor. Just like life.

I loved a ton of games over many years now. Baldur's Gate, Deus Ex, Doom, Starcraft. These are worlds I've loved longer than girlfriends. Skyrim is, perhaps, the longest of these flings. Imperfect, sometimes, but endlessly surprising, fascinating, and yes, beautiful. My penchant for creating busty characters in entirely impractical armour aside, it's been a blast. I'm not sad to put it away. I'm not sad I spent such a long time in the world, either. I've been a badass, heavily-muscled warrior with a two-handed blade, a very tall high-elf lesbian Agent of Dibella, I've made lots of coffee while my various characters have spent a eon at the stone quarry to build all of my unnecessary homes across the length and breadth of a world which could, almost, be endless. I've called dragons from the sky, rode ghost horses, chased a headless horseman for miles across tundra to find that no, actually, I can't do anything to him anyway.

I fought Draugr with nothing but a fork, searched for Void Salts obsessively so I could upgrade my Nightingale armour, thrown myself from stupid heights and died to avoid Sabre Cats while wearing nothing but fur pants. I shouted butterflies from the very air.

Hours. That's how long the drudgery might take to get a hood to wear which goes with an outfit you've invested just as much time in. It's ridiculous. Yes. Yes it is. But lookit, ain't I gorgeous!?

Until the next new character, because, now I want to be a mage...

From time to time, like a true tourist, I'd simply stop to take a picture. 

Was Skyrim the perfect game? No. Not really. Sometimes, it would prove frustrating. Sometimes, there was grind, yes - but only if you chose it. You could play however you wanted - you could, feasibly, be a beggar and do nothing more. There is a mod which lets you do just that. There are mods for everything, almost - posh mudcrabs. That's it. Posh MUDCRABS! I'm sold. Take my money.

And, to those who are about to mod, I salute you. Personally, I think they are a wonderful thing. So much so that I installed mods until my PC fell over and screamed, 'NO MORE!'

...and still, I would not relented because I AM THE MOTHERFUCKING DRAGONBORN!

Is it insane to spend such a long time on one game? Probably. But, as I watch Ulfric's head roll across the flagstones, I get to walk away while the world burns behind me. I get to move on...because like any other life, real or virtual, they all end somewhere.

Goodbye, you cruel, fascinating and beautifully drawn world.

Hello Fallout 4.

Love you. x