So, the reasons I haven’t blogged in over a week are twofold: one, it was Christmas and I was out of town at various family gatherings. Two, Skyrim. Yes, I got Skyrim for Christmas, and it is just as good as everyone has been saying, so much fun and also completely addictive. I mean I’ve been playing for hours and I really haven’t accomplished much of the main quest. I haven’t even encountered any dragons besides the first one yet. But it’s awesome. It’s like a giant, immersive, choose-your-own-adventure book.
You know, books and movies let you travel to and experience other universes and worlds, and as a kid (oh okay and totally as an adult, too), I liked to imagine I was in all my favorite book-worlds after I’d finish reading. Narnia, Hogwarts, the American pioneer frontier, Middle Earth, outer space, fair Verona, a house with green gables, an Arabian palace, a London orphanage. I would become enamored with the world the characters inhabited and want to have my own adventures there too. That’s what is so compelling to me about Skyrim–there is so much freedom to choose the path your character takes, so many rich interactions, so many ways you can really almost live in the game. Would you rather take the time to gather your own materials and make your armor and weapons, or do you want to collect gold and just buy them? Do you steal, or do you only take what you can legitimately? If you’re confronted, do you fight, talk, bribe, or persuade? Do you join the imperials or the rebels, or neither? Do you stick to the paths or roam the countryside? Take a bridge or swim? (I love that you can swim! It’s so annoying in video games when you can leap and wall-kick and somersault but water is instant death.)
My character is a Wood Elf named Sapling. I decided she’s a vegetarian, since she has power to control animals and she would rather commune with nature than consume it if possible, so I make her eat a lot of cheeses and nuts and I sell any meat she acquires. (But she totally killed a giant spider with a battle axe, which was awesome). I was starting to worry that the game wasn’t going to let her be healthy without eating slabs of meat because other characters kept telling me I looked ill, even after I had rested. Then I thought maybe it was because I was carrying too much, (I’m always teetering on the brink of “carrying too much to run,” partly because my wardrobe is gender-stereotypically overstocked. I feel like I need one of everything, just in case, even though I know if I really need something for a particular quest I could always go get it.) But sparse googling (I feel like it’s cheating to look up too much) tells me that maybe I have a disease and should take a curing potion or pray at a temple, so I’ll try that.
I kind of want to buy some elf-ears to wear while I’m playing. I will almost definitely braid my hair like Sapling wears hers at some point. I love that Col. Tigh (Michael Hogan) from Battlestar Galactica is one of the voice actors, (although that bastard tried to have me executed!) I love the music. I love that there are entire ballads about the history and heroics of Skyrim that you can request from minstrels at the Tavern. I hate that archery is so hard, but I love that every time I die I get to try again. (I die a lot. I got attacked by these bandits and they killed me about 20 times in a row before I managed to defeat them. They were such jerks!)
I’ll try not to let it take over my life. I’m actually pretty proud of myself for not having played it yet today, (if you don’t count the hours after midnight that I was up playing it last night…), and I have lots of other things I want to do, things I want to read, things I’m in the middle of writing, movies I need to watch and analyze, craft projects I need to finish. But one can only do so many things with each free evening.