Saturday, June 02, 2012

Skyrim: A Player's Perspective

A couple of summers ago I bought myself an X-Box.  A student of mine actually gave me my first game for it, called Doom.  I'd played earlier versions of Doom on other systems and loved it.  I played this one and loved it too.  I also played a Halo version that came with my game system, and tried a racing game.  Halo was OK, thought not up to Doom quality, and the racing game left me cold.  Then I discovered Red Dead Redemption, a western role-playing game, and I liked it as much as Doom.  It took me longer to finish it because it was much more complex, and I had long stretches where I didn't play at all.

Then Lana brought home Skyrim, which is a fantasy role-playing game.  Lana was a Dungeon Master for a Dungeons and Dragons game in Canada and was interested in perhaps playing Skyrim herself.  It's the same kind of set up in a video game.  We each set up characters and began to play the first day.  Lana didn't really like the fact that when things happen in the game you often get vibrations shooting through the handset.  She decided to watch me play a while and enjoyed that.  And I was hooked.  I've spent many hours playing already.

The game is incredibly complex, far more so than Red Dead Redemption.  There are many more weapons that can be used, and a huge world to explore.  You can take one of three basic routes, warrior, mage, or thief, although you end up combining all of them to some extent.  You also can have followers and own homes.  You can learn smithing and alchemy and magic.  The open endedness is extraordinary. By now I'm carrying a range of weapons that I enchanted myself, and many different kinds of potions to be used for specific tasks. I've fought many dragons, as well as mages, pirates, walking corpses, shades, bandits, and demigods, not to mention sabertooth cats, cave bears, wolves, and giant crabs and spiders. 

I have to say, this is the most engrossing video game I've ever played, although it doesn't have the moment to moment intensity of Doom.  In Doom you are always pretty much on the verge of being attacked.  There are peaceful moments in Skyrim.  I've found I really enjoy the Smithing aspects.  Maybe I was a frustrated blacksmith in another life.

And Lana is enjoying the game vicariously through me.  She watches when I end up going through some tough dungeon and she has saved my bacon many a time with her knowledge of the whole role-playing game concept.  She catches traps I miss, locates things I can't find, and in emergencies, goes online to find information that I can't discover on my own.  If I ever beat the game, which seems a long way off, it'll be a team effort.


27 comments:

Tom Doolan said...

Just when I thought you wife couldn't be any cooler, she just got 50 more cool points for having been a DM. :D

For Christmas I had a choice between Skyrim and Star Wars: The Old Republic. Sometimes I wish I had picked Skyrim.

Jess * Jessie * Jessy said...

You and Lana are a great team. And that's what life's all about--the perfect partner!

laughingwolf said...

fun times when it's a family affair, charles...

i tried some racing games with my son on ps2, back before he got 3, he whooped my ass, good... he's been playing videogames since he was a kid - that was my first/last time, since i never got into it... last i saw, he was heavily into 'call of duty', whatever the latest version

i tried 'duke nukem', once... bored me to tears

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I was addicted until Diablo III came out and then I switched back to my PC for some demon slaying. I'll be back to playing Skyrim soon though. Not sure when I'll finish, as the game does seem endless.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

That's a great one for taking a break from reality for both of you.

David Cranmer said...

I don't usually play games but DOOM was one I got caught up in and had to finish.

Deka Black said...

You just said what a huge lot of Skyrim players say ;) Btw. there is a incoming DLC vampire-themed.

David J. West said...

I've heard a lot of good things about Skyrim-and that's pretty cool on the team effort.

Oscar said...

I'll let my great-grandson now about Skyrimm.

Oscar said...

Damn! left off the k in Know about Skyrimm.

Travis Cody said...

Ah...a game that brings together rather than gets in the middle of a relationship. Nice!

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles, I have played many video games in the past though now I play occasionally with my 15-year old son on his PlayStation. He will probably understand what you have to say about Skyrim far better than I do. I am content with Chess and Literati and once in a while turn to Dave, Mario and Paratrooper, the latter an old DOS game. Polar Bear is another favourite. Pacman frightened me!

Rick said...

Can't get a better team than you and Lana!

Lana Gramlich said...

I'm glad you're enjoying the game so much, honeydumplins. It's a good distraction for me!

Charles Gramlich said...

Tom, I've never played Star Wars games. I'm sure they're fun as well.

Jess, indeed so!

Laughingwolf, I actually bought a Duke Nukem. Played through a few levels and haven't touched it since.

Alex, I've heard some good things about Diablo. I don't like sitting upright in a chair to play much though.

Bernard, it is and we've been needing it.

David Cranmer, I loved all the Doom games I've played. Talk about intense.

Deka, I know you can become a vampire or werewolf in Skyrim but am not sure how that works so far.

David J., it keeps us entertained, except when she gets upset with me for not listening to her about how to kill someone in the game. :)

Oscar, I understood what you meant!

Travis Cody, Lana is a very understanding wife.

Prashant, chess always has been my favorite game, but I practice so little these days and I don't like to play badly.

Rick, I wouldn't be nearly as far along without her.

Lana, am glad you are enjoying it.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I have not played a video game since the 1970s. I bet they are a bit more sophisticated than watching a ball bounce or a thing eat other things by now.

Angie said...

Elder Scrolls games rock. :D I have Skyrim too, but haven't played it in a while. I game on my PC, and unfortunately Skyrim is only available through Steam. I don't like playing through Steam, and it's knocked me off of several franchises I enjoyed quite a lot. :/ Anyway.

When you get through Skyrim, I suggest hunting up Morrowind. It's the second-previous game, and I know it was available for cartridge systems too; you might be able to get it really cheap used by now. The graphics aren't as awesome as in Skyrim, and smithing isn't there, but in some ways I like it best of the three modern ES games. (The middle game was Oblivion; had its cool aspects, but Morrowind is better. I haven't played enough Skyrim to have a firm judgement yet, but I'm inching toward putting Skyrim above Oblivion.)

I like the open-endedness of these games, the fact that you're not locked onto the rails of the mainline quest. You can pretty much do whatever you want, set your own goals, decide what you want to achieve and how. In Morrowind in particular, there's an amazing amount of replayability there. You get a lot of game for your money when it's not all about the main plotline.

Enjoy!

Angie

the walking man said...

You're playing what on what and vibrating what with what? Is this on POGO?

Charles Gramlich said...

Patti, they are indeed. there's no comparison possible really.

Angie, Lana was reading some stuff to me about the 'rest' of the world in these games last night. I've heard mention of morrowind, of course. I'll keep that in mind. thanks for the heads up.

Mark, not quite, old man! :)

X. Dell said...

Sounds like you two make quite the team.

Charles Gramlich said...

X-Dell, her brains and my brawn.

Travis Erwin said...

My oldest is a gamer and dying to play this one but at 11 he is still too young and quite put out that I won't buy it for him.

I enjoy the sports games but am not patient enough for more than that.

Sidney said...

Skyrim is on my list of games to play when I get leveled off again.

Erik Donald France said...

All right -- sounds nifty-fifty. My brother does something like this, he showed me on his double-screeen computer, but the name didn't register. An alternate world in all cases, certainly -- at least one I haven't found myself in *as of yet* . . .
Cheers to you and Lana ~!

Charles Gramlich said...

Travis Erwin, I've played a bit of football on video but not much else.

Sidney, it can be a distractant for sure.

Erik, I'm a sucker for alternate worlds

The Golden Eagle said...

A lot of people seem to enjoy playing Skyrim!

Charles Gramlich said...

Golden eagle, it's a popular subject on You Tube, I've found.