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.