Skyrim Turns 2, And I Don’t Care

11. November, 2013 Console, News, PC 6 comments


11/11/11 feels like yesterday

My excitement hit eleven when I snagged the last Skyrim disk from Blockbuster. But just like Blockbuster has since faded away, so has Skyrim’s luster. I still think it’s a fun game. But two years of writing about thought-provoking indie games has taught me that Skyrim takes more than it offers.

I won’t lie, I still love the idea of searching Skyrim’s countryside only to find an undiscovered depth to plunder. But there’s that whole endless feedback loop… it’s designed to keep you sucked in. It puts players on a PICC line of leveling-up, getting the next best thing, and getting more and more and more. All the while, it has no incentives for real-world engagement of any kind.

Sure, it forces players to learn how to balance real-world responsibility/relationships and in-game play. But it results in controlled isolation, often for countless hours on end. I honestly wonder if it’s not an endorphin-based addiction.

That, it. I’ve decided: Skyrim is a drug and I’m no longer it’s slave.

Yes, that’s what I say out loud. But secretly if I see it come up in a Steam Sale for under ten bucks over Thanksgiving, I’ll probably still gobble it up, delve into it when I have some free time, and get lost in the power fantasy feedback loop.

Like I said, I still see the world as fascinating and wonderful in many ways. But it really doesn’t add to my life like Gone Home, have a determinate investment time of 3 hours or less, or offer a shared experience that I can enjoy with real friends. These are the things that are important to me in games lately. Either I’m getting old, or my tastes are just shifting. I never would have imagined that I’d see more value in a game with a determinate length that validates a short experience than a seemingly endless one that fills my brain with happies. But that’s the sort of thing that two years can do.

How about you? How have your gaming habits/tastes changed since Skyrim?

About author

Joshua Cauller

M. Joshua also writes on GameChurch, Theology Gaming, and his own blog, Love Subverts. He loves face-to-face conversations, storytelling, Jesus, and his wife.

View all posts by Joshua Cauller

  • Brian Castleberry

    We are, just not as much as of late, but we’re hoping to get more regular in the future.

  • cody

    btw you guys still do youtube shows and stuff it’s been a while maybe im missing things?

  • Brian Castleberry

    Totally! Actually I will be at least renting the game to try it out. As much as my journey through Dark Souls was filled with pain, I still want to see what they do with the next game.

  • cody

    so you gonna get dark souls 2 hehehehehe

  • Brian Castleberry

    Well said my friend. I could not agree more. The allure of the game and its world just don’t hold the same charm they once did. I’d much rather have real world interaction with my friends or hang out with my family. Something about sitting in my basement hunkered over by myself for hours on end in this world does not appeal to me.

  • Jeff Wheeldon

    I’ve noticed a similar shift. I’m working my way through Dragon Age: Origins right now, and while it’s a great RPG of decent girth, I find myself wishing that it would just get to the point, because I have things in my life that are more important than this side quest. My entire mode of play has changed: I used to search obsessively for every possible secret (thank you, Wolfenstein 3-D) and get lost in side quests, trying to get every possible achievement, cut scene, character, and item. Now, even though this game-play style is still ingrained in me, I struggle with a type of inner conflict: I want my gaming fix, but I want it in a way that is more accessible, less tedious; and the fix I want is one that will keep me warm for the rest of the day or week, rather than an adrenaline rush right now.

    You nailed it, M. Josh. Perhaps we’re both getting older, but maybe we’re just getting wiser.