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?