"I am sharpening my sword
So you can take me to the dragon’s lair
Or you can take me to Rapunzel’s windowsill
Either way it is time for a bigger kind of kill
A bigger kind of kill"
- Sunset Rubdown, Dragon’s Lair
Okay, so by now, unless neither you nor anyone in your entourage is a gamer, you’ve probably heard about The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the consensus choice for the Best Video Game of 2011. Since its release last November, some 10 million units of the Bethesda Softworks game have been shipped, which adds up to about $650-million in retail sales. I myself bought a copy of the PS3 version over the holidays, and it’s more or less taken over all of my free time!
Why? It’s visually stunning for one, plus there’s tons of fun to be had using swords, magic spells and whatnot to kill countless evil characters and bloodthirsty creatures. But what really keeps me coming back to it every other day is the superb storytelling. I’ve only completed the main quest so far, and it has proved more involving and thought-provoking than most movies I’ve seen in the past year. Speaking of which, the makers of the game actually cast such renowned film actors as Academy Award nominees Christopher Plummer, Max von Sydow and Joan Allen to voice some of the characters. Not too shabby, eh?
Dealing with a civil war between the Imperial Legion and the Stormcloak rebellion, dragon attacks, an ancient prophecy, the last surviving members of the mysterious Blades Order, a "time wound" and the Nordic afterlife, among other things, Skyrim also allows the player to roam freely through its incredibly vast fantasy world, walking from place to place, meeting people, getting into adventures (like Caine in Kung Fu, or Jules Winnfield post-Pulp Fiction, basically!).
I guess you have to be into this kind of stuff for it to connect with you as intensely as it did for me, who nearly wore out the golden cartridge of the original 8-bit Nintendo The Legend of Zelda as a kid, and who couldn’t be a bigger fan of movies like Conan the Barbarian (the original Schwarzenegger flick, obviously), The Lord of the Rings and the underrated Beowulf.
All I know is that I’ve spent way too many hours playing Skyrim lately, and I’m afraid I’ll keep doing so for quite a while (unless I run into one of those lagging/crashing issues which reportedly affect the PS3 version once your save files become too big). Game on!